Researchers have created a practical guide for parties and candidates to base their government plans on science. It has 193 items on the main needs of Brazilian cities and was developed by the Synthesis Center – Global Cities and the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo (USP), based on the United Nations’ sustainable development goals for 2030, articulating with a green recovery of the Brazilian economy after the covid-19 pandemic.
“Our idea is that this agenda is absolutely supraparty and is used by both candidates and the population. We build general items, which give guidance on where to go, ”said Professor Marcos Buckeridge, one of the coordinators of the work. Approximately 45% of the items on the agenda address topics in the areas of Education (34 items), Sanitation (30 items) and Health (25 items). The climate change targets are 18 of the items and another 17 are directly related to the environment. All areas are interrelated with the others, privileging the transversality of the themes.
The agenda prepared by USP Cidades Globais joins two others published this year by civil society entities that also argue that the resumption in the post-pandemic be made on a sustainable basis: that of Rede Nossa São Paulo / Fundação Tide Setúbal and that of the group C40, an international articulation of large cities – led by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – to promote policies to combat climate change. In common, all proposals combine sustainable development with the fight against inequality in the post-pandemic.
The authors of the new guide believe that combining the fight against climate change with the reduction of inequalities in the city is a way to achieve a healthier city. “Everyone benefits from a healthier city. Polluted air is breathed in the Gardens and on the outskirts, ”said Buckeridge. The researchers will now work to relate the texts of 1,445 academic theses that deal with urban policies to the guide. “Our goal is that the manager has at his disposal the items related to sustainable development and an indication of what was produced as a science in this regard.”
Many of the guide’s actions involve suggestions for directing government purchases, such as favoring small and medium-sized businesses and family farming. “We are thinking of a development model like the German, of sustainable capitalism, which has a huge number of small companies.”
The guide also brings, as main points, the creation of opportunities for women, blacks and LGBT people and community gardens for vulnerable populations in order to combat inequality in cities, as well as indicating the replacement of the fossil fuel bus and truck fleet from city halls by vehicles that use clean energy and even the use of telemedicine to expand the population’s access to health.
By linking public policies to science criteria, in addition to equity, the USP guide reinforces a trend observed by political scientists in this election, which is the emergence of a new polarization in politics: the division between those who are subject to science and their knowledge and those who have a negative attitude towards knowledge, something accentuated by the covid-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic is the first event that recovers politics as a way to solve the community’s problems,” said political scientist José Álvaro Moisés. For him, this recovery showed the importance of public health and the fight against inequality. Moses still finds it remarkable that this debate comes from civil society and not from parties. “A multiplicity of organizations that are operating on topics such as sustainable development.”
The role of parties in the debate is criticized by city councilor Gilberto Natalini (without a party). “Nobody is talking about the green agenda as they should.” After five consecutive terms, he decided not to run this year and to break with his party, the PV. “We passed the Climate Change Act in 2009, but almost nothing left the paper. There is an abandonment of the sustainable agenda. ” In one of his last acts in the Chamber, Natalini will hold a public hearing to discuss the USP guide. “It is necessary to have a city that is more viable.”
Mafia in stock and vehicle fleet are challenges
The devastation of the Atlantic Forest in the area of water sources and the challenge of creating a fleet of ecological buses are some of the challenges that the future mayor must face. The 2nd edition of the Dossier on the devastation of the Atlantic Forest in São Paulo shows that from 2019 to 2020 the area went from 3 million m² to 7.6 million m² (1.2 million felled trees). All in the name of the creation of clandestine subdivisions that yielded R $ 2 billion to criminals, the majority linked to the First Command of the Capital (PCC).
“It is not just the crime. There is also a reduction in the number of trees planted by the City Hall, from 200 thousand per year to 18 thousand in 2019 ”, says councilman Gilberto Natalini (without a party). He also criticized the lack of vehicle inspection and the small ecological bus fleet. There are 17 battery powered electric buses and 210 trolleybuses in the city.
The Secretariat for Green and Environment (SVMA) reported that 38,741 seedlings were planted in 2019 and 23,189 seedlings by August 2020. SVMA reported that there is no forecast to resume vehicle inspection. According to the City Hall, since 2017, “5,882 new, more sustainable and less polluting buses have been included in the system (41.94% of the fleet)”. The new public transport contract obliges companies to zero emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter in 20 years.
To understand: United Nations has ‘goals’
Little known in Brazil, the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an initiative of the United Nations (UN) in its socio-environmental agenda. In all, the plan establishes 17 objectives, such as combating poverty and economic inequality, promoting a healthier society and the proper management of natural resources.
The objectives were outlined in 2015 by heads and representatives of 193 UN member states meeting in New York in order to create a global action plan for the next 15 years, setting priorities for public policies in the countries until 2030. The creation of the SDG is part of a debate that involved meetings since the Stockholm (1972), Rio de Janeiro (1992), Johannesburg (2002) and Rio + 20 (2012) conferences.