Final Report on the International Faculty Development Seminar
“The Changing Stracture of Local Social Development in Brazil”
January 9-15, 2003, at FAU-USP
Photo taken by Prof. Ryoichi Mohri at Univ. of Sao Paulo on Jan. 14, 2003
1. Description on the way in which the seminar/study visits/lectures have contributed to my special area of interest
I learned how the ODA program for the urban sector could be justified compared to the rural sector.
When I was working for JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) in Nepal, I had a concern on how to balance our assistance program between urban issues and rural issues. Although Nepal had been in the middle of urbanization and the population of the Kathmandu metropolitan area has been rapidly increasing, there still had been a considerable number of population in the rural area and we had to allocate resources to address rural poverty. That would make it difficult to convince every aid practitioner to consider the support program for urban issues. Also, there was a strong argument that the intervention in the urban sector would only end up with further inflow of rural migrants into the city by making the city more attractive for the migrants. The supporters of this idea insisted on supporting the development of the small/medium satellite cities outside the Kathmandu Valley and then mitigating the further migration into the Valley.
Compared to the case of Kathmandu, the urbanization of Brazil seems to have already reached such a level as to expect no further large-scale rural-urban migration. When we already see so much population in such large cities as São Paulo, we would consider the assistance program for the urban sector, which can be more easily justifiable. If I were the country officer for Brazil, I would place a higher priority on the programs in the urban sector and first think about the use of JBIC loans. The prospects for higher growth in the urban sector would lead to the use of large-scale loan financing. Of course the loan financing is usually for the support of the economic infrastructure and I hear that JBIC is not expected to implement the two-step loan to the micro-financing institutions, such as the one to the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, if Japan additionally considers the financing for the sub-projects that directly support the urban population who might be excluded from or receive the benefit in a very limited scale from economic infrastructure, I would suggest the grant financing for small-scale infrastructure development for and by the community organizations based in the favela areas, or technical assistance for the knowledge sharing among the stakeholders. The former one could be financed by the grass-roots grant program handled by the Embassy of Japan. Grass-roots grant is a good tool for rapid approval and implementation. Considering the dynamic nature of demographic change in the urban sector, quick approval and quick disbursement would be needed. The latter might be financed by JICA, but we had better wait until JICA is transformed into independent administrative body in October 2003. To complement the urban sector program, on the other hand, Japan might consider another program to address the rural poverty.
2. Description on the other elements/aspects of the seminar program which I have found interesting for my master’s degree
- Presense of European Donors
In my thesis, I am going to do the fact-finding study on the social sector development assistance by the small European donors, through which I expect I could come up with the various implications for the improvement of the Japanese ODA. During our observation visit to the Santo Andre municipality and the head office of Banco do Povo, I could easily expect that GTZ – German Technical Cooperation would already be there as well as European Commission. Presence of GTZ seemed to be minimal. It just introduced some best practices it had collected from its similar operations around the world. Based upon my personal experience in other countries like Nepal and Bangladesh, I should say whenever it comes to the issue of urban development, GTZ comes first. They have already started the exercise of selectivity and prioritization in terms of countries and sectors, and have strong comparative advantage in urban development. At the entry point, they are already involved in the initial fact-finding studies and researches, and able to enter into the preparation for the follow-up measures. Also, their procurement for technical cooperation is already untied and there is not necessarily the involvement of German consultants. Although some clarification would be necessary, GTZ financed the initial study which was conducted by a Brazilian professor. Use of local human resources is the key to achieve the sustainability of the projects, and I think that Japan need to be more flexible in making use of local resources.
EC member coutries have traditionally placed higher priority on the human rights issues and its support to Santo Andre seemed to be provided in line with this. Gender is another key agenda for EC and it was interesting to see the composition of the clients of Banco do Povo was in relatively favor of female clients compared to the clients of the Bank’s own operation. Also, the fact that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has been contributed US$100 million to the rehabilitation of the Central District of Greater São Paulo, seems to have confirmed my view that the physical rehabilitation/improvement/development should be financed through loan financing. Another interesting aspect of the rehabilitation of the Central District was the partnership with the private business organizations. Their US$ 77 million contribution is very impressive and shows that the business sector really exercises what the owners are supposed to do.
- Multi-stakeholder Urban Planning
Although I’m not specializing in regional development planning, I would like to say a few words on this aspect. In the final report for Dr. Yogo’s subject on regional development planning in September 2002, I mentioned that this participatory approach was very similar to the City Development Strategy (CDS), which the World Bank has been promoting in some cities in East and South Asia for the last couple of years. It was a welcome coinsidence that during our schooling in São Paulo, we came accross a French consultant who had been involved in the preliminary work for the CDS Johannesburg, South Africa.
I observed that the Japanese immigrants and their families have already been regarded as important partner for the development of their constituencies, especially when we visited Indaiatuba. I was also impressed at the fact that the municipal government and favela community-based organizations in Santo Andre had established a knowledge platform where they share the ideas for the favela development and the ideas raised by the favela communities are respected. Business sector’s contribution to the rehabilitation of the Central District, São Paulo, was another remarkable aspect. The World Bank and other donors always emphasize that all the stakeholders should be involved in the development programs from the needs identification and planning stage, but it was also pointed out that this is a difficult exercise at the national level. I have thought that CDS would be much easier to come up with than CDF (Comprehensive Development Framework), but even in the regional level, very few cities have succeeded in the participatory planning among multi-stakeholders. São Paulo and surrounding cities seemed to have advanced in this practice. But we have to note that it might be achieved only because they had already been blessed with knowledgeable human resources, sound fiscal base, and enough social capital in the communities.
In the last lecture, Prof. Laura Bueno concluded that the urban planning should look for solution in a multi-disciplinary manner, and this also confirms the view on multi-stakeholder participatory planning. Although I didn’t have a chance to comment on the education practice favela dwellers are exercising, I hope that the multi-disciplinary urban planning will also address the issue of education, both formal and nonformal.
- Japanese Immigrants
In addition to our official visit, I gave another personal visit to the Museu Historico da Imigracao Japonesa no Brasil, and deepened my knowledge on the achievement of the Japanese immigrants and their hardship in the early years. I did this just because I used to be looking after the JICA budget for immigrants support program and faced with the question of how many more years the Government of Japan should continue the development assistance to the Japanese immigrants now that they have already improved their status in the Brazilian society.
When we visited Indaiatuba, we heard that the Japanese Immigrants’ Association had requested JICA for the dispatch of a Japanese language volunteer. This might be good for upgrading the Japanese language. When we consider the vulnerability of the JICA language volunteer program, I suggest they consider the alternative measure that might be more efficiently helping them to touch on the up-to-date Japanese. Satellite TV programs and web-based language training kits might help a lot. Also, they may request the Japanese business community in São Paulo to dispatch language volunteers to their schools. There are many Japanese employees sent to São Paulo from Japan. I expect this arrangement may appeal to the corporate social responsibility of the Japanese companies and also personally help each employee to familiarize him/herself with the local societies. I believe this arrangement will be more sustainable than the JICA language volunteer program.
- Knowledge Sharing with Other Participants
Finally, although it might go off the point, I would like to highlight the value of the schooling program itself. For the graduate degree candidates, their coaches and collage administrators, who have basically depended on the web-based communication, it was a good opportunity to get to know each other and give comments and suggestions on each study area and interest.
(January 15, 2003)