Employment-Intensive Investment in Brazil

Web page | 10 December 2014

Current EIIP Involvement

In June 2010, the new government of Brazil presented the "Brazil without Poverty Plan". This program is an ambitious plan which will require many decisions and “innovative” actions to achieve successful results in the fight against poverty, which still currently involves about 40 million people in the country. As expressly mentioned, this strategy should allow Brazil to "create new programs and expand existing initiatives" in collaboration with states, municipalities, public and private companies and civil society to expand opportunities for the poor by including them in the benefits of economic growth. This is a unique opportunity to raise comprehensive proposals on employment and poverty reduction to help meet the challenges of today.

Employment Policies and Investments
The great challenge for Brazil in the following years will no doubt be to bring about a synergy between the objectives of growth and accelerated development to become a world economic power by 2030, and at the same time, to comply with the aim of generating sustainable opportunities to help close to 40 million people out of poverty permanently to be integrated into the productive economy of the country. This is not an easy task, but programs such as EIIP can be a powerful instrument to help generate basic infrastructure, production, and decent employment generation in a local capacity. The three benefit simultaneously. Therefore, it would be important to analyse the appropriateness of their application in Brazil.


An exploratory analysis was made in 2009 that permitted the ILO to identify the major opportunities, limitations, and recommendations to implement an approach to Public Employment Intensive investments (EMP/INVEST) in Brazil. Mainly, there is an interest in implementing this approach at the level of small and medium sized municipalities, as well as with some involved states, in the framework of the “Decent Work” Strategy being developed in the country, as well as with the methodologies and tools of impact for the implementation of the “Brazil Without Poverty” plan in the next three years.

Historical Information

Public and Private Investment
The core infrastructure of the country is covered mostly by public investment, those designed for both rehabilitation and maintenance. As part of the expansion of the new infrastructure, both have an enormous potential for job creation, as shown in the case of national programs for road maintenance based on those performed on a micro scale, which have been implemented in over eight countries thus far to very positive results.

In addition to these public investments, one should also include private investment, which may have an even greater impact in the case of the massive housing construction sector and large public-private investments. These can also include projects focusing on EIIP as a result of including various mechanisms such as the “guaranteeing clauses for local employment” proposed in the basis of bids and/or contracts of EIIP concession models, or by incentive schemes such as “More Jobs in Works and Services for Taxes”, which may be useful to complement public investment strategies in infrastructure.

Ensuring a Legal Framework
In the case of Brazil, the country is favourable towards the implementation of EIIP policies proposed for the political, legal and institutional framework. The Federal Government has taken on some of these proposed strategies. The call of the new government to be “innovative” seems to indicate that all changes in setting and to the current opportunities are undertaken with the goal of implementing the EIIP approach with projects in small municipalities.

Increased local access, planning and community capacity
With respect to the corporate strategy, it is definite that in all cases the “Brazil without Poverty” plan has a foundation of institutional development at the community level, which contains the key players in the implementation of projects and programs. In regards to this, an application of this plan should include EIIP action at the municipal level.

Local municipalities are called to play a key role in the strategy to combat poverty; this is a challenge when taking into account their current capabilities, especially for small municipalities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. However, it is also an opportunity to develop mechanisms of partnership between municipalities and between states and federal agencies.

In the present context, it is necessary to propose changes to the traditional role of municipalities—to stop being just a provider of public services (education, health, sanitation and road construction) and to allow greater community participation (for example by creating mechanisms similar to the program “School Monkey”) as well as local suppliers (MSE and economic and productive organizations).

Brazilian municipalities are called to play a role in promoting local development, including creating a sustained momentum of local policies to promote and strengthen employment as a pillar of the “anti poverty” strategy and the development of basic infrastructure to generate productive conditions and economic inclusión for the poor.

The EIIP plan must be implemented at the level of the municipal assets. For example, in the case of small municipalities, it would be necessary to plan public investment at a more aggregated level, which would créate municipal “commonwealths” and facilitate a better definition of the demands and goals for job creation and generation of capabilities. Finally, to support such a platform at the institutional municipal level could créate and strengthen municipal units of economic and social development, in order to promote economic and employment development and to cannel the quick execution of financial resources.

Adaptation to Climate Change and Crises
Brazil has a very active and committed environmental policy department, which has created strategies and instruments for environmental protection and the promotion of green initiatives in the economy and in employment. In particular, the covers of Rio and Agenda 21 set a very important starting point in these policies. However, the issue of green jobs is still an aspirational one and is incorporated into long term strategies. In that sense, all relevant public and private efforts are required to build a viable option for the development and expansion of the focus of green jobs in the country’s plan. The 2014 schedule is also presented as a framework of reference for a very important balance that is set by the country’s environmental goals.

In general, the report identifies a set of very favorable conditions for creation of “green jobs”, but also presents many challenges for Brazil. In the industry and construction sector, and specifically in the development of infrastructure projects proposed by the EIIP approach to maximize jobs, the original goals of the sectors are perfectly compatible and mutually reinforced with the objectives of green jobs.

An additional opportunity to promote green jobs is shown in the government’s interest in ensuring better and greater local impacts in large public/private investment (mainly in mega-projects). In this framework, the possibility of including commitments to green job creation as part of the “Sustainable Development Clauses” in investment contracts is presented by 2 types of media: one compulsory (sustainable public procurement) and another volunteer (social and environmental responsibility of companies).

In regards to a sustainable procurement standard, the recent adoption of the special rule on sustainable procurement (which includes green procurement), initially applicable for purchases of executive power, is an excellent opportunity to develop an approach towards creating more green jobs.

Further Readings