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Brazil is a continental-size country with 196 million inhabitants. After a steady period of economic growth, Brazil is now one of the largest economy in the world.
Over the past two decades, Brazil’s economic stability and public policies aimed at tackling hunger and poverty have transformed the lives of millions, slashing child malnutrition by almost two-thirds and helping to lift 28 million people out of poverty. Brazil’s social inclusion policies are currently regarded as a source of inspiration for other countries in the global South.
Despite significant progress, Brazil has a long way to go to become a more egalitarian society. The richest 10% of the people earn nearly half (43.5%) of the nation's income, and racial and gender inequalities feature among the greatest domestic challenges.
Brazil’s development model present many equity and sustainability challenges. While the agro-export model is central to Brazil’s economic growth (it accounted for 22% of Brazil’s GDP in 2011), there is overwhelming evidence that the agribusiness sector is exploiting Brazil’s huge reservoir of natural resources in unsustainable and irresponsible ways, besides jeopardizing small farmers’ livelihoods.
The Brazilian government has a privileged position and capacity to influence the G20 and BRICS countries, and despite its pending domestic agenda, it can play a potentially determining role in addressing the world’s equity and sustainability challenges.
Oxfam in Brazil
Oxfam’s engagement in Brazil dates back to 1965.
With activities ranging from financial support to community based organizations in rural areas and progressive religious groups for over a decade under dictatorial rule, to to movement building during the “democratization” period, we have both witnessed and contributed to the emergence of civil society organizations in Brazil.
During the eighties, we helped promote active social, cultural and political citizenship, including the human rights of indigenous groups and women. In the nineties, projects focused on poverty alleviation in urban contexts and gradually strengthened an advocacy approach, working to influence public policies.
From 2000, we have developed a clearer focus towards promoting economic justice, including campaigning for fair trade rules, access to health and medicines and food security. We have since then promoted a critical view of the Brazilian agricultural model, as well as on biofuels, and its impact on climate change.
We aim to promote a fair food system where every person has enough to eat in a resources constrained world.
In Brazil, we are seeking specifically:
- to support civil society organizations and social movements that contribute to improve and consolidate public policies and investment in favor of smallholders’ agriculture, particularly in support of women farmers;
- to promote wider public awareness about the importance of supporting shorter cycles of sustainable food production and consumption;
- to encourage sustainable policies and practices of Brazilian and multinational food companies;
- to explore the potential of urban agriculture as a tool for urban climate change adaptation and food and nutritional security.
In view of Brazil’s rapidly growing role in global and regional governance, we also work:
- to disseminate information on Brazil’s social inclusion policies, especially food security initiatives in the Latin American region, within BRICS countries, and in Africa;
- to encourage Brazil’s leadership in advancing a sustainable development agenda within BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) , and G20 countries, as well as in Latin America and Africa regions;
- to strengthen civil society capacity to monitor Brazil’s official aid, foreign policies and investment and their impact on development issues world-wide.