UK-Brazil Conversa 2022:
Doing more, doing better
The Conversa covered a wide range of issues including the importance of the bilateral relationship in making progress on climate change and the race to Net Zero, the successful partnership on vaccine production and the potential for wider research and innovation partnership, as well as the centrality of Brazilian agricultural output to solving the global food security crisis.
The theme of sustainable development and climate change ran throughout the discussion, and was tackled in greater detail when participants discussed the importance of clean and transparent supply chains, greater environmental regulation and increased cooperation between countries of the Global South.
Other key takeaways included:
- The UK has performed poorly in trade with Brazil compared to its European neighbours; however Brazil operates with high tariffs which restrict their ability to trade internationally.
- The upcoming election in Brazil could change the scenario for trade, although congressional budget restrictions might impede any efforts at reform.
- Brazil holds a relatively strong position in terms of the sustainability of its energy matrix compared to the UK and the rest of the world. The need for the electrification of oil and mining fleets was emphasised, as well as the urgency of maximising energy efficiency when transporting energy sources.
- Robust enforcement is required to back up strong regulation on ESG investments, and the financial sector should be fully mobilised to make sustainable investments.
- Brazil’s success with programmes such as Bolsa Familia and Minha Casa Minha Vida contrasts against the limited progress on Levelling Up in the UK; it was agreed also that education was one of the key factors in fighting inequality in both countries.
- Both countries are experiencing a crisis of police legitimacy; and a lack of substantive data or policies in Brazil painted a bleak picture for that country’s security outlook.
- The intersectionality of inequality was highlighted, as well as the danger of prejudice and unconscious bias leading to violence. Brazil’s trans community face a particularly desperate situation, with need for changes not just in laws but in behavioural norms.
The richness of conversation and debate enjoyed at this year’s Conversa underlined the strength of the relationship between Brazil and the UK, and the extraordinary potential for greater collaboration and even better relations between the two countries.
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