Brazil Carnival highlights anti-poverty goals

Mar 15, 2011

Thousands join Eva in Salvador to celebrate Carnival
and to raise awareness about the MDGs. (Photo: Eva)

Salvador, Brazil - One of the most famous acts of the annual Carnival in Brazil this year dedicated itself to raising awareness about anti-poverty goals among thousands of people in Salvador, capital of the northeastern state of Bahia.

Three thousand partygoers on the streets of Salvador as well as hundreds of thousands of television spectators across Brazil watched the giant multicoloured balloons and electronic panels of Banda Eva´s sound-cars broadcasting messages on access to education, cutting poverty and ending world hunger.

"Reaching out to the crowd with this message is something that comes from the heart, with a lot of potential for change,” said Saulo Fernandes, lead singer of Eva, Bahia’s most well known group at the Carnival, which took the streets of Salvador between 3-8 March.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), such as access to education and poverty eradication, are basic targets that should have been met long ago,” Fernandes added. “It is very important that we use the power of Carnival as a tool for good deeds."

Saulo Fernandes of 'Eva' Carnival group advocates
for anti-poverty goals.
(Photo: Daniel de Castro/UNDP Brazil)

The eight MDGs were agreed by heads of state in the year 2000 and range from reducing poverty and hunger to improving the health of women and children.

Their inclusion in Bahia’s Carnival results from a joint effort between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), partner UN agencies in Brazil and EcoDevelopment, a non-profit that raises awareness about sustainable development.

“Even with so many achievements, Brazil and the state of Bahia still face obstacles towards development, particularly those imposed by social and economic inequality,” said UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Jorge Chediek. “The Carnival industry can and should serve as a tool for creating opportunities, eradicating poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality and better living conditions for all.”

According to the latest Creative Economy Report, issued by UNDP and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), creativity, knowledge, culture and technology can be the engines of job creation, innovation and social inclusion.

The report showcases the Carnival of another Brazilian city, Rio de Janeiro, which generates about US$600 million and creates job opportunities for more than half a million people with important benefits for the economies of the city, the state and the entire country.

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