This article is part of a series of articles on Rio de Janeiro’s 2020 municipal elections from a favela perspective.
The Sustainable Favela Network (SFN)* invited candidates running for Mayor of Rio de Janeiro and for membership in Rio’s City Council to sign a letter of commitment to the sustainable development of the city’s favelas based on valuing community expertise, thus strengthening ongoing community initiatives. The letter, written by 60 members of the SFN from socio-environmental projects working in 38 favelas across Rio de Janeiro, was signed by five mayoral candidates—Benedita da Silva (PT), Eduardo Bandeira de Mello (REDE), Fred Luz (NOVO), Renata Souza (PSOL) and Suêd Haidar (PMB)—and 89 city council candidates. The letter contains 21 proposals and 82 sub-proposals regarding laws and other policies to support the sustainability and resilience of favelas in Rio de Janeiro, home to more than 22% of the city’s population.
73 of the candidates committed to all of the proposals in the letter. Another 16 candidates gave their partial commitment and indicated their level of current commitment to each proposal. The candidates who gave partial commitment took the time to respond to each of the 21 proposals and 82 sub-proposals. 87 of the signatories promised that if they were elected, they would organize a meeting to learn about and develop proposals with the Sustainable Favela Network during their first 100 days in office. Two of the candidates who signed the letter didn’t commit to holding a meeting, but both indicated they would look into the possibility.
“In Rio de Janeiro, people tend to see the favela as an intrinsic problem. However, both in terms of the origin of favelas (as a solution to a lack of shelter) and in terms of their ongoing evolution (constantly responding to underinvestment through individual and collective actions) the favela is not a problem,” the commitment letter states. “The truth is that favelas are solutions factories and… they show a diverse range of sustainable urbanistic qualities. [However, favelas] have been historically neglected, their assets have not been recognized, and their residents are systematically stigmatized due to living in a territory that is seen as both informal and problematic.”
The Sustainable Favela Network is a community-based network that connects, strengthens and multiplies sustainability and resilience-building initiatives in Rio’s favelas, to realize the potential of favelas as part of a future sustainable urban world. The SFN brings together more than 150 socio-environmental projects across Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and has worked with more than 2,000 participants during its first two years. The commitment letter offers proposals linked to basic sanitation, income generation, environmental education, memory and culture, gardens and reforestation, and solar energy.
“Especially during this current moment, while we are still living through the Covid-19 pandemic, a visionary urbanism based on the knowledge and agency of favelas has become essential,” the letter states. The letter was presented to mayoral candidates during a debate promoted by the Sustainable Favela Network. “Promoting sustainable development through recognition of the high-quality work already going on in favelas will mean promoting health, quality of life, and income generation in a fair and sustainable way for the population of Rio de Janeiro. It will mean creating a city with less sewage and more education, with fewer environmental risks and more culture. It will mean guaranteeing a fairer, more inclusive, and safer city for all Rio de Janeiro residents.”
Candidates Who Pledged Their Commitment
|Benedita da Silva||PT||13|
|Eduardo Bandeira de Mello||REDE||18|
City Council Candidates
|Nome de Urna||Partido||Número|
|Alex Moura da Bike||PATRIOTA||51122|
|Antonia Leite Barbosa||CIDADANIA||23021|
|Dr Rubinho da Divinéia||PT||13422|
|Dr. Carlos Eduardo||PODE||19044|
|Dra Angélica Rocha||Cidadania||23124|
|Eduardo Acosta Ambientalista||PT||13611|
|Enfermeira Aline Cruz||DC||27127|
|Felipe Souza||PC do B||65222|
|Francisco Da Silva||PV||43226|
|Gustavo O Amigão Do Rio||REDE||18555|
|Heitor Ney Mathias da Silva||PSOL||50501|
|J P Farelli||PT||13013|
|Jeanne Souza Lima||PSOL||50188|
|João Pedro Rocha||PSB||40382|
|Luciana Gonçalves de Novaes||PT||13535|
|Maria Dos Camelôs||PSOL||40014|
|Otavio Da Rei Dos Reis||REPUBLICANOS||10014|
|Professor Antônio Cláudio||PC do B||65432|
|Professor Marcelo Viola||PT||13700|
|Professor Marcus Menezes||PSOL||50220|
|Sandra Florian||PC do B||65188|
|Sérgio Ricardo Verde Potiguara||PSOL||50234|
|Silvino Pessanha Jr||PSC||20077|
|Tainá De Paula||PT||13777|
|Vanessa Santos Enfermeira||REDE||18633|
Signatures are still welcome. Candidates: to add your name, click here.
*The Sustainable Favela Network (SFN) and RioOnWatch are both projects of the NGO Catalytic Communities (CatComm).