Brazil is seen as a benchmark in the ongoing discussions at the UN on the post-2015 development agenda, but to achieve successful negotiations, the country needs to invest in the technical quality of its proposals.
The recommendation comes from the director of the World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre), Romulo Paes, and reflects a research on two years of Brazilian discourse on the topic at the UN, as well as the interactions of the RIO+ Centre with national and international civil society.
“Brazil has advocated a point of view very consistent with Rio +20’s outcome. But beyond the political quality of the intervention, it is necessary to improve technical arguments, therefore the Government needs to mobilize all of its internal resources to intervene effectively”, said Romulo Paes on Friday (23) in Brasilia.
The two studies developed by RIO+ Centre cover three dimensions: a mapping of the Brazilian government’s discourse; Brazil’s image from the perspective of international civil society and, at last, a report with the demands of exponents of Brazilian civil society organizations.
A lens on the Brazilian position
The research on Brazilian discourses opens to society, in a systematic manner, the views expressed by the Government on the post-2015 agenda at the UN. The analysis reveals the 100 most frequently used keywords between September 2012 and March 2014. It shows the emphasis on the words “poverty” with the sense of its eradication and the use of the word “more” combined with the terms “development” and “social”.
Besides the word cloud, the research reveals 11 main themes proposed for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and 15 suggested for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Some of these topics are: Fighting extreme poverty (social inclusion, effective policies, ensuring universal access); Changing patterns of consumption and production (educate, encourage, reduce); and Water (management, governance, attention to aquifers).
Altogether, 24 speeches assigned to the RIO+ Centre were analyzed. Many of them covered Brazil’s participation in sessions of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG – SDG).
Influential, but not always attentive to others
This study also notes the perception of international civil society that is accompanying the Brazilian participation in the OWG – SDG sessions more directly. Many consider the country’s credibility to deal with issues of poverty eradication as high; they notice Brazil’s commitment in dealing with the issue of development; and the ability to influence others.
However, organizations are regarding Brazil as an actor too attached to its own interests. “They consider that part of the country’s proposals takes more into account what is good only for Brazil, which does not always know exactly what is good for other countries,” clarifies policy expert at RIO+ Centre Marcio Pontual, one of the responsible for the study.
The agenda of Brazilian society: a struggle for rights
Regarding the Brazilian civil society, the recommendations presented are part of the report “Sustainable Development Agenda Post -2015: building the prospect of Brazil.” The document is the result of a workshop held at the RIO+ Centre, in February this year, which brought together senior officials from Brazilian Government and 41 organizations from backgrounds.
Among the recommendations are the definition of guiding principles that promote democracy and reduce inequality; to fight corruption; and the promotion of social justice and the guarantee of rights.
“Brazil is important, but it becomes more important if you have a country position and not only governmental input,” said Romulo Paes, adding that Brazil’s commitment to ensure social participation is recognized internationally.
The expectation is that the contributions of the RIO+ Centre will help the Government to continue to uphold the legacy of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), which will complete its second anniversary next June 20th .