Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, on addressing UN’s 66th Assembly General, in New York, said that the global crisis is simultaneously economic, of governance and of political coordination. Rousseff pointed out that, if the situation is not contained, it may become one of unprecedented rupture.
The first woman to address the opening of the UN Assembly General, Rousseff defended the need for integration of nations to overcome the crisis and return to growth.
“There will be no return of confidence and growth while efforts are not intensified for coordination between the countries that are members of the UN and other multilateral institutions like the G20, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.”
To her, “the UN and its organizations must urgently issue clear signs of political cohesion and of macroeconomic coordination.”
President Rousseff said that Brazil is prepared to help developing nations and that it is necessary to fight against global unemployment.
On Tuesday, Rousseff had also talked about the world crisis during bilateral meetings with US President Barack Obama and later with her peer Mexico’s Felipe Calderon.
According to Brazilian Foreign Affairs minister Antonio Patriota, the discussions between Ms Rousseff and Obama were “extremely friendly” and among other issues gave special relevance to concerns about the world economy crisis, particularly the situation in Europe.
“In the meeting both leaders agreed to keep discussing about the crisis ahead of the G20 meeting (of the world’s 20 leading economies) next November in France”, said Patriota.
The two leaders also agreed that the scheduled meeting this week in Washington between Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Brazilian Finance minister Guido Mantega will be of great significance since the two countries are working together with basically the same emphasis in the solutions to the crisis.
Geithner and Mantega will be meeting on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank assemblies that will take place this week in the US capital.
Patriota said that President Rousseff also mentioned the need to reduce the imbalance in bilateral trade with the US since most Brazilian exports are commodities and those from the US industrialized goods with a greater input of added value. The Brazilian president also praised Obama’s job creation initiative announced earlier.
President Rousseff accepted Obama’s invitation to visit the US at the beginning of 2012, a task for both countries’ diplomacies to agree on dates and agenda.
In the meeting with Mexico’s Calderon, Dilma said that Latin America needs to defend itself so that the advances achieved by the region in these last years are not corroded by the crises.
Calderon on his side talked of Mexico’s interest in increasing bilateral trade with Brazil in a major effort to diversify its foreign trade and the origin of the country’s main imports now basically concentrated in United States.
The meetings took place the same day the three presidents participated in the launching of the Open Government Partnership forum which is co-chaired by Brazil and the US.
On the official launching of the initiative, with UN support, the Brazilian president said that the use of digital networks is essential for the improvement of government services. “These networks are an important instrument for our upper most objective of strengthening democracy”, underlined Dilma.
President Obama called on emerging and established democracies to make their governments more transparent by getting citizens involved and using new technologies to make information available.
Obama added that the US was putting its commitment into practice by pursuing new protections for whistle blowers, creating a new way for citizens to petition the White House online, and joining a global initiative in which oil, gas and mining companies disclose more information about how much they’re paying to extract natural resources.
The Open Government Partnership happens at a moment when “emerging democracies in Latin America and in Asia are showing how innovation and transparency can make countries more prosperous and fair; in which a new generation in the Middle East and Northern Africa reinforces a long established truth: governments exist to the benefit to their peoples”
Dozens of other nations and civil society organizations are also involved, with the goal of finding new ways to engage citizens and allow them to hold governments responsible. The second meeting of the Open Government Transparency is scheduled to take place in Brazil next year.
Rousseff and Obama agreed that further discussion of the crisis was going to be necessary before the scheduled G-20 meeting in November in France.
“There was an expression of concern by both parties [Dilma and Obama] with regard to the situation in some European countries. They suggested a need for deeper discussions on the challenges presented by the problems in Greece, as well as in Spain and Italy, before the November meeting of the G-20,” explained Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Antonio Patriota.
During the meeting, Obama spoke of his visit to Brazil, in March, saying he considered it very positive.
Dilma and Obama also discussed the Arab Spring, especially the situation in Libya. According to Patriota, Obama mentioned the effort to get member nations of the United Nations to assist in rebuilding that country.
“President Dilma expressed her desire to see any international reconstruction project in Libya take place within the framework of the United Nations,” said minister Patriota.
President Dilma also attended a conference on non-transmissible diseases Tuesday.
Meanwhile, as part of a busy time in the United States, Brazil’s minister of Finance, Guido Mantega, will meet with the US Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Geithner later this week. They are expected to discuss ways to work together in their efforts to deal with the international financial crisis.
Dilma also received an award at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in the category “Public Service,” which is given to people who contribute to making the world a better place.
Speaking at the Open Government conference Dilma Rousseff cited the importance of the Internet and social networking in promoting more transparent government.
“The Internet and social networks have played important roles in civic mobilization within recent democratic movements. We have seen the power of these tools to awaken democratic feelings in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East where the Arab Spring is taking place,” declared Dilma.
With regard to Brazil, Dilma explained that the country has established a National Broadband Program that will resolve the principal obstacle to faster Internet services for a greater part of the population, its high cost.
She also cited the government’s efforts to universalize access to official information through the Transparency Portal, that publishes details on public spending and reports by the watchdog agency, the CGU, that combats corruption.
Dilma pointed out that the objective of the Transparency Portal was not only to permit individual citizens access to official data, but to ensure that such data is made public by government agencies so a two-way relationship between the administration and citizens could be established.
In conclusion Dilma cited the need for a vigilant press that is not inhibited by the government as it does its job.
On her weekly radio program, Breakfast With the President, Rousseff said that her administration will raise its goal of building 6,000 day centers for pre-school children to 6,400 units.
“These day care units are being called super units because they unite day care and pre-school activities in a convenient well-built area where our children can be offered quality education,” explained the president.
Dilma went on to mention the construction of 6,600 sports centers in schools, adding that 5,000 sports centers will be covered with roofing by the year 2014. The construction will benefit some 8 million students in elementary and high schools, said the president.
“This is a way to keep children in school longer, off the streets, especially in poorer areas of the country. We can use sports to do this,” she said.