History of the Alliance
The year 2020 finds the Grassland Alliance consolidating the changes implemented in 2019. With the installation of the National Directive Boards, a strong boost is given to the national autonomies, with emphasis on the marketing processes of grassland beef, the certification of rural establishments, applied research on biodiversity and climate change issues and responding increasing demands (including technical assistance) of ranchers to join the program.
BirdLife International continues to actively support the grassland initiative, not only in the Southern Cone but also in the rest of the hemisphere, forging alliances and exporting the experience of the Grassland Alliance to areas such as Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, USA and Canada. This support also takes the form of the inclusion of communication activities, such as the website and social networks that from now will be carried out by the BirdLife Americas regional office.
The Governance structure of the Grassland Alliance is reformed, giving greater autonomy to each country through the establishment of National Directive Boards, made up of members of the productive, academic, commercial and scientific sectors, with the leadership of the local BirdLife partner. In the regional front, the Grassland Alliance keeps a Regional Council made up of the four local partners, the Regional Coordinator and a delegate from the BirdLife Secretariat for the Americas.
The XII Grasslands Alliance Gathering is held in with the presence of 300 ranchers, technicians, conservationists, government representatives and other stakeholders across the entire hemisphere. USFS officials attend the meeting as well as a subsequent tour around some of the best-preserved grasslands of the region (Arerungua, Salto, Uruguay).
During the XI Ranchers Gathering in Paraguay, an international event and degustation of Alliance Grasslands beef is organised with the participation for media from the 4 countries of the Southern Cone.
Alliance beef is presented in the city of Barcelona, after which a monthly container begins to be exported to Europe from Uruguay with Grasslands Alliance certified beef.
In April 2016, the Regional BirdLife Partnership meeting is celebrated in Panama and a Grassland Working Group is created within BirdLife, with representation of Birdlife partners from the entire Americas continent.
In Brazil and Argentina, Alliance Certified beef begins to be commercialized in supermarket chains.
In November, the Second Southern Cone Natural Grasslands Tour is held, with representatives from 12 countries visiting ranches and important grasslands areas of the region across Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, covering 2900 kilometers.
A hemispheric grassland conservation initiative begins to be discussed. Representatives from Canada, USA, Mexico, Colombia and Bolivia attend the IX Grassland Ranchers in the city of Santana do Livramento, giving a hemispheric framework to the meeting.
In Paraguay, 13 large new ranch members are admitted to the Alianza del Pastizal, which total a natural grassland area of 30,000 hectares.
From Argentina, in March the first shipment of meat certified by the Grassland Alliance to the European Union takes place. This year, a significant number of ranchers in Brazil become members of the Program driven by the beef certification prospects and by the first auction of animals from certified establishments, with a singular success. Also in Uruguay, there is an important membership increase of over 100 new ranch members. This takes place due to the consolidation of technical teams capitalizing resources from the Climate Change Adaptation Fund managed by the Ministry of Livestock, directed to support land conservation activities for native grasslands and livestock management. This year the VIII Ranchers Gathering is held in the town of Tacuarembó, Uruguay, with more than 300 participants.
The Alliance consolidates many achievements, such as obtaining legal status, certifying beef from natural grasslands under the Protocol of the Grasslands Alliance, increasing the number of member institutions, and producing best practice manuals for ranchers to help them manage their grasslands in an environmentally-friendly way. The seventh Ranchers’ Gathering is held in the town of San Ignacio, Paraguay.
The Alliances launches the project ‘Incentives for conservation of natural grasslands in the Southern Cone’, with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank. The first certified beef with the Grasslands Alliance eco-label is available to consumers in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, where the sixth Ranchers’ Gathering is held.
The institutional aspects of the Alliance continue to be developed, in terms of the organization’s operating regulations, membership system and wide participation of the public and private sectors. The fifth Ranchers’ Gathering takes place in Lavras do Sul, Brazil and is attended by over 300 delegates.
The Alliance begins developing a new certification system for environmentally-friendly beef produced from cattle reared on natural grasslands in the Southern Cone. The aim is to create an eco-label that differentiates beef produced by farmers that preserve at least 50% of their natural grasslands and rear grass-fed cattle, as opposed to confined cattle fed of soy or grain. The fourth Ranchers’ Gathering was held in La Paloma, Uruguay and includes delegates from the Northern Hemisphere.
A Board of Directors for the Alliance was established and is composed of representatives from the four member countries, who work across various sectors and bring different expertise. The third Ranchers’ Gathering was held in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay.
Through an agreed consensus a “vision” for the Alliance was established and all member organizations were invited to adhere to it. This year’s Ranchers’ Gathering was held in Santa Fe, Argentina and was attended by conservationists and producers from the four member countries
The first “Ranchers’ Gathering” was held in Bage, Brazil: a meeting between conservationists and farmers that marked the beginnings of a fruitful relationship and is set to become an annual event.
The first South American regional initiative for the conservation of natural grasslands is born: “Southern Cone Grasslands Alliance”. The aim is to protect the pampas grasslands that stretch across an area of 100 million hectares in Paraguay (4%), Uruguay (18%), Brazil (18%) and Argentina (60%).
A collaboration between BirdLife’s four partners in the Southern Cone of South America – Aves Argentina, Aves Uruguay, SAVE Brasil and Guyra Paraguay – and organizations in North America begins to develop the South American grasslands conservation initiative.
BirdLife International, with its partners in the Americas, identified the need to protect the habitat of migratory birds between the North American prairies and the South American pampas.