Fiocruz News Agency
The 1st International Forum on Social Technology and Innovation for People and The Planet closed its debates by presenting the Bahia Charter and deliberating, especially, about the theme of food and nutritional safety. National and international lecturers, community leaders, researchers, specialists in technology, civil society authorities, indigenous and quilombola representatives gathered in Salvador from July 19th to 21st to think of proposals on social innovation, to fight against climate change and its consequences, besides presenting and getting to know proposals in the area. The Charter aims at summarizing this discussion and presenting guidelines and commitments taken by the institutions that took part in the event.
The event was broadcast online and was attended by about 800 people (photo: Fiocruz)
The Bahia Charter asks for immediate actions for sustainable development, with strategies to fight against inequalities and the identification of social transformation processes for the sustainable future and taking social technology as an innovative methodology into account. The signatories also compromised themselves to establish a Support Network for Social Technology for People and the Planet (ST4PP) with the goal of accelerating the adoption of new technologies and promoting the protagonism of communities in innovation processes.
The event had the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development (SDG) as a reference for its debates. The event is organized by the Fiocruz Strategy for the 2030 Agenda (EFA 2030), the Atlantic International Research Centre (Air Centre), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Brazil (FAO Brazil), sponsored by Fiocruz Support Foundation (Fiotec).
A speech of hope
The president of the foundation, Nísia Trindade Lima, and the coordinator of the forum and of EFA 2030, Paulo Gadelha, represented Fiocruz at the opening panel. “We spoke about poverty, hunger, inequalities, climate change, war, about uncertainty scenarios in face of the reach of the SDG and uncertainties above all,” stated Nísia. “But we also spoke about resilience, the alliance for the construction of a positive agenda surrounding the SDG, sustainability, science and health diplomacy, youth, social movements, and learning. Therefore, we spoke about hope.”
This hope, according to the president of Fiocruz, is present at the event from multiple perspectives, stemming from the academia, from social movements and from civil society. She also noted that, in the current scenario of crisis, “it is the force of the collective construction of a meeting agenda such as this forum that uplifts our spirits.”
Nísia was a lecturer in the discussion “State-of-the-art and social technologies in Health”, mediated by the director of the Gonçalo Moniz Institute - Fiocruz Bahia, Marilda Gonçalves. The discussion also had comments by Xiaolan Fu, from the Center of Technology and Management for the Development of the Oxford University, Adélia Maria Carvalho, secretary of health of Bahia, and Naomar de Almeida Filho, from the Federal University of Bahia.
In the following discussion "Examples of social technology and innovations in Health", they debated how academic and civil society institutions may act to develop tools, actions, and studies on behalf of public health. “They are complementary approaches,” stated the coordinator of the Center for Data Integration and Knowledge for Health (Cidacs/Fiocruz), Mauricio Barreto. He pointed out that “using well the data produced by the society” may generate an innovative scientific knowledge, as it happened with the Coorte project of 100 million of Brazilian people - in which the data analysis of data used by the government, such as information of the Cadastro Único and the Mortality System, identified that the mortality rate of children younger than five years old born from indigenous mothers is three times the mortality rate of children born from white mothers.
Some of the Forum participants visited Quilombo Kaonge (photo: Fiocruz)
Still on the discussions of the first day, the role of social technology on the solution of global powers stood out. Apart from the concepts referring to the theme, the participants of the event debated how to create inclusive social innovation. The Ghanaian designer and architect DK Osseo-Asare presented a project he developed in Agbogbloshie, a community in Accra, Ghana. Over a decade ago, Asara and his partner Yasmine Abbas developed workshops in a region that is close to a huge deposit of disposed electronic equipment from multiple countries, which is called “the most toxic place in the world.”
Asae and Abbas focused on the resilience and empirical knowledge of the locals in the reutilization of these materials, joining different lines of knowledge. From the workshops conducted in the community, the project AMP (Agbogbloshie Maker Place) Spacecraft was born, which are kiosks build with the material taken from the deposits that build a mobile hybrid - both digital and analogic - space where you can have access to knowledge to perform and develop whatever technology you wish.
“We have a divided society. There are people who dropped out of school and learn a lot by doing and other people who go to university and know how to do a lot of stuff, but do not have any practical experience. We connect there groups so that they can work together,” says Asare.
In the discussion “Conceptual framework of social technology”, the Vice-President of Environment and Health Promotion and Care of Fiocruz, Hermano Castro, emphasized: “We are dealing with social technologies in a troubled world in which 828 million people suffer from hunger. We need to comprehend this context, because a lot of technologies are born on the social basis.”
Social technology, health and fighting against the pandemic
“Inspiration” was the word which the Fiocruz’s Inter-institutional Relations Director, Valcler Rangel Fernandes, used to define the ending discussion of the first day of the forum, Examples of social technology and innovations in Health. “I want to highlight the presence of the most diverse territories and histories: we have yards, favelas, different histories, university, knowledge, innovation, data... We have Portugal with us. This is our perception, of the establishment of permanent dialogues between these fields, this dialogue is crucial,” he stated.
In the discussion, initiatives of development of technologies in a partnership with local communities were presented, as well as how it can help in fighting the pandemic. The director of the National Cultural Association of Preservation of the Bantu Heritage, Taata Konmannanjy, and the director of Redes da Maré, Eliana Souza Silva, said the partnership with Fiocruz was crucial to save lives in these communities. Among the combined actions, there is the production of booklets, of communal protocols and help in food distribution.
Social technologies for the climate
The protection of water, art and fighting against climate change was the main theme of the second day of the forum. At the beginning of the day, the professor of the University of Lisbon and the former minister of Science and Technology of Portugal, Manuel Heitor, spoke about the Anthropocene Era and the complexity of the climate crisis: “The pandemic, the war, the change in the labor market, fake news... We need to have a holistic view to face this complex problem”, stated Heitor.
This holistic view guided the speech of the Fiocruz researcher Léo Heller in his participation on the discussion State-of-art and social technologies, mediated by José Luiz Moutinho, of the Atlantic Research Center, from Portugal. Stemming from the SDG, Heller highlighted the challenges in the global access to basic services, to water and the risk of treating these resources as “goods.”
Still on the second day, Fiocruz researcher Márcia Chame presented a diagnosis of emerging and reemerging zoonosis tied to climate change. “No one noticed it until we saw the impact of Covid-19”, she stated. To her, the entire humanity had to think about its ecological role in this scenario, “we are a species that is active 24 hours a day, we eat almost anything, and we are excellent pathogens amplifiers”.
The researcher highlighted the importance of the Wild Health Information System (Siss-Geo), an app developed by Fiocruz that allows any person to photograph and inform anything related to the death of animals due to zoonosis in any part of the country, directly engaging the society in the surveillance of the dissemination of diseases.
The main theme of the discussions of the third and last day were the actions to fight food insecurity. Examples of how to fight hunger were presented, using popular wisdom to create projects that value the local capacity and biodiversity. Rafael Zavala, from the FAO Brazil office, pointed out that food security is under “the perfect storm”, with “its different causes happening at the same time: armed conflict, economic shock and climate crisis”.
Ananias Viana, representative of the Ethnic Community Tourism of the Rota da Liberdade, presented their organization as “a sustainable technology, created based on a model that involves to develop”. “We do not believe in a conventional tourism, but in a tourism with an associated production, to strengthen locals,” they said. The presentations were commented on the ending discussion, mediated by the researcher and director of Fiocruz Bahia, Marilda de Souza Gonçalves.
The forum received 800 people and anteceded the participation of Fiocruz in future events organized by the UN, such as The Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Community (G-STIC), in 2023. “Brazil is a unique country in its way of joining social practices to technology. There are similar cases in other countries, but not with the same strength and union between public policies and social wisdom,” stated Paulo Gadelha at the Forum’s ending ceremony.