Brazil’s project portfolio spans across all key sectors of the country’s economy, and has had significant positive impacts on people's lives - including, especially, the most vulnerable.
The active promotion of gender equality is an essential component of the World Bank's strategy in Brazil and has expanded considerably since 2010. In 14 states, World Bank Group projects incorporate gender components by requiring meaningful gender-sensitive consultations; supporting and developing guidance towards combating harassment in public spaces and public transport and against domestic violence; improving response services; promoting economic inclusion, and improving health services and / or reducing of teen pregnancy. The World Bank promotes gender equality and social inclusion through : a) advocacy and awareness raising; and b) mainstreaming this agenda in operations and knowledge work. A gender sensitive approach guides the preparation, implementation, and monitoring of WBG’s lending and analytical work. The portfolio features innovative approaches to promoting gender equality across different dimensions, including the promotion of girls in STEM, combating violence against women, preventing young women (and men) from becoming NEETs, promoting economic opportunities for rural women and ensuring women’s improved safety in the public space among others
In the municipality of Salvador, the Bank is supporting the strengthening of the institutional and technical capacity of the municipal social assistance system to address and prevent GBV, through a grant, by promoting a series of trainings and workshops targeted both at professionals and users of the social assistance network. Complementary actions will be taken in the framework of the Salvador II Project: the development of intersectoral protocol, continuous training workshops targeted at public agents involved in the provision of services to survivors, and communication strategies targeted at GBV prevention and studies on the social and economic impacts of GBV in the municipality.
In the state of Piauí, the Bank is supporting the strengthening and capacity building of the state’s policy bodies for women. Furthermore, in the state’s capital, Teresina, the Bank has supported the development of a diagnostic on the GBV situation in the municipality and has promoted a series of training aiming at strengthening the services offered to victims and survivors.
In 2020, the Bank also established a partnership with the National Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights in the development of a series of knowledge exchange activities and analytical and advisory work to strengthen protection systems for survivors of domestic violence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these efforts resulted in the publication of a technical note on Addressing Violence against Women (VAW) under COVID-19 in Brazil.
See below some highlights of the World Bank's operations in Brazil, divided by the three pillars of the CPF.
Pillar 1 - Fiscal sustainability and improved service delivery
Prior to the pandemic, considering international standardized learning tests, the quality of education in Brazil had been improving slowly over the past 15 years. However, despite this moderate progress, learning levels remained behind countries comparable to Brazil. This challenge is illustrated by the fact that in 2019, in Brazil, 4 out of 10 youths by the age of 19 did not finish high school. Or additionally: a significant share of children up to 3 years old do not have access to early childhood education. Altogether, these facts impose key challenges to economic and social development that will be exacerbated due to school closures during the pandemic.
In this context, the Bank has engaged consistently to mitigate the challenges through investment projects that provide not only financial support but, in parallel, augments local skills by sharing global experience and knowledge. One example is a federal project led by the Education Global Practice comprehending all 27 subnational governments, and an additional 5 multi-sector projects, in which the education component plays a key role (in multiple states and 2 municipalities). Most generally, this program also includes a rich set of analytical activities (including impact evaluations and assessments) and technical support.
Among subnational projects, the Salvador Social Multi-sector Project, and its recent second phase that will also support the pandemic recovery, aim at improving the efficiency of social service delivery in the Municipality of Salvador, one of the largest yet poorest urban areas of Brazil, with about 50% of its population either below poverty line or at risk of falling into poverty and 80% of afro-descendants. The projects support innovations to consolidate and accelerate the acquisition of basic skills and prevent dropouts, as well as the provision of emotional support to teachers, students and families.
The Salvador Social Multi-sector Project has been improving delivery of public health services through the expansion of the primary health care (PHC) coverage, and the consolidation of secondary and tertiary care under municipal’s governance. These investments helped the municipality improve results in the other levels of health care, as demonstrated by the decrease in the percentage of low-risk patients in the Intermediate Emergency Care Units (Unidades de Pronto Atendimento, UPAs). Notable results have also been achieved in the use of technologies to improve health care management, as evidenced by some of the Project’s indicators. As of June 2021 the number of municipal health facilities with an operational electronic medical record system had increased from a baseline of 0 to 164 units; the number of municipal health units with health services provision available within the municipal regulation system (Sistema Vida+) had increased from 30 to 145; and the number of municipal primary care units with a management system installed had increased from 30 to 159.
To keep pace with the country's changing health profile, the World Bank has promoted health projects focused on chronic diseases, such as the Piauí Pillars of Growth and Social Inclusion Project, which has been expanding access to specialized diagnosis and treatment with five new treatment centers, covering half the state's population, and other complementary investments in clinical protocols and training of health professionals. The operation also supports the implementation of the new Intelligence Center for Tropical, Emerging and Neglected Diseases (CIATEN), a cutting-edge institution in Brazil, dedicated to research (observatory), epidemiological information, and training of health professionals. Approximately US$ 4.5 million of loan proceeds have been allocated to respond to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rio Grande do Norte Regional Development and Governance Project has been improving health services aimed at women and children by increasing the number of maternity wards and functional beds for newborns. It also supports increased emergency health units in the state and improved capacities to cope with cancer and to diagnose various diseases in two new laboratories. The project has allocated about US$5 million to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through the acquisition of medical and personal protective equipment.
The support from the Bank to the COVID-19 social protection response is anchored in a large Federal operation ($1 billion) to the Ministry of Citizenship to help mitigate the negative economic effects associated with COVID-19 on income and risks of damaging human capital of poor families. The project was approved in October 2020 and finances the expansion of Bolsa Familia conditional cash transfer program to the newly and previously uncovered affected population.
In the analytical front, the Bank is focused on informing the reform of the social protection system to new emerging priorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering a robust set of advisory services and analytics focused on:
· Human Capital: Redesign of the world largest early childhood development (ECD) program Criança Feliz, and implementation of an impact evaluation of the Bolsa Familia benefit in terms of coverage, targeting and fiscal cost.
· Economic Inclusion of Bolsa Familia Beneficiaries: Strategies for labor market inclusion of the Bolsa Familia beneficiaries, review of its graduation rule, and design of a strategy for financial inclusion.
· Delivery Systems: Report on the lessons learned from the implementation of emergency benefits (Auxilio Emergencial) delivered during the COVID-19, strategy for gender-based violence response through social assistance services, and study on the socioeconomic impacts and access to social protection for forcibly displaced and host communities in Brazil.
· Social Insurance Right-Sizing: Study on regulatory activities to achieve better fiscal sustainability of the pension schemes at the subnational level, and suggestions for reform of the unemployment insurance system in Brazil.
The following studies under this pillar are expected to be completed by the end of the current fiscal year (June, 2022):
· Human Capital Review: this study will look at the evolution of the human capital index (HCI) at subnational level in Brazil over the period 2007-2019, analyze existing population gaps, its drivers, and assess the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had in the human capital of the population.
· Brazil Poverty Assessment: study aims at providing relevant evidence on the drivers of poverty and inequality in Brazil, with a strong focus on understanding the welfare of Brazilians in 2020.
Pillar 2 - Productivity growth and investments by the private sector
The Bank's programs in agriculture and rural development support the states in promoting and / or strengthening productive economic activities that help increase the quality of life and income of family farmers and the access to technical assistance and technological innovations aimed at the adoption of environmentally-sustainable practices and improved productivity. Innovative projects empower local communities in poor regions of the Northeast, as well as in other parts of the country (North, South-East and South), to invest in improving the quality of products and thereby increase access to institutional and private markets - mainly through collective channels, such as producer associations and cooperatives.
The projects also invest in complementary infrastructure to support agricultural activities, such as: agro-logistics, alternative energy sources, water supply and basic sanitation. One such example, the Productive Bahia Project has supported strategic investments in the various links of identified value chains, as well as in the formation of productive alliances between producers and private companies to enable the necessary investments to meet market requirements - both in terms of quality and quantity - while favoring experience above all else. This is the case of organic cocoa producers in southern Bahia. Potential buyers and visitors to the region can experience a day in the countryside and purchase almonds and several cocoa products (chocolate, nibs, etc.) when they visit production areas. This approach also benefits the recovery of the Atlantic Forest, by adopting agroforestry practices and systems and several other practices that increase production and strengthen climatic resilience.
Inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities
The World Bank recognizes the importance of Brazilian cities. Concentrating more than 85% of the country's population, they are engines of economic growth and development. However, these cities also present high concentration of poverty, as well as drastic socio-spatial inequalities, all exacerbated by the rising frequency and intensity of extreme climate-related events, which affect the poor and vulnerable in a disproportionate manner.
The World Bank's support for promoting inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities comes in different ways. There is the traditional one-on-one engagement with municipalities to address their specific and multidimensional challenges related to planning, formulation and implementation of public policies, including the provision and maintenance of infrastructure and services at the local level. In Fortaleza, for example, a project under implementation benefits more than 300 thousand people through a set of urban and environmental improvements, with expected results on the transformation of the entire western (and less favored) portion of the city. This project comprises the implementation of a 10 km long linear urban park; the reduction of point-source pollution along the coastline; and the increase in the municipality’s own source revenue capacity.
But the World Bank has also been investing in innovative ways of providing municipalities with financing to support integrated projects for urban resilience. A recently approved operation granted access to a World Bank loan, through which the Regional Development Bank for the Far South (Banco Regional de Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul - BRDE) will be able to act as a financial intermediary and lend to small and medium-sized municipalities in southern Brazil interested in promoting the resilience agenda. This project comprises of a specific credit line to finance disaster risk management and mitigation projects (addressing events, such as floods, landslides and coastal erosion).
The Brazilian transport portfolio has provided support to mobilize greater investment in infrastructure to improve services, including through PPPs and various activities such as: i) supporting 7,300 km of roads upgraded, including under PPPs with WBG investment and 11,700 km of rural roads constructed or rehabilitated; ii) supporting urban citizens in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, especially the most vulnerable population (less than 4 minimum salaries), using more efficient and greener urban transport. Besides, three new Bus Rapid Transit Systems projects, in São Paulo, Itajaí and Belo Horizonte, are currently under preparation. The transport projects also supported the implementation of the public investments in three major passenger rail PPPs, the São Paulo Metro Line 4, São Paulo Metro Line 5 and the Suburban Rail in Rio de Janeiro, Supervia, and is currently supporting the São Paulo Metro Line 2 extension.
These projects were pioneers in the field and allowed for strong private participation in sectors previously only invested in by the public sector. With these investments, high quality transport services are being provided with private financing, improving people’s accessibility to jobs, health and leisure, reducing travel times, and deeply impacting more than 3 million people a day, mostly poor, who were previously subject to “super commutes”.
The following study under this pillar is expected to be completed by the end of the current fiscal year (June, 2022):
· Infrastructure Assessment: the study aims at developing policy advice designed to stimulate infrastructure development in Brazil while supporting the county’s Covid-19 recovery process and promoting long-term, sustainable and equitable growth.
Pillar 3 - Inclusive and sustainable development
Few countries have ecosystems as rich, diverse and critical to the well-being of their populations as Brazil. The country is home to one-third of the world’s tropical rain forests, twenty percent of the world’s freshwater supply and the Cerrado region - a tropical savannah with the world’s highest rate of biodiversity. A significant part of Brazil’s economy relies on the use of natural resources. Brazilian forests are also huge reservoirs of carbon and an important asset for maintaining the global climate balance.
In recent years, Brazil has improved its environmental laws and implemented several initiatives to combat climate change, with significant reductions in emissions. The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) program covers 60 million hectares of protected areas. It is estimated that the impact of ARPA alone will be enough to avoid the emission of 430 million tons of carbon by 2030. Another example is the Marine Protected Areas Program, a pioneering initiative set to triple the amount of marine protected areas in the coastal regions of Brazil. The Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program (begun in June 2018) combines biodiversity protection with the recovery of degraded areas to ensure the connectivity of Amazonian ecosystems and to support the sustainable development of the region.
In Brazil, the World Bank is supporting the government in better managing and conserving the Cerrado , the second largest biome in South America, which is being deforested twice as quickly as the Amazon, due to land clearing for agriculture and cattle ranching. The Cerrado is a driver of economic growth and is essential for food security, biodiversity conservation, water regulation and carbon sequestration. Investments underway are addressing drivers of deforestation by making agricultural production more sustainable, providing monitoring and information, and building capacity to detect, prevent and fight forest fires. Results to date include:
- 20,025 farmers have been trained in low carbon emission agricultural practices: 9,227 producers have enrolled in training/technical assistance + 1,908 additional people have received technical assistance on properties + 8,644 people participated in technological reference units days + 246 trained technicians.
- 93,844 hectares increase of areas under low carbon emission agricultural practices (sum of 42,588 ha for training group and 51,256 ha for training + technical assistance group).
- The indirect effect, computed as area under indirect interventions in harrowing and seeding as well as other interventions, is 151,204 ha for the CAP group and 133,464 ha for training and technical assistance.
- 190,072 landholding, totalizing about 35.5 million hectares have been enrolled in the National Rural Environmental cadaster system (SICAR) and, as a result, are adopting sustainable land management practices.
- Thirty-two Traditional Communities’ Territories, encompassing a total area of 94,897 hectares, were georeferenced, and 2,506 families there gained Agricultural Environmental Cadastre (CAR) registries, a majority of which, granted to women.
- DGM Brazil is supporting sixty-four subprojects, in which 36 involve indigenous communities; 12 comprises quilombolas; 12 are in traditional communities; and four are institutional subprojects.
- 20 Cerrado biome’s Indigenous People and Traditional Communities representatives supported in conservation and other REDD+ related processes at regional, national and global level.
- 11 states (Tocantins, Bahia, Piaui, Sao Paulo, Paraná, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Distrito Federal, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Maranhão), and the Ministry of Environment being supported with improved environmental and land planning management systems.
- Biennial deforestation ratings, available for the period of 2000-2012 and annual deforestation ratings, available for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, were made public. The data is available at: fttp://www.obt.inpe.br/cerrado/ or http://terrabrasilis.dpi.inpe.br/app/dashboard/deforestation/biomes/cerrado/increments
Water Resources Management. Water scarcity and floods are growing problems in Brazil, further exacerbated by climate change.
Key challenges in water resources management in Brazil relate to the need to increase its strategic priority in the national political agenda, while improving communication with the society and decision makers about its results and benefits.
Despite progress made over the past decades, Brazil still faces persistent deficits in access to Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) services with important environmental, social and economic negative impacts.
How the World Bank is contributing. The World Bank’s strategic partnership with Brazil in the water sector goes back several decades. It includes a broad scope and multi-instrumental programs: investment financing, technical assistance, analytical and advisory services and sectoral dialogue implemented in close partnership with key sectoral institutions at the federal, state and municipal levels. Ongoing investment projects in the states of Ceara, Paraíba and Espírito Santo, in the municipality of Fortaleza and with the Sabesp utility in Sao Paulo aim to address many of the challenges above, including, to improve sustainable water resources management, promote water and soil conservation, prevent and respond to hydrological extreme events, increase access to sustainable water and sanitation services, in special to vulnerable people, and improve quality of life. Attention is also given to rural areas, where WSS gaps are higher, through operations targeted at rural populations in Bahia, Ceará, Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte, as well as activities to benefit indigenous communities in Acre.
In addition to lending operations, the World Bank 1) promotes a rich water sector policy dialogue with the government at all levels, 2) uses Trust Funds and Analytical & Advisory services to build evidence, complementarity and innovation in the water sector, such as initiatives to build capacity against drought events and ensure safety of dams, and to improve performance and efficiency of water utilities (Utility of the Future), and 3) promotes capacity building, exemplified by the recent Technical Assistance to the National Water & Sanitation Agency (ANA) in rolling out its new mandate and regulatory role under the new law. A recent diagnostic assessment is the flagship Policies, Institutions Regulations, and Expenditures in the Water and Sanitation Sector in Brazil, aiming to generate evidence to inform the proposed government’s policy reform agenda and reorient investments in the sector following the approval of the new law.
Some results for the period (2018-2021) include:
· 610,000 people provided with improved access to sanitation (urban)
· 585,000 people benefiting from more reliable water services (urban)
· 243,000 people provided with improved access to water (rural)
· 52,000 people provided with improved access to sanitation (rural)
One of the main priorities of Brazil, an 85 percent urbanized country, is to provide more inclusive and sustainable urban services, as well as to promote socio economic development to small rural producers and vulnerable groups. Brazil still suffers from low logistics performance, with stagnant road infrastructure since the 90’s. In addition to that, the transport sector is a large contributor of GHG emissions, coming particularly from roads (86% from transport emissions come from roads). Moreover, Brazil’s numbers of road deaths are among the worsts in LAC (23 deaths/100k inhabitants per year) and road accidents cost around 4% of its GDP.
Besides the rail projects cited above (under Pillar 2), the World Bank promotes the development of inclusive, green and technological BRT corridors in the cities of São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Itajaí River Bed region, improving urban mobility with a focus on reducing GHG emissions, improving road safety, and increasing accessibility of the poor to jobs . Public transport, besides being the main mean of travel of the poor and women, offer 100% climate co-benefits, and might significantly reduce air pollution. At the federal level, the WB is supporting the technological transition to electric mobility by enhancing city’s structuring capacity in bus services PPPs with business models that improve sector competition and formalization.
In the roads project in Bahia, the WB is contributing to the improvement of the State’s transport and logistics efficiency and safety, while enhancing the Borrower’s capacity in environmental and disaster risk management. In Tocantins, for instance, the WB is fostering effectiveness of road transport and enhanced efficiency of selected public services in support of the Borrower's integrating development to social agenda in gender by addressing gender-based violence in the project areas.
In the State of São Paulo, the WB is enhancing road resilience, while improving rural accessibility. These three projects improve and rehabilitate roads used to transport commodities and agriculture products for export from rural areas; strengthen road safety; provide connectivity to indigenous communities and rural areas (throughout all-seasons), and bring a proactive gender agenda, whereby the projects amplify results by promoting gender empowerment and preparing communities to repel issues surrounding sexual exploitation and prostitution of minors.
The following studies under this pillar are expected to be completed by the end of the current fiscal year (June, 2022):
· The Amazon Economic Memorandum: the study will look into how to reconcile inclusive economic development in the Brazilian Amazon with the conservation of its natural forests.
· Brazil 2040: this report aims at stimulating a public debate about policy options to achieve long-term inclusive and sustainable growth. Brazil faces many challenges on its path to the year 2040 and the report will support a conversation in Brazil about how to overcome them, imaging various "alternative futures". It will support a debate focusing on how to reduce poverty and inequality by 2040, while strengthening sustainability.
· Brazil Country Climate Development Report (CCDR): the study will investigate how Brazil's development objectives are exposed to risks and opportunities from climate change, climate related natural disasters and other environmental stressors, and global and domestic decarbonization trends. It will also examine how strategic policy packages could assist with transitioning to a greener and climate-smart development. It will examine the economic implications of climate change and environmental stressors on metric such as growth, income distribution, private sector competitiveness, profitability and investment. It will also examine the implication of potential policy responses.
Open Brazil website
In 2021 the World Bank Group launched a new website that details all analytical work and operations of the institution in Brazil, contextualizing them in regards to the pillars of Country Partnership Framework and taking into account the particular challenges of the country.
Brasil Aberto is an interactive and easy-to-use platform that uses new technologies, including Big Data, Open Data, remote sensing – satellite imagery, for example – social media and intelligent results monitoring and supervision tools. With this platform, the World Bank Group seeks to foster transparency and improve the relationship with its stakeholders, bringing benefits to various sectors of Brazilian society.
Want to know more? Visit Open Brazil
Last Updated: Oct 14, 2021