During an event that brought together around 500 people in Rio de Janeiro for a series of TED lectures on education, entrepreneurship, technology and sustainability, the RIO+Centre announced a partnership with TEDxRio in order to mainstream the new UN Sustainable Development Goals. Among the participants, Brazilian actress Regina Casé drew attention to the need of investing in more equal learning opportunities and also spoke about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre) signed a new partnership with TEDxRio in order to promote the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The collaboration was celebrated during last Friday’s (3 June) TEDxRio edition, which gathered around 500 people in Rio de Janeiro for a series of lectures on education, entrepreneurship, technology and sustainability.
“The implementation of the 2030 Agenda must count with a lot of innovation, aiming at reaching out not only to the governments, but also to companies, organizations and citizens”.
Rômulo Paes de Sousa, Director of RIO+ Centre
According to him, the partnership with “a very creative institution” like TEDx will allow the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to become more well-known and also help “get people to embrace” the SDGs, which were adopted by the international community in 2015. More events in the TED format are scheduled to be held together with RIO+Centre in the coming months.
Collaboration between the United Nations and TEDx started in 2012, when a special edition of TEDxRio was held during the Rio+20 Conference – a global summit that is considered a milestone because of the broad civil society participation and for launching the foundations for the SDGs and a new global development agenda.
“When it (TED) started 30 years ago, it was focused on technology, entertainment and design, but for some time now it has broadened its focus to encompass all development-related areas. Nowadays its motto is “ideas worth spreading”, as explained by one of the TEDxRio’s organizers, Marco Brandão. In Rio de Janeiro, TEDx aims to discuss themes that relate to the social challenges still observed throughout the city.
Regina Casé comments the 2030 Agenda
During the last TEDx, RIO+Centre presented the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to the almost 500 participants in a special SDG booth. One of the participants who got interested by the 2030 Agenda was the Brazilian actress and TV host Regina Casé, who delivered a TED talk during the event.
“We have to focus on a more equal educational system, in which everyone has access to quality education and then we will able to work towards meritocracy, in schools and major universities”, explained the actress about the necessity of guaranteeing learning opportunities for everyone in Brazil.
“If everyone has access to the same educational resources, all these other SDG issues, such as peace, the environment and water, (fighting against) social inequality, will come as a consequence”, Regina said.
The actress also commented that, during her trips through the Brazilian countryside and during visits to the outskirts of bigger cities “the only thing I felt sorry for was when I saw a very promising kid, and while we talked I could see his intelligence blooming; the desire, the wishing for life, and I then could see he had zero opportunities for education”.
“Probably he’d stay for two years (in school) and then would become another one in the statistics about school evasion. So my wish is that all of Brazilian youth can be in school, and an excellent school. That’s my greatest dream”.
During her TEDx lecture, Regina also exposed to the viewers the importance of learning spaces that favours diveristy and contact between young people from different social contexts and origins. “Do you think that you can only make friends with someone with the same amount of money as you?”, said Regina, provoking the audience.
Regina also brought attention to the fact that there were few people from African descent in the audience that watched her TED Talk, but that 53% of the Brazilian population is composed by black and pardo ethnicities.
Brazilian education fares badly in private and public sectors
One of the lecturers in the event, education journalist Antônio Gois spoke about the obstacles Brazil must overcome in order to impove its education outcomes.
“We have a serious problem in Brazil’s education, and it is not restricted to the poor, to the public school students. It doesn’t matter where you look, the Brazilian educational system is perfoming badly in comparison to developed countries”, said the reporter, who highlighted the poor performance of private schools in international evaluations.
“No one is safe in Brazilian education, either the rich or the poor. The structural problem of low wages for teachers means that the teaching career is not attractive to younger people with vocation for the job. The poor academic education in undergraduate courses that fail to prepare the teachers for the reality they will face inside the classroom, combined with a confusing teaching curriculum, leave our teachers with no support”.
Fashion must look for sustainable solutions
The founder of the MALHA collaborative fashion network, André Carvalhal, stressed that the garment industry must reinvent itself. It is responsible for the production of 80 billion clothing pieces per year, from which about 30% are not used.
Only in the Bom Retiro district of São Paulo, 12 tonnes of unused products are discarded every day. In India, garment industry waste reaches 100,000 tonnes per year.
According to the specialist, fashion lost “much of its sense” in a world where 40% of the soil has been claimed by desertification and 40% of the Arctic layer has disappeared. The temperature on the planet raised by almost 1ºC and, if it is raised by another one, many of us might not be able to survive. A child dies of hunger every 5 seconds in the world, five thousand people die every day by contaminated water, a billion people have no access to clean water and 2.8 billion people have restricted access to water.”
“And even with all of that, the fashion industry keeps trying to sell clothing to those who don’t need it.”, lamented the entrepreneur. “But all clothes come from nature” and consume resources that could be used for other purposes.
Carvalhal remined that behind that production chain there are workers living in risk situations. According to him, 200,000 people died in the last 30 years in Bangladesh – the country that produces most of the consumed clothing. Those deaths happened in work-related accidents in poorly-equipped factories.
The entrepreneur stressed that it is necessary to inform and advise the public and the industry to adopt better practices in garment production in order to “guarantee the future of next generations”.
Rio 2016 Olympic Games to leave a legacy for the city
Also in TEDxRio, Sidney Rezende, CEO of the Organizing Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games pointed out that the Games happenning this August and September mobilized investments of 25 billion Reais (7.4 billion US dollars) in the public transportation network of Rio de Janeiro. This amount is ten times bigger than what was spent in construction of stadiums for the Olympic and Paralympic sport activities.
Rezende also pointed out that the idea of hosting the Games – and all related investments – “can only make sense if something good is left for society” after the megaevent. “You don’t need the Olympic Games to do it, don’t you? But in the politics world that’s how it works”, recognized the CEO.
“So you create a big fact, something that brings attention and then there’s the political momentum to make them (investments that will leave a legacy for Rio de Janeiro) happen”.
The Organizing Comitee director reminded that the plan to expand the subway lines and the construction of BRTs (Rapid Bus Routes) have existed for the past 50 years. But, until the Games, they existed only in papers.
Translated into English from the UN Brazil website. Original version in Portuguese by the UN Information Centre in Brazil (UNIC-Rio) is available here.