Brazil has made significant strides in reducing poverty and inequality over the last decade, with social transfers (primarily through the Bolsa Família Program and social pensions to the elderly) and rapid growth in labor income at the lower end of the distribution being the main contributing factors.
A decade of implementation of Bolsa Família Program, and the more recent experience to strengthen the synergies and implementation of a broad set of poverty reduction programs under the Brasil Sem Miséria Plan have generated a wealth of knowledge. Some of this experience and knowledge has been captured, including through evaluations and studies supported by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA), the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS), the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank.
Brazil has also received a steadily increasing flow of delegations from other countries interested in learning from the experience of (or acquired with) Bolsa Família. Nonetheless, there is significant scope for accelerating and expanding learning from Brazil’s social policy experience, including not only lessons about what has worked, but also how innovative reforms and solutions have been implemented.
Moreover, as Brazil tackles second-generation questions about how to continue improving the performance of social assistance programs and expand opportunities for the poor, experiences from both local government innovation and programs in other countries can be an important guide.
With a view to support systematic learning and innovation regarding implementation challenges in such programs, the Government of Brazil, IPC-IG and the World Bank have agreed to establish a joint initiative focused on learning from the implementation of and innovations in poverty reduction programs in Brazil and sharing lessons from Brazil’s experience with the rest of the world. Thus was born the Brazil Learning Initiative for a World without Poverty (WWP).
A Memorandum of Understanding between the partners was signed during the visit of the World Bank president to Brazil on March 5, 2013. Other important stakeholders include states and large municipalities, other ministries involved in the productive inclusion agenda (Education, Labor, Agriculture, etc.). Moreover, other research organizations and think tanks are also expected to participate in the initiative based on their interest and potential contribution. The primary audiences of the initiative are practitioners and policy makers in the area of social policy, with researchers and the general public being secondary audiences.
Specifically, as per the MOU that establishes the WWP, the shared objectives of the Initiative are the following:
(i) Increase the impact of successful public policy approaches implemented in Brazil;
(ii) Support the discussion on innovative approaches to tackle core issues related to poverty reduction through a network of practitioners;
(iii) Apply a rigorous approach to the development, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and dissemination of innovative policies;
(iv) Facilitate the scaling up and delivery of innovative policies and the dissemination of their results nationwide;
(v) Facilitate knowledge-sharing and learning between Brazil and other countries, including through international technical cooperation initiatives; and
(vi) Make use of and leverage existing resources and facilities to mutual advantage and benefit.
For a quick glance, see our video.