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CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR FUNDAMENTAL ROLE IN ARTICULATION BETWEEN DIFFERENT SECTORS



With municipal elections coming up, we asked ourselves about the roles of the public authorities and the extent of responsibility in our choices. However, at a time when institutions’ credibility is so contested, it is worth asking a specific question: what is the impact of private sector participation in the management of your city? Or, still, what is the level of investment of this sector in socioenvironmental policies? According to the ABCR (Brazilian Association of Fundraiser) Donation Monitor, the private sector’s effort represents a considerable portion of investment in actions to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. So far, donations made by companies, associations and fundraising campaigns exceed R$ 8.8 billion, almost three times the accumulated value of an entire year of philanthropy in the country, according to the latest consolidated report of the UN, released in 2017. Still on this subject, a survey carried out jointly by the American Chamber of Commerce of Brazil (Amcham), the United States Embassy by the + Unidos Group mapped 70 North American companies on their initiatives to combat the impacts of COVID-19 in the Brazil. The cash donations announced by these companies add up to a significant amount of R$ 315 million. In addition to the companies that announced cash donations, others announced actions without specifying their monetary value, such as changing the production line, donating licenses, credits, products, training and expertise to support Brazilians during the pandemic. This leads us to consider that the State ceased to be the sole executor of public and social policies a while ago, and civil society, often in conjunction with the private sector, has become an executing arm for these initiatives. The emergence of Non-Governmental Organizations, today called Civil Society Organizations, is dated at the beginning of the 50’s. Like society and its most diverse aspects, CSOs have undergone changes over time, mainly with the changes in the scenario political. Here in Brazil, one of these changes occurred with the redemocratization and the promulgation of the 1988 Constitution, leveraging the emergence of new organizations. More recently, with the maturity in the understanding of the social role of CSOs, the articulating role of the latter among different social sectors has been understood. As CSOs are very close to the social field and local realities, they can and should contribute to the qualification of public policies, supporting the resolution of highly complex social problems. At the same time, they are freed from the bureaucratic bonds characteristic of the public machinery, possessing considerable autonomy and freedom regarding, for example, the establishment of partnerships and agreements. In turn, as mentioned above, the corporate sector often has the resources to make projects of social interest viable, but difficult to implement. According to GIFE (Group of Institutes, Foundations and Companies), “the alignment between social investment and business has been perceived by the sector as a trend since at least 2009, bringing the dialogue between the corporate social responsibility and sustainability movements closer to performance of institutes and foundations, especially those of business origin”. Together with these changes, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility has grown and brought with it new guidelines, such as Venture Philanthropy, which aims to expand the social and environmental impact of philanthropy, considering three main points: customized financing, organizational support and impact measurement and management . Even considering the plurality of agents willing to execute and promote initiatives of a socio-environmental nature, we need to consider that the public sphere has the central role and responsibility for structural changes. To illustrate, as explained by the data provided by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), the sum of the annual budget of all Brazilian CSOs is not equivalent to one day of the Union budget. Therefore, it is not up to CSOs to play only the role of executors, but also of strategic mediators in order to make possible the articulation between the efforts of the public power and the availability of the corporate world, supporting the generation of effective social changes. Daniel Grynberg CEO +Unidos Group

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