Social Transformations in Brazil

© UNESCO
Favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The world is undergoing important social transformations driven by the impact of globalization, global environmental change and economic and financial crises, resulting in growing inequalities, extreme poverty, exclusion and the denial of basic human rights.

These transformations demonstrate the urge for innovative solutions conducive to universal values of peace, human dignity, gender equality and non-violence and non-discrimination. Young women and men, who are the most affected by these changes, are hence the principal key-actors of social transformations.

Social transformations through social inclusion and social innovation are at the crossroad of all of UNESCO’s activities, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged and excluded. UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme and its Intergovernmental Council (IGC) are unique drivers for advancing holistic capacity-building initiatives on social transformations and for building bridges between social scientific knowledge, public policies and society, and ensuing implementation.

The MOST Programme focuses on two thematic priorities:

  • Social Inclusion as an essential feature of fighting poverty, narrowing inequalities, and advancing towards inclusive societies, as one of the key goals of sustainable development; and
  • Social Transformations arising from Environmental Change in recognition of the necessity to address crises ranging from the reduction of natural resources, food, water and energy shortages, loss of biodiversity the pressure of accelerating urbanization and population growth, to climate change and natural disasters. Considering that sustainable development has inseparable social and environmental pillars, social and environmental challenges are closely interrelated.

 

Citizenship for just a few people, poverty, lack of a culture of respect for the human rights, racial discrimination, lack of access to justice, chauvinism, and inappropriate public security practices, all of these lead to extremely high rates of violenceBrazil has been historically marked by social, economic and cultural inequalities. Both society and government are increasingly aware of the need for changing that scenario by creating mechanisms of social participation and control, programmes, projects, and actions that represent a movement towards positive changes.

Although Brazil  has a large number of poor people it is not a poor country. However, it still has to overcome social injustice and inequality. The social injustices are  are reflected in a medium rank in the Human Development Index (HDI), which means that difficulties are still to be overcome in education, health, income distribution and employment conditions.

It is worth mentioning that despite the positive changes recently noticed, the improvements are insufficient to promote the great leap that Brazil needs to make. Poverty reduction and fight against social inequalities are key priorities for the Social and Human Sciences Programme in Brazil. UNESCO puts in place an upstream and strategic approach rooted in social sciences information, knowledge and research in order to influence policy-making and strengthen capacity building.

Social inclusion initiatives, in close cooperation with NGOs and civil society, receive close attention. UNESCO technical cooperation is present in all stages, from the planning to the implementation of projects and in innovative activities.

UNESCO in Brazil intends to focus its messages, practices, perspectives, and resource to provide tools to education, cultures, science, and communication and information in order to reduce poverty and raise human development rates of Brazilian population by:

  • serving as a forum to exchange ideas on international social policies,
  • exchanging, promoting, and disseminating successful experiences in the field of poverty reduction in Brazil.
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