The Minister of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco, defended this Monday (18) that a goal be established to seek racial equality within the scope of actions linked to sustainable development in Brazil. The head of the department spoke about the topic during an international meeting held in New York and organized by the Brazilian organization Geledés – Instituto da Mulher Negra, which sits on the United Nations Economic and Social Council and tries to strengthen the debate on the subject. The meeting took place in parallel with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2023 Summit, opened on this date.
The UN sets 17 goals that today need to be within the country’s scope of action, such as poverty eradication, quality education, gender equality, clean and accessible energy, drinking water and sanitation. Actions related to these themes are considered fundamental for Brazil to achieve the 2030 Agenda, a global plan led by the organization that serves as a guide for the international community in the search for more sustainable societies. The minister argues that an 18th objective should now be established for the country, combining the agenda of racial policies with environmental concerns.
“This commitment that we have to racial and ethnic justice and the promotion of equality should not remain just superficial, as in the history of the world. We know that one of the main criticisms of activists and researchers on the subject is the absence among the SDGs of any mention of the declaration and a program of action that represents a more comprehensive plan of action by the United Nations organization to combat racism and related intolerance”, stated the minister.
Sociologist Letícia Leobet, who represented Geledés at the meeting, states that the idea put forward by Anielle Franco is a historical demand from the organizations that make up the black movement. “We understand that the (existing) SDGs do not incorporate or take into account the specificities of the black population with regard to sustainable development. At the international level, this demand is initially not viable, which is why we are outlining other paths to strengthen the presence of people of African descent on the sustainable development agenda.”
It was based on this that during the meeting, Geledés suggested that a “major group” be created, an instance of civil participation within the UN, which would be specifically focused on the overlap between racial equality and sustainability. Letícia Leobet states that the initiative would be useful to strengthen the fight against Afro-descendant invisibility in the 2030 agenda.
“There are currently 21 ‘major groups’. Some of them were created in the discussions at ECO 1992 and others were built later based on pressure and demands from civil society. And we have noticed in this agenda a great invisibility of the Afro-descendant community. We has participated in events and seen mentions and propositional actions for women, indigenous people, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+, but the Afro-descendant issue is invisible, and we are talking about approximately 250 million people in the world”, argues the sociologist.
In the process of monitoring the agenda, the main groups engage directly together with other actors in the annual review of the 2030 Agenda, which then results in the annual High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development, a space that centralizes the debates. In general, groups can attend official forum meetings, access documents and information, make contributions, make recommendations, among other things. “That’s why the ‘major groups’ are one of the main ‘stakeholders’ in the construction of this agenda. They are fundamental in proposing projects, in political advocacy, in monitoring the agenda”, explains the sociologist.
With this action, these groups end up influencing the country in the choice and formulation of public policies. “That’s why the result of this meeting was extremely important because we were able to make visible the work that Geledés has carried out within this international sustainable development agenda and through dialogue with the Brazilian government through the participation of the Ministry of Racial Equality. This aspect of the government looking at these actions and, to a certain extent, committing to this is a central point.”
After the NGO suggested the creation of a “major group”, the entity states that institutional dialogues must now be strengthened in order to take the proposal forward. The institution of the collective needs to be evaluated further by the United Nations.
Editing: Thalita Pires