30 Oct 2017
Our First Regional Office is Open!
We are excited to announce that our first regional office has been officially launched. United Nations Day – Tuesday 24 October 2017 – marked the official opening of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme Regional Office at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in Brazil.
The inauguration was marked by a stellar list of presenters and attendees and ushers in a new era of local integration and specialist academic expertise being made available to our cities, municipalities and states on a country and regional level.
The spacious 3 room office (160 m2) will be a hub for interdisciplinary innovation and research collaboration and the centre of service delivery for our ever growing number of Brazilian municipalities and states.
And the action has already begun!
Brazilian leaders put their weight behind the office
University of São Paulo Rector, Professor Dr. Marco Antonio Zago was instrumental in the establishment the Regional Office and recently visited the New York headquarters of the United Nations Global Compact for the partnership signing.
Professor Zago is an internationally esteemed bio medical scientist and research leader. Previous roles have included USP provost of Research (2010 to 2013), and President of Brazil’s National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) (from 2007 to 2010).
Professor Zago sees a real and important role for academics from USP and other leading Latin American partner universities in collaborating with municipalities and developing solutions to the critical issues facing cities.
The Rector spoke at the launch of Brazilian cities’ need for this platform.
“Today, around 85% of the Brazilian population is urban, and in big cities, problems are multiplying. We enthusiastically support this initiative, which consolidates our vision of breaking down walls and building bridges in society.”
Professor Zago also emphasised the Regional Office’s role as a platform “to reinforce USP’s mission to be a hub for the convergence of different networks and activities, including… international academic relations.”
These views were reinforced by other distinguished Brazilian leaders who presented at the inauguration – Professor Jose Goldemberg – President of São Paulo’s research foundation, FAPESP – and Sidney Estanislau Beraldo, President of the Tribunal de Contas do Estado de São Paulo (TCESP).
Counsellor Beraldo leads TCESP’s critical role in municipal transparency across the state of São Paulo and eloquently presented his views on the new office and its relationship to the global Sustainable Development Agenda.
“With initiatives like this, with the integrated participation of diverse sectors of society we will overcome.. It is a great challenge, a beautiful challenge …in a moment of so much bad news, our motivation is even greater. Let us take care of this agenda to improve the world.”
Ana Paula Fava represented the Governor of São Paulo at the opening (pictured below, far left). Special advisor for International Affairs of the Government of São Paulo, Ana is the State’s Global Compact contact point and São Paulo lead for the Angra Doce project. She spoke of the state government’s support for multi-sector partnerships to address sustainability challenges.
Carlo Pereira, Executive Secretary of the Global Compact Local Network Brazil represented President, Denise Hills at the launch proceedings. He welcomed the São Paulo based office, the opportunity to collaborate further with USP and the Cities Programme and the new SDG projects that will come from these partnerships.
Brazil and the Cities Programme
Cities Programme Deputy Director, Elizabeth Ryan opened the office in São Paulo and spoke of the very special place that Brazil holds in the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme.
“Brazil is a leading and long standing site of collaboration and innovation. Alongside San Francisco, Porto Alegre was one of the first cities to trial our Melbourne Model – and its innovation (with the multi-sector task forces to overcome urban poverty) is still going strong”.
“So much has been achieved since then and with USP we can bring marvellous expertise to municipalities in Brazil and across Latin America”.
She also spoke of the ‘City Partnerships‘ initiative, which is being led by Michael Nolan, and the plan to rollout the offer to Brazilian municipalities in 2018. Brazil will be the first country to implement ‘City Partnerships’ after the current Australian pilot. This will be through the office at USP with the other centres and partners.
The Regional Office is being co-led by two Regional Directors – USP Head of Environmental Affairs, Professor Patricia Iglecias (pictured left) – and Rosane de Souza (right), who represents the international secretariat and has held the Cities Programme Brazil Country Contact Point role for the past four years. Elizabeth Ryan will support this leadership team from the international secretariat office in Melbourne, Australia.
At the inauguration ceremony, Rosane de Souza spoke of the Centres that will be established in core regions of Brazil – connected to the USP Regional Office in a hub and spoke model. The first Centre will be in Curitiba and will open next week.
And the work begins
Professor Iglecias is a widely respected environmental lawyer and academic who brings many years of experience and extensive networks to her Regional Director role. As well as her executive, lecturing and research supervision roles at USP, Patricia has an environmental law practice and recently held the position of Secretary for the Environment at São Paulo state government (2015). We warmly welcome Patricia to our team.
Patricia will represent the Cities Programme at COP 22 next week in Bonn, Germany. Follow this link to see her presentation at Climate Week in New York in 2015.
Patricia has already gathered a team of committed academic leaders to support the Regional Office’s development and to reach out to other academic experts and integrate research into the offer to municipalities and partnership projects. These leaders are pictured below at their first meeting on 25 October 2017 (from clockwise): Professor Antonio Saraiva; Elizabeth Ryan; Rosane de Souza; Professor Jorge Tenorio; Professor Patricia Iglecias; Professor Antonio (Tim) Marques; and Professor Paulo Almeida. Missing from the photo is Professor Fernanda Brando.
This central USP team bring expertise in biodiversity and digital communication (Prof. Saraiva), marine biology and ocean biogeographic information (Prof. Marques) and environmental law, human rights and sustainable cities (Prof. Almeida) and biology and science education (Prof. Brando). Internationally recognised experts in solid waste management – Professor Jorge Tenorio – and landscape ecology and conservation – Professor Jean Paul Metzger – are also part of the core management team.
On the first day, a cross-institutional meeting was also held between UNESP and USP academics to discuss the expertise required – and available to – the Angra Doce project. A fascinating and insightful gathering, the expertise around the table included discovery and management of the many important archeological sites in the region, representation and interpretation of state history and watershed management. The participating academics were Professor Patricia Iglecias (USP), Professor Edson Luis Piroli (UNESP), Professor Astolfo Gome de Mello Araujo (USP), Professor Fabiana Lopes de Cunha (UNESP) and Professor Fernanda Brando (USP).
To date, facilitation of the Angra Doce project has been led by Rosane de Souza. Keli Guimarães from CEDES will take on that role with Rosane’s move to the office at USP.
We look forward to providing further updates as events and projects unfold through the Regional Office. We welcome all of our new colleagues in Brazil!
For more information about the Regional Office in São Paulo contact: