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. There are 25 active projects in the IBRD portfolio with a net total commitment of USD 5.26 billion, and four projects financed by Recipient-Executed Trust Funds, with a net total commitment of USD 160 million.
See below some highlights of the World Bank's operations in Brazil, divided by the three pillars of the Country Partnership Framework (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 five multi-sector projects, in which the education component plays a key role (in multiple states and two 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 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 Parana Public Sector Modernization and Innovation for Service Delivery Operation, in the amount of US$130 million, was approved by the Board on April 28, 2022. The Program will support the expansion of hospital capacity to deliver COVID-19-related treatment, restructuring public health service delivery, and supporting new technologies to rationalize the hospital network and strengthen coordination across different levels of care in Parana. It will also support cross-sectoral areas such as environmental and disaster risk management information systems to improve service delivery, and public sector management interventions.
The Salvador Social Multi-sector Project, phase 1, improved delivery of public health services through the expansion of the primary health care (PHC) coverage, achieving 56 percent of the population in 2021, compared to a baseline of 45.5 percent, and the consolidation of secondary and tertiary care under municipal 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 indicators.
As of December 2021, the number of municipal health facilities with an operational electronic medical record system had increased from a baseline of 0 to 168 units (surpassing the target of 126); the number of municipal health units with health services provision available within the municipal regulation system (Sistema Vida+) had increased from 30 to 170 (surpassing the target of 136); and the number of municipal primary care units with a management system installed had increased from 30 to 170. The phase II, effective since October 2021, will continue supporting progress on those areas and has also supported the emergency response to the 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 financed 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 are now available:
- Human Capital Review: this study looks at the evolution of the human capital index (HCI) in Brazilian states and municipalities over the period 2007-2019, analyze existing population gaps, its drivers, and assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the human capital.
- Brazil Poverty Assessment: the 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 states in promoting and/or strengthening productive 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, 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 and to foster the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.
The projects also invest in complementary infrastructure to support agricultural activities, such as agro-logistics, alternative energy sources, agroclimatic vulnerability reduction, water supply and basic sanitation. One such example, the Bahia Sustainable Rural Development Project – Bahia Produtiva has supported strategic investments in the various links of identified value chains, as well as in the formation of market alliances between producers and private companies to enable the necessary investments to meet market requirements in terms of both quality and quantity. This approach also benefits the recovery of various biomes, by adopting agroforestry practices and systems and several other practices that increase production and strengthen climatic resilience.
Other projects, such as the Paraíba Sustainable Rural Development, focus on providing water access and productive investments to poor family farmers and producer organizations, allowing vulnerable farming communities to increase their food and water security in Brazil's driest region, by freeing household time spent on fetching fresh water, diversifying food production and improving overall sales income from farming activities.
The Bank is also supporting the adoption of climate-smart, resilient and inclusive policies for the agricultural sector. For example, Goiás Sustainable Recovery DPF (approved in May 2022) helps steer the state’s agricultural sector towards climate-smart practices, including the adoption of the State Plan to address climate mitigation and adaptation. The DPF supports measures that reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon storage in the soil, by aiming at a 10 percent per year increase in the use of non-chemical fertilizers and phytosanitary products. It strengthens the climate focus of the State’s environmental licensing framework by reducing compensation fees for GHG emission-neutral enterprises. Finally, the DPF would support land tenure regularization for smallholders through regulations that are environmentally sound, inclusive, and gender-balanced.
The Bank is also contributing to integrating public policies in agriculture, livestock and the environment by partnering with the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment for implementation of Global Environmental Facility Grants such as the Vertentes GEF FOLUR. In this project, sustainable agricultural/ livestock practices are disseminated in large tracts of landscapes of the Cerrado, through the use of field technical assistance provided by the National Rural Learning Service (SENAR).
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”.
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 Brazil Amazon Sustainable Landscape Project (ASL) aims at:
(a) improving integrated governance and management at the landscape level;
(b) expanding uptake of sustainable practices and participation in production chains linked to timber/nontimber and fisheries, as well as identifying and fostering opportunities for new sustainable uses of native biodiversity;
(c) expanding ongoing efforts and exploring new approaches to strengthen the implementation of key legal instruments for forest recovery; and
(d) improving Brazilian stakeholders’ implementation and collaboration capacity.
The Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA), which is a component of the ASL, started in 2002 and currently supports the consolidation of 119 protected areas. Technical studies supported are ongoing for the creation of 19 new federal and state-level areas, with an estimated total area of 4.96 million ha. In addition, activities under implementation include:
- training of new Voluntary Environmental Agents in Amazonas;
- construction of 9 additional fishing agreements in Amazonas and equipment (community-based tourism, seedling nurseries, signage);
- evaluated proposals for preparing 4 protected areas management plans;
- a fish landing monitoring system in 2 ports;
- restoration proposals in 3 areas;
- analysis and validation of 16,445 rural environmental cadasters.
In the Amazon region, the Bank is supporting the implementation of environmental legislation and incentive to combine forest protection and sustainable development. For example, the Sustainable Amazonas DPF (approved by the Board in December 2020) seeks to address regulatory loopholes, institutional gaps, as well as the support the provision of incentives for climate-friendly investors and poor communities to sustainably use the state’s forest resources.
With the operation’s support, the Amazonas state’s environmental regulatory and institutional framework will be strengthened by (i) adopting the state’s action plan to combat deforestation, that clarifies institutional roles for “command and control”; (ii) adopting state legislation for the sustainable management of forest concessions, based on internationally sound environmental and social standards; (iii) adopting state regulations that streamline the environmental regularization process and clarify the requirements to address conservation deficits, and (iv) strengthening the state’s fiscal and financing framework of a pioneer program for payment of environmental services to poor communities, paving the way for the creation of local carbon credit markets.
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.
So far, the Cerrado biome projects have achieved positive results in the primary programmatic areas of management and use of anthropogenic areas; better governance and integrated land management system; and production and management of information, including:
- 20,025 farmers have been trained in low carbon emission agricultural practices and 93,844 hectares increase of areas under low carbon emission agricultural practices.
- 190,072 landholding, and 32 Traditional Communities Territories, totalizing about 35.5 million hectares have been enrolled in the National Rural Environmental cadaster system (SICAR)
- 36 indigenous communities; 12 quilombola communities; and 12 traditional communities received assistance to maintain and improve their livelihood and sustainable development; 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, Piauí, Sao Paulo, Paraná, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Distrito Federal, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Maranhão), and the Brazilian Forest Service, and MAPA are being supported with improved environmental and land planning management systems.
- Cerrado biome deforestation ratings were made public. The data is available at: http://cerrado.obt.inpe.br/ or http://terrabrasilis.dpi.inpe.br/app/dashboard/deforestation/biomes/cerrado/increments.
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.
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 1990’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). In addition, Brazil’s numbers of road deaths are among the worst in LAC (23 deaths/100k inhabitants per year) and road accidents cost around 4% of its GDP.
Besides the rail projects cited 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 2022:
- 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 and Development Report (CCDR): This pioneering report is a new core diagnostic tool that aims to explore the interplay between climate change and development, and to support countries in identifying high-impact climate actions, while recognizing related trade-offs. The study explores how Brazil's development objectives are exposed to risks and opportunities from climate change, climate related natural disasters and other environmental stressors, as well as global and domestic decarbonization trends. t assesses the economic implications of climate change on metric such as growth, income distribution, private sector competitiveness.
- Brazil Infrastructure Assessment: Enhancing the quality of Brazil’s infrastructure requires an improved investment framework. Better spending on infrastructure will raise productivity directly and make other investments more productive. Unfortunately, Brazil’s infrastructure stock has been depleting since 1990, when infrastructure spending first fell below the level needed to maintain it (about 3%). The causes are not far to seek: budgetary constraints that favor earmarked spending over investment, limited government capacity for project planning, and poor practices in procurement as well as contract and asset management. This report presents an analytical framework that seeks to understand the relationship between infrastructure and productivity, inclusion, and climate change, in the Brazilian context. Key findings and core messages can be summarized as follows: i) Brazil urgently needs to increase public investment in infrastructure to stop its deterioration, expand access, improve quality, and thereby increase the productivity and competitiveness of the economy; ii) To maximize the impact of its infrastructure investments, Brazil needs to establish a set of strategic investment and policy priorities that will yield cost savings and enhance productivity and global competitiveness; and iii) Brazil needs to increase technical capacity, particularly at subnational levels, to plan, deliver, and manage infrastructure assets better, and increase private participation.
Open Brazil website
In 2021 the World Bank Group and the Government of Brazil launched a “one-stop-shop” innovative, open, and interactive online Brasil Aberto/Open Brazil platform that offers real-time data on the performance of the WBG program in the country. Open Brazil geo-locates WBG spending and helps visualize the WBG portfolio footprint against social, economic, and environmental indicators at local level; it also tracks CPF indicators automatically by drawing on the government’s open data platforms. It leverages social media to track public sentiment on selected reform areas and features the “Smart Supervision App,” which showcases results on the ground and includes a dedicated interactive dashboard on Covid-19 in Brazil.
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.
Since the launch, the Open Brazil platform had over 4,400 users, an average of 300 per month.
Want to know more? Visit Open Brazil.
Last Updated: Oct 07, 2022