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For ECLAC, OTSS Observatory is a “transforming investment”


Comunicação OTSS


Created in 2009 based on an alliance between the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and the Fórum de Comunidades Tradicionais de Angra dos Reis, Paraty e Ubatuba (FCT; Traditional Communities Forum of Angra dos Reis, Paraty and Ubatuba), the Observatory of Sustainable and Healthy Territories of the Bocaina (OTSS) has been considered by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) as “transforming investment” for sustainable development in Brazil. 

Meeting on medicinal herbs between technicians from Fiocruz and indigenous leaders, caiçaras and quilombolas from Bocaina: dialogue between academic and scientific knowledge at the service of development (photo: OTSS)


The acknowledgement was announced on May 26, by the Big Push for Sustainability initiative, which gives visibility to investments that can produce virtuous circles of economic growth, reduction of inequalities, and promotion of sustainability. Coordinated by ECLAC, the initiative is run in Brazil in a partnership with Rede Brasil do Pacto Global (Brazil Network for the Global Pact) and the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) and German Technical Cooperation (GIZ).

“Including the OTSS as one of the successful experiences of the Big Push emphasizes how right Fiocruz Strategy for the 2030 Agenda was in investing in an territorialized experience, in a partnership with traditional peoples, working to promote health and sustainable development in a very broad manner. This makes Fiocruz move foward in the resolutions of its Internal Congress when it comes to dialogue with social movements, promotion of citizenship, and the defence of life”, highlights Fiocruz researcher and General Coordinator of OTSS, Edmundo Gallo.

Overall, 66 experiences have been incorporated to the Big Push for Sustainability platform. The criteria to select the most transforming cases were number of indicators reported in the three dimensions (social, economic, environmental) and the analysis of the links of the case under study with the Big Push for Sustainability and the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals.

Feet in the ground

With the support of the National Health Foundation (Funasa) and the Foundation for Scientific and Technological Development in Health (Fiotec), the OTSS works in indigenous, quilombola (rural afro-brazilian settlements) and caiçara (traditional coastal communities) territories in the municipalities of Angra dos Reis, Paraty and Ubatuba, in the fields of ecological proper sanitation, agroecology, community-based tourism (CBT), health promotion, differentiated education, socio-environmental justice, social cartography, incubation of social technologies, and territorialized monitoring of the 2030 Agenda.

Its mission is to generate critical knowledge, starting from the dialogue between traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge, to develop strategies that promote sustainability, health, and rights, for the good living of traditional communities in their own territories. For this purpose, it relies on the support of indigenous, caiçara and quilombola researchers, along with other professionals that cover more than 20 fields of knowledge.

“For the Traditional Communities Forum, this acknowledgement by ECLAC is an honor. It only reinforces the importance of community protagonism in safeguarding their own territories”, states Vagner do Nascimento, general coordinator of the OTSS, Coordinator of FCT and leader of Quilombo Campinho da Independência, the first quilombo territory officially titled in the state of Rio de Janeiro. 

This is the second significant award granted by the OTSS in less than two years. In December 2018, the partnership between Fiocruz and FCT was also granted an honorable mention of the SDG Brazil Award in the category “Teaching, Research and Extension”. The goal of the award was to put on the spotlight initiatives that contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, a series of committments taken by 193 countries of the United Nations to promote sustainable development in the world. 

Big Push

The selection of Case Studies of Investment for Sustainable Development made by ECLAC has the purpose of giving visibility to experiences and initiatives that generate concrete results towards sustainability. Following the Open Call, 131 case studies were received, of which 66 were included in the Repository of cases on the Big Push for Sustainability in Brazil

“The changes we are facing right now emphasize the need for action. The massive investments required to transition into a healthy, resilient, low-carbon, inclusive, and sustainable economic model are an opportunity to generate a great drive for sustainability in Latin America and in the Caribbean”, highlighted ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena.

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