In an unprecedented initiative in the nation, former ministers of the Economy and presidents of the Central Bank joined forces to write the letter Convergence for Brazil , with principles for an economic recovery considering social and environmental aspects.
Former ministers of the Economy and presidents of the Central Bank joined forces to write the letter Convergence for Brazil. Their goal is to bring forward environmental issues as instrumental for a sustainable economy. The document is signed by Alexandre Tombini, Armínio Fraga, Eduardo Guardia, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Gustavo Krause, Gustavo Loyola, Henrique Meirelles, Ilan Goldfajn, Joaquim Levy, Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira, Maílson da Nóbrega, Marcílio Marques Moreira, Nelson Barbosa, Pedro Malan, Persio Arida, Rubens Ricupero and Zélia Cardoso de Mello.
Brazil already shows many advantages in this area, such as a clean energy park and the use of less polluting fuel, but it has been neglecting other essential points, as the increasing deforestation of the Amazon and Cerrado regions. This is why the the document is so pressing. This initiative is supported by the Institute for Climate and Society and the Instituto O Mundo Que Queremos.
The voice of these authorities, united under a nonpartisan movement, also brings light to the current time of suffering due to COVID-19, with harsh consequences, especially to the Brazilian population. “This moment is difficult and distressing for everyone. Job and income losses are a reality that should deepen social inequality. The long term effects of this pandemic will be severe, including the even more challenging tax context”, states the document. “But the crisis also opens an opportunity to converge around an agenda that allows us to reestablish economic activities and, simultaneously, to build a Brazilian economy more resilient when facing climate risks and its implications”.
“The environmental issues also runs through sustainable production”, says the former minister of the Economy and former president of the Central Bank, Henrique Meirelles. “Some environmental measures are surely appropriate to reestablish the economy”. For the former president of the Central Bank Armínio Fraga, “It’s about time we talk about the environment”, relating the need to address this issue to develop a solid economic policy.
In the letter, four essential principles were listed to include the environment into Brazil’s economic policies:
1. Achieve a low-carbon economy
The authorities reaffirm that low-carbon solutions already demonstrate high return for investment and suggest the elimination of subsidies to fossil fuels and regulatory changes related to sustainability as possible paths, besides environmental criteria in public bids. “If we don’t enter the clean and renewable energy era now, there will be difficulties later on”, defends the former minister Rubens Ricupero. “We cannot just repeat the predecessor economy”.
2. End deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado regions
Deforestation has been causing intense negative reactions to Brazil’s agriculture, even without the increase in CO² emissions, what turns deforestation unproductive and unprofitable, especially in the Amazon region. To face this scenery, the authorities advocate the importance of more control over law enforcement related to environmental protection and other subjects. For the former minister Nelson Barbosa, “government participation (over environmental issues) needs to be not just with money, but with regulation either.
3. Reinforce climate resilience
Floods and droughts are two phenomenons that are damaging the Brazilian population for many decades. They are extreme climate effects that impact the economy and, primarily, the poor people. That is why increase climate resilience is essential, via sustainable investments and actions that could bring a social and economic return. “Brazil should be one of the leaders of the environmental process. Only with social pressure things change”, affirms former president of the Central Bank , Gustavo Loyola.
4. Boost research and development of new clean technologies
The authorities also understood that scientific research and the application of new technologies that could develop low-carbon companies are important to increase productivity, considering the even more digital and globalized world. According to Pérsio Arida, former president of the Central Bank, “Brazil’s greatest tragedy is slow growth”
The authorities reaffirm the importance to governments, private sector, civil society and the international community to anticipate predictable long-term impacts that neglecting the environment could cause and work to build a low-carbon economy with resilience to deal with future challenges. “We support the development of a criteria to reduce greenhouse gas stocks and emissions, and the resilience to the impacts of climate change, all integrated to the management of economic policies”, asserts the document.
The former ministers and presidents of the Central Bank were consulted throughout 45 days about the converging guidelines to place environmental policy, especially regarding the low-carbon economy, as a fundamental element for a solid recovery of Brazil’s activities. There were countless commentaries and suggestions from all of them through this period that culminated in the development of the letter Convergência Pelo Brasil, with this clear and urgent objective. “The social importance also stands out due to the eventual materialization of climate risks that ought to, unproportionally, strike the most vulnerable sections of society”, says the former minister Maílson da Nóbrega.
To watch the press conference that marked the launch of the letter, see the video below in English. We had a presence of approximately 160 people on youtube live and the video has already exceeded 1400 views.
More information about the initiative and the letter can be found at https://convergenciapelobrasil.org.br/convergence-for-brazil/
We had more than 90 mentions about the project and initiative on media and press*