Draft Report of the Subregional Meeting in Brasil
Iberoamerican and Caribbean Forum for Best Practices
November 17 to 19, 1997
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Marlene FernandesForum Coordinator.
The meeting was realized, according the Terms of Reference approved
by the Secretariat, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, from 17 to 19
of November, 1997 in association with the Local Government.
The number of participants was of 31 from national and local
government, 22 NGOs, 05 Universities and 09 other institutions from
The closing ceremony was presided by Mr. Miguel-Angel Carrillo,
from Promotion Ministry of Spain, Mr. Roberto Ottolenghi, from
Regional Office from HABITAT for Latin America and Mrs. Tereza
Baratta, from National School of Urban Services from IBAM.
All participantes received a form to be filled with their
Institutional Profile, in order to generate an institutional
directory for the Forum.
All institutions accepted the commitment to registre their best
practices on the BLP Data Bank, before April of 1998.
Session 1. Introduction
- Do not lose efforts, because different people in many places
realize the same work without get in touch.
- Some good practices lose their chances to be duplicated because
they do not have a wright politic of spread.
- Some critics were done about the superficiality of inscriptions
of the experiences of good practices on the Data Bank.
- The Programme budget is short in order to realize sound
studies of any case inscripted in the Data Bank.
- The Programme of Best Practices must have a continuous work,
along the year, not only during the Conference'periods.
- The dissemination metodology should be self - financed.
- Try to find a mechanism that allow all partners to connect
- According the financial possibilities, the Forum should
organized a library of case's studies.
Session 2. Demonstration of the Data Bank of the
- Acelerate the dissemination of the experiences.
As a matter of fact, in Brasil most of the Municipalities are not
yet conected with the INTERNET, so it could be done a partnership
between the State and the Municipal governments, in order to
- Integrate all Data Banks of good practices (Habitat and
- The dissemination strategy of Data Bank should include printed
material, because in Brasil the demand of this kind is big enough.
- We conclude that divulgation must use all ways available, as
printed paper and electronic.
Session 3. Documentation of Best Practices: metodological
and conceptual problems
- There are several difficulties in order to evaluate an
experience, because many Municipalities have not the capability to
express themselves in a correct way that sensibilize the jury and
the technical committee.
- The low quality of the informations and the lack of
documentation, specially of stadistic data.
- High cost to elaborate studies to check the veracity of
- Should be stablished evaluation principles. It is easier to
compare similar categories. It is difficult to explain why an
experience in health area is more important that another one of
job generation and rent.
- All informations should be verified through different sources
and visiting the projects.
- The inscripcion of the experience should be a continuous
feeding process of the Data Bank, through the electronic sistem
that allow a better access and facility of actualization.
- The language used and the form of presentation, should reach a
It means that the information should be appropiate to whom is going
to receive it, including the sistem, electronic or printed.
- All informations should be simple and clear in order to awake
the interest of the lector and making him associate text with
- It is counter productive to give too much information.
- It is necessary to think about the utility, confiability and
interpretation of the information, in order to get concrete
- To produce a good material to be disseminatedon the media is
absolutly necessary that this material is written by a professional
of the area.
- Important to consider, how the good practices help on the
elaboration of national or regional new politics.
Session 4. Transfers: methodological, operational and
- It is necessary to determinate first of all, which experiences
are really factible to be transfered, because it is not an easy
- It is very important the media colaboration in order to realize
the transference, because they know how to impact public opinion.
- Normally the financial aspect is considered as the biggest
problem, nevertheless capacity-building is the biggest difficulty
in order to realize the transference.
- There are not enough people to do this job.
- The political culture of Brazilians is the protectionism, they
do not have yet a comunitary practice.
- It is necessary to think how to realize the transferences,
their problems and out-reachness.
- It is necessary to consider the social aspects of the
practices, thinking that this one is able to have an economic
- Identify which actors in the society are able to transform the
experience in a concret answer to a specific development problem
and not only marketing.
- Important to show the limits and the constraints of the
experience in order to be transfered. Try not to loose efforts,
knowing better all details, and promoting public debates.
- To include as a fourth criterium for a good practice, the
potential that it has to be transfered.
- All Forums and networks active on this area, should keep a
policy of "door open" to invite discussion and dialogue.
- Try to be more convincent with the media in order to
disseminate the good practices.
Session 5. Case study 1: solid waste management
- Brazilian Administrations do not keep any register of their
experiences, so it is dificult to retrieve information.
- The Forum must give the financial resources in order to create
a library of case studies.
- An important matter is how to disseminate the printed material,
trying to show on it all the details necessaries to analise
cost-benefit of a transfer. All these because many times some
Municipalities, without a deep study, buy inadequated tecnologies.
- Data Banks must be unified in order not to lose efforts and
resources. An Universal Data Bank should be created, respecting
- Take care to adapt the experience to another context.
- Study a model of a case study for the Brazilian cities,
according to the capacity of governmentals teams.
Session 6. Case study 2: squatter up-grading
- The study should have elements to evaluate how the experience
is acting on the social policies' grounds.
- The study has to present also all the problems and obstacles
that were not possible to superate.
Session 7. Documentation
How to capture the Good Practices?
- Through a wide convocation by mailing to the institutions that
wish to participate on the Programme and the Forum: local
governments, NGOs, comunity organizations, academic and private
sector. The Getulio Vargas Foundation and the Universidad Libre del
Medio Ambiente, adopted a policy of "open doors" accepting the
inscription of all the practices that they receive, which of
course, were qualified as a good practice by their own promotors.
- Through the media is always more easy to get support to the
- Visiting in loco all the good experiences known, through the
permenent activities of tecnical assistance and capacity-building,
or through the press.
- Through the electronic mail.
- Taking advantage of the opportunities presented on the seminars
and different events national or regional that deals with human
- Using the chanels of comunication available on the Unites
How to documentate a Good Practice?
- Using the Institutional questionaire filled by the promotors
and asking them to send all available documentation.
- The form could be sended by e-mail or even by fax, because not
all the partners are conected to INTERNET.
- All programms adopt the documentation process in two stations:
the first is the inscription of the practice, and a second of
documentation with all details required on by the norms of the
How to guarantee confidence of the informations given by the
- The BLP required that at least two people who are directly
working on the practice, signed the form and nominate an
- The Getulio Vargas Foundation and the Universidad Libre del
Medio Ambiente, realize a verification in loco of the best
practices, trying to make a double checking with different
- Important to point out that all informations are dated, it
means that is normal to happen that a practice change because of
the administrative discontinuity of the local governments.
How to get a wide disemination of informations and an easy access
to the Data Banks of good practices, specifically for the
institutions of the civil society?
- Look for associations between the Data Banks that exist on the
country. That is why all the participants to the Meeting accepted
to facilitate the access through links between their homepages
- It is recognised the necessity to unify on the future, all Data
Banks, according to the Forum.
- Take advantage of the media, as news, bulletins, e-mails and
printed press with wide circulation. The problem is to get the
necessary resources in order to pay the edition, publication and
mailing in order to guarantee the continuity of bulletins.
- Although videos, CD-ROM and photos are precious elements for
the documentation of one practice, they are difficult and expensive
to be multiplied.
- It is recommended to look for media professional services to
the preparation of the texts for best practices' dissemination,
once they are the ones who know how to write messages to reach the
- Although the case studies are the best descriptive tool of a
good practice, they should be short enough to facilitate their
dissemination whithout leaving outside any relevant information on
the constraints and obstacles faced and the lessons learned through
the implementation of the experience.
Session 8. Transfers
In spite of the interest and initiative of local governments and
NGOs to look for better knowledge about good practices wherever
they are, many times with considerable dificulties of resources and
contacts, without an organized and structured process of horizontal
cooperation support, transfers usually are faced with financial and
technical constraints which limit the concrete results of this
modality of technical assistance, proposed by the BLP and the
- To improve the system of communications among the participants
and the use of cities and NGOs networks already in place.
- To keep an editorial programme of support to BLP and the Forum.
- To create a programme to estimulate technical and communities
exchanges, field visits, fellowships and trainees for each best
- To offer support to mutual cooperation agreements among cities
and institutions willing to share their practices.
- To use the opportunities offered by courses, seminars and
workshops in each city participating in the Forum, to promote site
visits and meetings among those teams directly interested in
sharing experiences and practices.
- To estimulate the feedback among those cities and institutions
which have replicate a good practice, once the practices usually,
in a new context, benefit from lessons learned through experience
and observation. It could be a kind of virtuous cycle, with one
experience feeding the other and thus generating further
development. An example of this rolling process of a practice is
the participative budget adopted with some differences by Porto
Alegre, Brasilia, Barra Mansa and Rio de Janeiro. In each context
the best practice was improved by the lessons learned and the
addition of new elements.
- To involve the research academic and university centers in the
process of study and discussion of those practices which atracts
most the interests of government and society.
- To provide capacity-building to prepare the institutions to
make a more efficiente and effective use of the transfers.
- To support the horizontal cooperation through exchange
programmes for professionals, lecturers and students, thus
facilitating the transfers.
- To identify the needs and the priorities of local governments
in order to better focus the support for transfers.
Session 9. Communication strategies
The debate counted with the support of a panel of 5 journalists
particularly involved with the urban issue and with a large
experience in the mass media communications.
How to get space in the media to disseminate the Best Practices?
How to counteract the trend of media to give enfasis to the social,
economic, administrative and political bad practices? How to pass
on to the public a positive vision of the human settlements?
- To define a communications policy: who are the audience to
reach out? Which are the available data? Who are the leading
persons more interesting to use as testimonies of the changes
introduced by the good practice, to be interviewed? Which is the
positive message that we want to pass ?
- To select the informations in order to atract the atention of
the journalists to concrete facts which are true news to offer to
the public and not just technical informations.
- The prepare a short notice or lead, if possible written by a
journalist, which translate the message and the more important data
about the good practice.
- To make available cuantitative data which give enough
demonstration of the qualities and outputs of the good practice and
give justification to its dissemination to the general public.
- To create and sustain a network of contacts with journalists,
giving to them always precise and important information, in order
to be seen by them as an important source of information on human
- The message must always be referred to a people's daily life
problem, be close to their concrete reality.
- To use the most adecuate channels for each case and use also
the alternative media.
- To give continuity and multiplicate the prizes for the best
practices since this always atracts the mass media attention. It is
very important also to create a special prize for those journalists
who write about best practices.
- To use the strategy of offer to the journalists positive
informations and data to counteract the dissemination of the "bad
news" in cities or communities which were able to overcome similar
problems through best practices.
- To be prepared to see that the negative aspects of the practice
will also be appointed by the media, which role is to correctly
inform its audience and not to be involved in marketing the
Session 10. Financial strategies
Although the theme was included in the meeting agenda, time was not
sufficient to deal with such important issue, since the debate on
the communications strategy has responded more to the participants'
However the financial issue is one of the most pressing matters
which affects all the institutions participating in the Forum,
limiting their capacity of giving continuity to their initiatives
of implement, study, evaluate and disseminate best practices to
promote human settlements sustainable development.
The participants of the Brazilian Subregional Meeting of the
Iberoamerican and Caribbean Forum of Best Practices made clear
their interest in the continuity of the Forum activities in 1998,
assuming commitements of keeping permanently in touch and to build
partnerships among them.
Moreover, the participants from local governments and NGOs have
indicated that they will prepare the submissions of their best
practices in the BLP Data Bank in order to increase and improve the
number and the quality of the experiences from Brazil in response
to the purposes of the Forum.
All the presentations and the debates were conducted under the
commom understanding of all participants that the best practices
are an important tool, in the Brazilian institutional and political
context, to build up from the local basis -local government and
civil society- the necessary human settlements' public policies
which will contribute -with efficiency, accountability,
transparency and democracy- to the achievement of the Habitat
Agenda and the Agenda 21 development objectives.
IBAM, as the subregional node, consider that the objectives of the
meeting were fully complied, following the Forum's purposes.
IBAM assumed the commitement to keep all participants informed on
the results of the Regional Meeting of the Forum to be realized in
November 24 to 26 in Cali, Colombia.