Public Policies in an Uncertain World

by Fernanda Nogueira and Camila Jordan, Editors and Writers at Brazil Talk 

New York, 21st  of July 2017, School of International and Public Affairs 

Brazil Talk was present on the Public Policies in an Uncertain World – Actions for Tomorrow seminar at SIPA this Friday. The panels consisted of presentations of the final papers made by graduate students of the GEMPA (Global Executive Masters of Public Administration) program, as well as a keynote talk by Mark Anthony Thomas, Senior Vice President of Partnerships for the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

The event contained three panels focused on innovations in public management, fostering economic development and advances in financial policy, all united by a single theme – how to build a better tomorrow. Willian Silva organizer and GEMPA graduate began with an introduction to the current state of sanitation in Brazil, and perspectives on how to improve the chaotic situation in Brazil. Willian furthered mentioned the contrast found between states in the southern region of Brazil versus the north of the country, historically poorer and with less access to resources.

According to Instituto Trata Brasil, leading organization on sanitation data in Brazil, only 50,3% of Brazilians have access to the sewage system and of the amount collected only 42% of the sewage is treated. In the north, only 16% of the sewage is treated versus the 47% in the southeast region. He stressed the importance and urgency of this matter in Brazil since it has proven impact on social and economic well being, affecting more negatively already vulnerable populations.

This shows that Brazil still has a long way to go, structural and fundamental issues such as sanitation are yet to be made priority by our governments.

The plurality of subjects presented in the seminar and the very existence of this program shows the importance of providing quality education to people who are already in the public sector, and are no longer at the beginning of their careers. It made us think about a possible parallel with the quota system in universities. Providing quality education from early on is of utmost urgency, but what about the generation that is already in the workforce? What about those who are currently working to improve our country’s public sector? Those people need attention and inclusion, too. Programs like the GEMPA are an opportunity for them to increase their knowledge and expertise, as well as expand horizons and connect with different people around the globe. It also provides a space to be inspired by leading minds on the sector and to aspire to greater things in their environments.

After all, we cannot count only on the “new generation” to take action – it is the people who are currently inserted in the system that has the power to change it from within, and open way for new actors to have the opportunity to cause an impact, too.