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FOSPA 2022: International Seminar “International Cooperation: challenges, impacts and trends” held in Belem on 28 july

The aim of the seminar was to reflect on the trends and challenges of international cooperation policies, taking account of the international and regional context based on a Human Rights approach, on the effects of official (inter-country) cooperation on Brazil’s territories and public policies, in particular on the Amazon, and to identify what research by the Process of International Networking and Dialogue (Processo de Articulação e Diálogo Internacional: PAD) suggests are the prospects for cooperation policies and the challenges for civil society organizations.

The first, morning, roundtable discussed: the global context, solidarity and international cooperation. Its moderators were Letícia Tura (Federation of Bodies for Social and Educational Work – Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional: FASE) and Vicente Puhl (HEKS EPER ), who opened the discussion with speeches about the importance of the international cooperation debate, which is a political debate, since its definitions impact on our territories.

The roundtable invitees were: Jurema Werneck (Amnesty International), Rogério Paulo Hohn (Movement of People Affected by Dams – Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens: MAB National Office) and Valéria Paye Kaxuyana (Podali Fund – Fundo Podaali/Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon – Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia: COIAB).

The dialogue was very productive with the participants addressing the importance of examining the Brazilian context and the process of destruction that our country is undergoing, and the need for everyone to be a part of this broad debate, since we cannot all be everywhere.  Rogério Hohn (MAB) began by saying something about the political situation, the structural crisis of capitalism and the range of impacts this has on the population.

Valéria Paye Kaxuyana (Podali Fund/COIAB) emphasized that there used to be a context of construction, even during the dictatorship there was a pathway towards the construction of advocacy, particularly following the 1988 constitution, when the social movements played a very important role in the construction of and dialogue with the state and with international cooperation. However, following the dismissal of President Dilma, things have regressed in relation to this entire construction process, despite some victories along a journey of more than 30 years.

Jurema Werneck noted that neoliberalism is winning because individualism, widely celebrated on social media, has all the space it could need; everybody is their own spokesperson.  It is not bad to have a voice and it is not bad to put your voice into the public sphere, but we know that a voice without a project is just noise and that digital pathways are full of noise.  Her words about the threatening times we are experiencing were very intense and direct.

Second part of the Seminar

The afternoon roundtable discussed international cooperation trends in Brazil.  This addressed: the Brazilian context and the role of official cooperation; the role of the State in guaranteeing participative democratic, inclusive, transparent and supportive cooperation; the prospects and challenges of international policy trends, given the Brazilian context of human rights violations; the impacts and repercussions of official (inter-country) cooperation on the territories; public policies in Brazil, particularly in the Amazon; and what the PAD research suggests are the prospects for cooperation policy, within both the Brazilian and the international context.

The moderators of this roundtable were Sônia Mota (Ecumenical Coordination of Service – Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviços: CESE/PAD) and Mércia Alves (SOS Corpo/PAD). They began by talking about the context of exteriority we are currently experiencing, one of externality, in which we belong to civil society within a society run by an autocratic, proto-fascist form of government, that denies the quality of its subjects, including subjects with different bodies, who experience inequality and diversity.

The roundtable’s invitees were: Luiz Ramalho (Sociologist); Aurelio Vianna (Anthropologist); and Nilma Bentes (black movement activist/Centre for the Study and Defence of Black People of Pará – Centro de Estudos e Defesa do Negro do Pará: CENDENPA). They began by talking about the Brazilian scenario, the growing deforestation, fires, and criminalization of the struggle of the defenders of human rights organizations, but, above all, criminalization in relation to the extermination of political, black, young, environmentalist bodies, which have been transformed into news items, without any accountability.

Luiz Ramalho (Sociologist) opened the talk with some exciting information. That Germany, Spain, France, Holland and Sweden have declared that their foreign and cooperation policies have to be feminist.

Aurelio Vianna (Anthropologist) talked about advocacy around the issue of the environment, or what the environment is and how it has become important for the defence of rights.

Nilma Bentes (black movement activist/CENDENPA) said that, unfortunately, the black movement does not yet represent the black population in Brazil. And she questioned how they could talk about such large themes and not talk about the killing, the genocide of the black population?

The debates were significant and more than a dozen participants put forward their opinions and talked to the invitees.  The seminar was attended by dozens of PAD’s partner organizations and representatives of International Cooperation: Misereor, Kobra, Heinrich Boll Foundation and Heks-Eper.

Publications launched:

Sônia Mota (CESE/PAD) briefly presented six articles about “Cooperação Internacional para o Desenvolvimento e Organizações da Sociedade Civil” (International Cooperation for Development and Civil Society Organizations) in relation to six countries: Germany, France, Holland, Norway, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, produced by Mara Manzoni Luz and Sheila Tanaka; she invited everyone present to access it on the PAD website.

Find out more and access the articles in Portuguese and English HERE!

In order to better understand these new configurations and discuss possible pathways to drive the rights agenda through cooperation, CESE ran two roundtable conversations with its team and partner organizations: “Dialogue about Cooperation and Philanthropy for the defence of rights and development”, mediated by Julia Esther, PAD Executive Secretary and Domingos Armani – Consultant for CSO Institutional Development.  This dialogue has been turned into a publication, which was also launched at the seminar.

Access the publication HERE! (in Portuguese)

By Kátia Visentainer

Photos and art: Mayra Souza and Sandy AugustoParte superior do formulário