Panel Discusses Growth and Challenges in Brazilian Infrastructure

brazilianCristiano Franco Berbert introducing the agenda of aligning environment and economic development of Brazil | Salma Ibrahim, PantherNOW

Salma Ibrahim | Contributing Writer 

On Nov. 28, a panel conversation was held at Graham Center addressing the challenges of sustainable development and exploring the green potentials of Brazil. 

Spearheaded by the Brazil Institute, this event was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute, FIU’s Program of Excellence in Brazilian Studies, and the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center. The focal point of the event in Miami was a comprehensive discussion on Brazil’s green potential and the intricate challenges associated with sustainable development. 

The Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center Anthony Pereira, moderated and inaugurated the speech by praising Brazil’s historical dedication to environmental protection, citing initiatives like environmental agencies, international summit participation, and hosting COP30 in 2025.

Despite media criticism, Brazil’s 65th rank in the Global Sustainability Rankings is noted, emphasizing the need for improvement, despite a clean electricity grid. 

The Deputy Consul-General of Brazil in Miami Cristiano Franco Berbert commenced the introduction by setting the stage for the conversation on Brazil’s environmental strategies and their intersection with economic development objectives and explained Brazil has stringent environmental laws, with 30% of its territory legally protected areas, requiring Amazon landowners to preserve 80% of their land. 

Cristiano Franco Berbert discusses the approval of sustainable development goals in 2015, emphasizing Brazil’s commitment to eradicating poverty, achieving zero hunger, and updating its nationally determined contribution to combat climate change. 

“Brazil is now committed to reducing emissions by 48% in 2025 and 53% in 2030. Those targets, they are in relation to our 2005 emissions. Brazil reiterated its commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050,” said Berbert. 

Bruna Santos, Director of Brazil Institute, By manifesting their feelings regarding the partnership and also expressing honorable impressions to represent the Brazilian government, expressed her excitement about innovation and collaboration on this stage with admired colleagues. 

“Brazil is the country of the future. Future is already here, but it’s not evenly distributed,” said Santos. 

The speaker draws parallels between Brazil and the US in innovation, sustainability, and 21st-century challenges, envisioning both nations adopting more resilient and efficient democratic forms for sustainable progress. 

Despite cautious optimism, the speaker highlights Brazil’s historical fluctuations, metaphorically termed the “flight of the chicken”, underscoring the need for prudence. Overall, she expresses belief in the potential for a sustainable and prosperous future for both countries while recognizing the importance of lessons from the past. 

In Brazil, according to the World Bank, recent achievements include a sanitation framework and fiscal reforms, but challenges persist, particularly in infrastructure and inequality. The focus on revenue in tax reform overlooks the crucial aspect of government spending.

Despite strides in green initiatives, there’s a pressing need to address issues such as limited access to sanitation in regions like Pará, hindering the potential of the green economy. The widespread lack of basic amenities, like sewage treatment and computer access, highlights the digital divide and underscores the importance of addressing disparities for a more evenly distributed future. 

“Brazil is leading the G20 this year and is going to focus on much of what we’re talking about today is going to be a core focus of Brazil,” Ricardo Zuniga, Founding Partner of Dinámica Americas, said while talking about the agricultural contribution and research.

“The United States was an early collaborator, an early partner of Embrapa, and that has to, that for the United States is a sign of the importance of that partnership,” he said while mentioning the longstanding partnership with the United States. 

While answering the question regarding business funds and research on GDP, Ronaldo Parente mentioned his findings. 

“Five companies, including one Brazilian, one Australian, and one Chinese, have committed to a $30 billion investment in the hydrogen hub.” 

He also emphasized that despite a three-year approval process and environmental concerns, the private sector is resolute.

“They don’t wait. If you wait, take 10 years. The hours behind,” he said. Amid Brazil’s complex business landscape, marred by fiscal and legal uncertainties, “doing business in Brazil is complicated, and paying taxes is almost crazy.”

As Brazil’s role in global sustainability gains prominence, the “Brazil Builds Panel: Miami Edition” served as a platform for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and a collective exploration of pathways toward a greener future 

Exploring Brazil’s green solutions fosters collaborative optimism for sustainable development, the representative of the Brazilian Student Association concluded with intentions of sustainability in the country. “Embraer wants to bring net carbon-zero planes for air freight and commercial flights by 2030, which is a great accomplishment, considering that Brazil is one of the biggest exporters of commodities and food in the world.”

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