What is your role at GC Brazil and previous background in other organisations?
I am a Professor of political sciences in Brasilia and I used to work as a Senator’s assistant within the Senatorial chambers, whilst still taking the time to give lectures at university.
Today I am a member of the Board of Directors of GC Brazil, and I was also one of its founding members. As part of my role on the Board of Directors, I am also one of 3 Councillors (also on the board) in charge of the finances of GC Brazil.
What projects does GC Brazil currently have in place?
We currently have various projects running. Firstly, we coordinate the recuperation and conservation of the Mangrove project, which is a massive venture encompassing the entire Brazilian coastline.
Another recent project is the Green University project. This university is located in the historical city of Paraty. What we are trying to attain is essentially an enlarged campaign of environmental education for the general public. Right now, we are able to show schoolchildren from age five and up a ‘virtual ecosystem’ experience. This means that children and university students are able to explore and learn about the many complex ecosystems in Brazil via computers. Engaging children through technology shall at the very least make them more aware of the complex world that we inhabit. This is only one facet to the project whose main focus is on environmental education.
GC Brazil has implemented programs in collaboration with the Carrefour Foundation in the State of Minas Gerais to develop social rehabilitation programmes in the river basin region of the Paranaibas Rivers. This has helped the economic, social and environmental situation of the communities in the region. Green Cross has also participated in a recent agreement with the Brazilian government to protect water sources in Brazil and give way for future water sustainability projects.
Furthermore, GC Brazil and the government of the State of Minas Gerais announced the creation of the HydroEX UNESCO Institute, a center to promote environmental education and capacity building in the field of water management. We hope and look forward to similar initiatives in the future based on the success and lessons learnt in these ongoing projects.
What future projects will GC Brazil be involved in?
Each municipality within Brazil has agreed to Agenda 21 (developed after the Rio Summit of 1992), and accordingly has to have an Agenda 21 project. GC Brazil will help create these projects and be one of the first organisations to implement them. An example of one of these projects might entail environmental education and teaching people how to develop their community in a sustainable fashion and to ensure that they manage their resources such as hydrocarbon derivatives in a sustainable manner.
What impact do you think the Earth Dialogues will and should have on Brazil as a whole, and GC Brazil itself?
I believe the Earth Dialogues are important to promote awareness and finding solutions to today’s environmental issues. The Green Cross encourages different sectors of society such as governments, civil society, businesses and leaders in world affairs to propose solutions to protect the environment through sustainable development.
The Earth Dialogues will have a profound influence on Brazil as a whole and I feel that this will prove to be a turning point in the role of GC Brazil to influence the general public and help build consciousness of our role in safeguarding the planet for future generations.
What would you like to see for the future of GC Brazil?
Personally, I would like to have more synergies with different Brazilian NGOs in order to develop GC Brazil. What we can bring to the table, so to speak, is our uniqueness: we are the only NGO that works on the issues of social inclusion and improving people’s quality of life. Green Cross Brazil is crucial in this respect, as there are many social conflicts that occur without the attention they deserve across Brazil. In order to do this better, however, we need GC Brazil to have more influence and outreach in order to really make humans realize their role in protecting the environment.
On a more critical note, GC Brazil needs to improve its performance. We need a stronger organisation with real and tangible projects that will increase both our credibility and our visibility.
By developing our internal organisation, we will attract an influx of partnerships with other NGOs and professionals as well as a larger group of volunteers.
Is there more that the GCI network could be doing to support your work in Brazil?
There are always certain difficulties in maintaining an organisation on a permanent basis. We are always in need of more funding Similarly, this is the case with our projects – it is difficult to develop projects without proper financial resources. I very much believe that greater harmonisation in the Green Cross network will help solve this problem.
According to our mandate we should be as one. Mikhail Gorbachev, GCI’s President and Member of the Board of Directors, said that the planet is one interconnected organism. We must encourage each other to take an active interest in each other’s problems so that we can have real solidarity. Brazilians shouldn’t only know about what’s going on in Brazil but also in Switzerland. Likewise, the Swiss should understand what’s going on in Africa. Africa should understand the problems in the Far East and so on and so forth. We have to understand each other’s situations and problems in order to move forward.
The world needs solidarity and to exchange information. The principles of Green Cross International should not just be an idea but also implemented all around the world. We must all set the example for the world.