The world is undergoing significant social transformations driven by the impact of globalization, global environmental change, and economic and financial crises, resulting in growing inequalities, extreme poverty, exclusion and the denial of fundamental human rights.
These transformations demonstrate the urge for innovative solutions conducive to universal values of peace, human dignity, gender equality, and non-violence and non-discrimination. Young women and men, who are the most affected by these changes, are hence the principal key-actors of social transformations.
Social transformations through social inclusion and social innovation are at the crossroad of all of UNESCO's Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST) Programme and its Intergovernmental Council (IGC) are unique drivers for advancing holistic capacity-building initiatives on social transformations and for building bridges between social scientific knowledge, public policies and society, and ensuring implementation.
The MOST Programme focuses on two thematic priorities:
- Social Inclusion as an essential feature of fighting poverty, narrowing inequalities, and advancing towards inclusive societies, as one of the key goals of sustainable development; and
- Social Transformations arising from Environmental Change in recognition of the necessity to address crises ranging from the reduction of natural resources, food, water and energy shortages, loss of biodiversity the pressure of accelerating urbanization and population growth, to climate change and natural disasters. Considering that sustainable development has inseparable social and environmental pillars, social and environmental challenges are closely interrelated.
Although Brazil has a large number of poor people it is not a poor country. However, it still has to overcome social injustice and inequality. The social injustices are are reflected in a medium rank in the Human Development Index (HDI), which means that difficulties are still to be overcome in education, health, income distribution and employment conditions.
Poverty reduction and fight against social inequalities are key priorities for the Social and Human Sciences Programme in Brazil. UNESCO puts in place an upstream and strategic approach rooted in social sciences information, knowledge and research in order to influence policy-making and strengthen capacity building.
Social inclusion initiatives, in close cooperation with the government, NGOs, and civil society receive close attention. UNESCO technical cooperation is present in all stages, from the planning to the implementation of projects and in innovative activities.
UNESCO in Brazil intends to focus its messages, practices, perspectives, and resource to provide tools to education, cultures, science, and communication and information in order to reduce poverty and raise human development rates of Brazilian population by:
- serving as a forum to exchange ideas on international social policies,
- exchanging, promoting, and disseminating successful experiences in the field of poverty reduction in Brazil.
Underground Sociabilities: identity, culture and resistance in Rio's favelas
UNESCO Office in Brasilia, in partnership with London School of Economics (LSE), Itaú Social and Cultural Foundations, AfroReggae and CUFA, has conducted a study on forms of sociability that remain invisible and underground, within conventional societies.
The main objective of the survey was to explore alternative means of integration and socialization that have been developed by communities that live in extreme poverty and social exclusion.
It also intended to study and disseminate the methodology of working with youths developed by groups such as AfroReggae and CUFA. Through artistic activities, these organizations work in communities under a risky situation in an environment of drugs, gangs, and guns. They aim to redefine sociabilities and identities. They take advantage of present artistic and cultural traditions in the communities and local knowledge, behaviors and social goods to work with their self-esteem and to restore their lost feelings of self-value, where killing and dying are trivial. Due to the richness and uniqueness of these experiences, it is essential to map them and to understand how they can serve as information to other contexts and situations of similar risky exposition.
This Project is part of a vast partnership network with the London School of Economics, universities, the studied communities, local police, Afro Reggae, CUFA, UNESCO, Itaú Cultural, and Social Foundations. Each phase of the project is discussed among all partners through a participative methodology. Various seminars and meetings have already taken place during these four years of partnership. The present phase of the project is to present the final results of the study, which ends in December 2012.
Two Seminars occurred for presentation, promotion, and dissemination of the study: one in Rio de Janeiro, on 13 September 2012, and another at London School of Economics, on 2 November 2012.