Belém: the challenge of sustainable development

Home of the largest metropolitan area of the Amazon, the city maintains a strong connection with its traditions

The city of Belém which will host the CONFINTEA VI is an example of one of the greatest global challenges – how to promote human development based on the paradigms of sustainability. Like many other Brazilian cities, Belém also faces the challenge of ensuring quality education for all its diverse population of almost 2 million people. Out of 14.1 million illiterate Brazilian people aged over 15 years old, 10.8% are in the North Region, where Belém is located. The HDI (Human Development Index) for Belém is 0,82 into a 0 - 1 scale.

The city is the capital of Pará, a frontier economy state that is working to regulate economic activities in order to extinguish the predominant predatory model of development. While the state has the largest iron deposit in the world, almost half of the population (3.4 million people) lives at the poverty line.


With an equatorial climate characterized by agreeable temperatures but plenty of rain and humidity, Belém is located on the banks of the river Guamá, near the mouth of the Amazon River. The city centre is flanked by rivers, bays and streams. Most of its streets are among “mango trees” tunnels, one of the most famous features of Belém.

Belém is home of the largest metropolitan area of Amazon – is one of the 12 largest and most important cities in Brazil. Founded on January 16th 1616, the city’s historic buildings reflect cultural traces of the seventeenth century. Its streets keep infinite riches of the Rubber Cycle and reflect, in many aspects, the architectonic sights of the city of Lisbon, in Portugal, which served as an inspiration for the houses and buildings with tilecovered facades.

These historical buildings include the City Market (Mercado Municipal) for meat and the Iron Market or Fish Market (Mercado de Ferro or Mercado de peixe) for fish. Forming part of the same complex is the quayside Ver-o-Peso market, which offers an array of fruits and regional spices, herbal teas and potions used to treat physical and spiritual ailments. The name "Ver-O-Peso" means "Check the Weight"; this is because a few decades ago all products sold were weighted on the spot, in manual scales, and the buyer wanted to verify the weight, to avoid frauds.

While Belém has become more and more a cosmopolitan city, it still maintains a strong connection with its traditions. The “caboclo” (native people) habits are present in the day by day of the population, who eat typical food and celebrate Amazonian religious events.

The Convention Centre

The HANGAR architectural project recreates natural symbols of the Amazon

Belem has a population of 1.4 million people and is surrounded by rivers, bays, streams and beaches. The HANGAR architectural project, where the CONFINTEA VI will take place, reproduces a number of these elements in a symbolic reflection of the Amazon region’s biodiversity.

The lake, which symbolizes the region’s millions of streams, is inhabited by regional fish, such as the pirarucu, the tucunaré, the tambaqui, and is home to Victoria Regis, the plant which symbolises the Amazon region. The gardens are planted with native species and there is also a reproduction of one of the most endangered ecosystems, the mangrove.

With an area of 63,000m² of which the Hangar building occupies 24,000m², the convention centre is equipped with high technology and is prepared to host large events, such as fairs, conferences, conventions, seminars, symposiums and exhibitions.

The HANGAR adopts the concept of the flexible use of space, with high ceilings and large free spans which favour multi-functionality. There are 12 multiuse rooms and an area for exhibitions and fairs with sufficient infrastructure to execute two simultaneous events. In addition there is an auditorium of 1800m² with the capacity to seat 2,200 people which can be divided into eight separate spaces each holding 250 people. There are three further independent auditoria with different seating capacities: 200, 250 and 400 people.

The HANGAR is equipped with wireless internet access, a press room and a food court as well as a car park for 1,000 vehicles. There is also an industrial kitchen which can provide two thousand meals an hour. It has central air-conditioning, electronic security and surveillance.

For more information: www.hangarcentrodeconvencoes.com.br

Related Information

General Information for Belém