Best Practices – Brazil and the UN: Building new pathways
By Daniella Cambaúva – São Paulo
As a result of a partnership between the Brazilian government, the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) and the United Nations, the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth is a forum with a unique global agenda. It represents the recognition that countries like Brazil are undergoing successful processes of social transformation and therefore have much to share with the rest of the world.
Eight years ago, Brazil inaugurated – in premises provided by Ipea, the first International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth in the world as an unprecedented project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with a focus on South-South Cooperation. Known by the acronym IPC-IG, the Centre emerged with the aim of promoting and facilitating the exchange of innovative experiences among emerging and developing countries. Its guiding principle is that inclusive growth incorporates all in the process of economic development, sharing its benefits. IPC-IG is a global forum established on the basis of the decentralization process of UN organisations and facilities – historically based in New York, to strategic locations in the emerging economies.
The pathway to knowledge exchange, according to the Centre, is the facilitation the dissemination of the experiences of public policies implemented in several countries. “This debate can inspire change based on models and perspectives born in the South: from the South, to the South and with the South,” said Francisco Filho, spokesperson of the institution. This work is based on networking with governments in the South, on technical advisory missions, and online capacity building and learning opportunities, such as those provided on the South-South Learning Gateway.
Currently, as reported by the spokesperson of IPC-IG, the activities focus on social protection policies and cash transfer programmes, rural and sustainable development strategies, and innovations in employment generation, use of natural resources and provision of health services.
There is also a programme of capacity building with policy dialogue events, which counted on the participation of government officials of various countries, such as Uganda, Indonesia and South Africa. The Centre has organised a number of Study Tours to Brazil, in which representatives of China, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, South Africa and Tanzania participated, among other countries. Francisco reports that Brazilian researchers at IPC-IG came also to work in countries like East Timor, Syria and Egypt.
The Centre has produced more than 250 publications, covering policies and programmes of more than 70 developing countries. Since 2004, it has offered capacity building and training opportunities to over 7,500 senior government representatives from over fifty countries.
For the representative of IPC-IG, in all these activities, it is essential to see “that our country is no longer the world champion of inequality.” Brazil is among the main references in the field of social protection, which seeks to combine economic development to social inclusion of those left out of the distribution of its fruits.
Between 2003 and 2008, poverty was reduced at 43.03% in Brazil. It is estimated that 28 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty from 2003 to 2009, a movement driven by increased labour income, pensions and social assistance programmes, especially the Continuous Cash Benefit (BCP) and the Bolsa Família. In relation to inequality in the country, the Gini coefficient fell from 0.59 in 2001 to 0.53 in 2007.
Focus on the emerging economies
IPC-IG’s work considers that the structure of the economies in developing countries can increase vulnerability to crises, particularly if the exports show a high level of dependence and concentration in commodities rather than manufactured goods and services. These factors impact the potential for job creation and the ability to promote sustainable patterns of production and distribution of wealth. “The structural transformation of the productive capacity must be integrated as a priority in development policy so that growth can be inclusive and resilient. We are observing a revival of the interest in industrial and structural transformation policies,” says Francisco.
The Centre’s work starts from the premise that countries with lower levels of inequality tend to have better performance in the development processes.
IPC-IG already gained visibility during the first months of existence, when it launched an agenda of collaboration with intellectuals from all over the world around the definition and operationalization of the concept of pro-poor growth.
The Centre functioned on the premises provided by Ipea until 2009. With the creation of the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs (SAE/PR), the Centre moved to an office at the Esplanade of Ministries, following an invitation by the Presidency of Republic. In the same year, the institution started receiving financial support from the Federal Government – besides the UN funding, for the expansion of its activities and strengthening of partnerships.
There are also sporadic contributions from universities and international cooperation agencies. There is an active participation of civil society, mainly via the engagement of researchers and public intellectuals. NGOs, forums and associations also participate as “key partners in order to stimulate the debate,” says Francisco Filho.
The Centre is directly linked to the Poverty Group of the Bureau of Development Policy (BDP), UNDP New York. IPC-IG’s Executive Council is composed of representatives of the United Nations and the Government of Brazil, represented by Ipea, the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs at the Presidency and the Ministry of External Relations. UNDP is present in 166 countries and works with governments, civil society and the private sector in providing solutions to national development challenges.
Would you like to get involved in our work? Refer to the following pages:
What is inclusive growth? How to achieve it? Refer to the following IPC-IG publications for new ideias: