Instituto Terroá: Engaging in Global Dialogue for Sustainable Cities and Territories

Instituto Terroá: Engaging in Global Dialogue for Sustainable Cities and Territories

How can climate change affect traditional communities in the Amazon? What is the role of education as a mechanism to combat social inequalities? How can artificial intelligence help ensure food security? How can we foster civic engagement for smarter and more inclusive cities? These and other questions were at the heart of the discussions at this year’s Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, held on May 2-4 in Bonn, Germany. For the second year in a row, Instituto Terroá attended the event, this time represented by its Executive Director, Luis Fernando Iozzi, and International Relations Manager Fernando Mattos.

The event is organized on an annual basis by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, the United Nations’ (UN) special initiative to raise awareness of and to promote the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) around the world. Bringing together representatives of civil society organizations, governments, international organizations, private firms and the academic community, the festival has become the main global platform for global dialogue and exchange on SDG implementation. Its interactive format, structured around thematic workshops and plenary sessions, motivates participants to actively join discussions and offers numerous opportunities for networking and exchange. According to the organizers, more than 1,700 participants from more than 130 countries attended the 2019 edition of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development.

For Instituto Terroá, participating in initiatives like this is key to improve the work we do at the local level. In fact, to be in tune with global debates on sustainable development is part of an institutional strategy of constant reflection and critical reassessment of our approaches, activities, and aspirations. Moreover, by sharing the lessons we learn with our experiences in the field, the technologies we develop, and the impact of our projects, we might help catalyze action in other parts of the world while further improving our engagement with SDG implementation in Brazil.

Luís Fernando Iozzi illustrates how this can happen: "For instance, our projects to strengthen value chains in different territories in the Amazon can influence local development initiatives in Vietnam. Games and other technologies developed in Japan can inspire educational projects for sustainable development in Brazil. Experiences of public transparency and social control successfully implemented in Nigeria and in other African countries can be adapted to the Latin American context. Connections like these are part of our 'root-antenna' strategy, that is, our effort to insert ourselves into global debates so that the actions we carry out at the local level reach broader audiences and thus have more impact."

Apart from attending the event, during their stay in Bonn our collaborators had the opportunity to discuss the territorial development assessment tools developed by Terroá at the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the UN University (UNU-EHS). According to Fernando Mattos, "it was an extremely positive experience to attend the event once again and to share the initiatives developed by Terroá in Brazil in spaces such as the UN University."

Marina Ponti, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign, underscored the catalytic role of the Global Action Festival for Sustainable Development at the event’s closing plenary session: "Let’s nurture the energy we felt here -- knowing that the real work starts when we go back home. Disruptive change does not happen in meetings -- not even at our Festival -- but we can use these meetings to be inspired, to raise the ambitions and to connect with others knowing that we are not alone in this quest."

Article by Instituto Terroá
Photo Credits: Instituto Terroá