By Guilherme, Paula, Thábara, Vitor and all the team from Casa Fluminense
The preparation of this edition of the Map of Inequality made us confront a series of challenges in the global and local context, especially those that present themselves to everybody who experiences our social extremes. Working with indicators in Brazil, especially when dealing with peripheral areas, is complex and requires a significant responsibility and commitment.
Data is scarce and often out of date. The Demographic Censuses, conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics – IBGE, theoretically every ten years, are still the main source of data on Brazilian cities. This is even more important when we observe the inter-municipal reality, where socio-territorial inequalities are made invisible by data that considers the municipality as a whole, without unraveling its internal particularities.
In addition, we also faced difficulties in obtaining additional data through the Electronic System of the Citizen Information Service (e-SIC). The Access to Information Law (LAI) has been in force for eight years, but it is still difficult to use this tool to obtain data. In the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro, there are local governments that do not offer e-SIC on their websites. Even among those that have the platform available, the non-delivery of data within the requested deadlines and the forwarding of incomplete information are recurrent problems.
Even when the data was available in the public bases of the three spheres of government, we noticed another problem: its lack of reliability. In this regard, conflicting numbers between similar bases and irregular historical series were two of the main challenges confronted in the selection of the indicators that compose this Map. Because of this, the checking of all the presented information became a constant exercise during the research process.
Therefore, Casa Fluminense states that the data presented in this publication was obtained through government sources, as well as by citizen-generated data and collaborative initiatives for the production of new indicators. We hope that the Map of Inequality reinforces the need to produce data regularly, periodically and reliably, and to join forces with so many important movements of civil society that independently produce data and narratives about local realities.
2020 was meant to be the year of the new Demographic Census but the main household survey of the country, which had already suffered from a series of cuts, was postponed to 2021. Under the risk of a statistical blackout, the transparency of data remains threatened by the sabotage of elected mandates, including during the greatest pandemic experienced by our generation.
Even so, we have launched the Maps in a year of municipal elections, in which the local governments and legislative chambers need to be aware of the structural and emergency inequalities of the cities, in order to build future platforms that prioritize social justice and the right to life. However, the lethality and the worsening of the health crisis has also postponed the electoral calendar. The public agenda that depends on face-to-face participation remains suspended and in the background.
In this context, Casa Fluminense and its network of partners have launched the new edition of the 2030 Rio Agenda with proposals for the ten themes that structure the set of indicators of the Map of Inequality. They are: housing, employment, transport, security, sanitation, health, education, culture, social assistance and public management. Both publications pursue the horizon of the intersectional approach for these themes, mainstreaming their content with the values of economic, racial, gender and socio-environmental justice.
Questioning Brazilian structural racism and the layers of historical oppressions over women, LGBTQI+ people and those from the peripheries is an inevitable commitment of any initiative that positions itself to confront inequalities. The Agenda, therefore, seeks to work on the reduction of the inequalities pragmatically and to collaborate in the cycle of public policies when it presents a design and formulation of policies, advocates their implementation and monitors them.
The Map of Inequality and the Rio Agenda have aligned their themes with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are a global agreement among the member countries of the United Nations with targets to transform the social, economic, environmental and institutional reality, especially in the eradication of hunger and poverty, in all its dimensions, by 2030.
In each one of the maps, you will find a simple title, a technical note from the databases that we used, some related SDGs and a brief reading by the team about the contained information.
Based on the abovementioned premises, the 2020 Map of Inequality seeks to influence the public debate, and to empower and mobilize social leaders through a broad diagnosis that defends a more just and democratic metropolitan Rio. The publication is a tool to confront our structural challenges and emergency threats in order to better plan the future of our major cities.
* This text was taken from the presentation of the 2020 Map of Inequality