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Cadernos EBAPE.BR

On-line version ISSN 1679-3951

Cad. EBAPE.BR vol.11 no.2 Rio de Janeiro June 2013

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-39512013000200004 

PAPERS

 

International cooperation and development: analyzing the role of international agencies in Duque de Caxias (Rio de Janeiro)

 

 

Carlos R. S. MilaniI; Julio Cesar de S. LoureiroII

IPhD in Development Studies (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales); Professor at the Institute for Social and Political Studies of State University of Rio de Janeiro (IESP-UERJ); Research fellow with the National Scientific and Technological Development Council (CNPq); Current Executive Secretary of the Brazilian Political Science Association (ABCP). Postal address: Matriz Street, 82, Botafogo, zipcode: 22260-100, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Brazil. Email: crsmilani@iesp.uerj.br
IIMaster in Administration obtained from Universidade do Grande Rio (UNIGRANRIO); Professor at the School of Applied Social Sciences at UNIGRANRIO; Member of the Special Logistics Commission of the Regional Administrative Council of Rio de Janeiro CRA-RJ). Postal address: Unigranrio/ECSA - School of Applied Social Sciences of Universidade do Grande Rio (UNIGRANRIO) - Prof. José de Souza Herdy Street, 1.160, 25 de Agosto, Duque de Caxias, Zipcode: 25071-202, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Brazil. Email: julio.loureiro@unigranrio.br

 

 


ABSTRACT

Considering that international development cooperation is a political field whose main philosophical tenets (the belief in progress, hope as endeavor or policy imperative, the development goal) bring about relationships of asymmetry, hierarchy and dependence, this article presents and discusses the results of an empirical research conducted in Duque de Caxias between September 2010 and January 2012 in order to answer two major questions: what do practices of international agencies currently active in Duque de Caxias reveal in political and institutional terms? What does the local context of this municipality situated in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro illustrate about the trends analyzed by the more critical literature on the role of development cooperation agencies? Building upon the work of critical analyses of international agencies' political role (such as B. Cooke, W. Easterley, A. Escobar, T. Hayter or G. Rist), this qualitative research describes and analyzes modes of action of these agencies, be they bilateral or multilateral governmental organizations, private foundations, charitable organizations or voluntary associations in the definition and implementation of development strategies in Duque de Caxias. This article concludes that international agencies seldom act at the city level, limiting themselves to participation in the design of specific development projects and exercise of their power to influence public policy agendas at the local level.

Keywords: International cooperation. International agencies. Development. Duque de Caxias (Rio de Janeiro). Critical analysis.


 

 

Introduction

This paper presents and discusses the results of an empirical research carried out in Duque de Caxias between September 2010 and January 2012, aiming to answer the following question: what are the main actions implemented by international cooperation organizations for promoting development in Duque de Caxias? This qualitative research was designed in order to describe and analyze modes of action by North-South international cooperation agencies, be they multilateral or bilateral governmental organizations, private companies, philanthropic organizations, or associations, working in the conception and implementation of development strategies in Duque de Caxias. It sought to understand both the occasional participation of these agencies in designing specific projects in order to support the town's development, their potential ability to influence public policy agendas, and their decision-making processes.

The selection of Duque de Caxias was due to a series of factors: (i) its economic importance within the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro and its participation in the national energy system; (ii) disparities between human development indicators and the economic income generated at the local level; (iii) contradictions between development promises and actual production of public goods; (iv) the absence of data on the development reality of this town; and (v) its location for conducting empirical research. The analysis of the role played by these international organizations in Duque de Caxias was rooted in the hypothesis that international cooperation for development (ICD) should be regarded as a political field, whose normative tenets (belief in progress, hope as a political task, solidarity as an imperative, development as a goal) tend to hide asymmetry, hierarchy, and dependence relations. In this context, what do practices by international agencies that act for promoting development in Duque de Caxias actually reveal? What does the local context of this town illustrate with regard to the trends analyzed in the critical literature on development cooperation?

 

Dialoguing with the Existing Literature: International Cooperation, Motivations, and Critical Limits

In Brazil, many authors have critically thought on different forms of action by international organizations for promoting development (CORREA, 2010; KRAYCHETE, 2012; LANDIM and TREVISAN, 2009). Other authors have emphasized the relevance of technical cooperation for conducting studies aimed to improve the social and economic local reality, train municipal managers, and transfer "good practices", skills, or knowledge to the destination country of the cooperation being provided, among other aspects. As pointed out by Medeiros (1994, p. 278), "[...] without technical cooperation by developed countries, the poorest countries need to wait for a few generations to reach the current knowledge level of the richest countries". According to this reasoning, Technical cooperation might allow gaining time and ability thanks to the transfer of experiences and public policies regarded as successful1. Another form of action by the international organizations has emphasized, particularly since the 1990s, social participation criteria that go beyond the technical and financial cooperation. International agencies have contributed so that social participation has been constructed as one of the central organizing principles of management at the local level. However, despite the fact that encouragement to the participation of citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) in the process for designing public policies has been erected through a public management model, this has not necessarily led to effective changes in the political culture. According to Leal (2001, p. 213), who analyzes the specific problem of sexual violence against children and adolescents in Brazil, "[...] the international cooperation agencies, through the mobilization of organizations advocating human rights, have acted as coordinators between the different social actors", and they may even generate institutional arrangement models regarded by some authors as innovative (FARAH, 2001).

The perspective adopted in this paper is distinct, since one intends to analyze through more critical lenses the role of international cooperation for development (ICD) agencies in the case of Duque de Caxias. It departs from the premise that ICD is permeated with ideologies forged and refined in the West in order to maintain and reproduce structures of economic, cultural, and political domination, particularly since the end of World War II. In this sense, cooperation might be the power instrument (soft power), par excellence, of the Western intervention in the Third World, although it was also a tool then used by the Soviet Union or the People's Republic of China2. When it was institutionalized, ICD designed its actions through a fairly linear definition of development, based on the need to overcome phases regarded as late or not modern. Underdevelopment might be a step, but never the flip side of development. By criticizing this perspective, Gunder Frank (1967) clearly pointed out the contradiction stating that underdevelopment is a situation and a dependency context amidst the interstate and capitalist system.

The ICD's architecture involves numerous actors, both on the side of the so-called donor countries (traditional or emergent ones) and among the beneficiaries (usually low-income countries or, in some rare cases, middle-income countries). Each ICD actor has its own identity, preferences, interests, and goals, as well as the possibility of acting on the basis of political and national security motivations, due to humanitarian, environmental, or moral reasons, but also for purely economic and commercial reasons (DEGNBOL-MARTINUSSEN and ENGBERG-PEDERSEN, 2003; LANCASTER, 2007; RIST, 1996). However, one should not forget that the set of relations between the two kinds of actors (donors and beneficiaries) engenders a complex and sometimes contradictory game, to which the role of the mediator actors is relevant in the dissemination of agendas, the legitimacy-building of ideals, and in some cases in the organization of protests and the definition of monitoring and controlling mechanisms.

In this set of relations, schematically presented in Figure 1, one can find multilateral organizations (the UN system agencies, the development banks, as well as some organizations with a non-universal nature, such as the European Union and the OECD), bilateral governmental agencies (USAID and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, for instance) and NGOs (OXFAM, CARE, Misereor, Novib, Peuples Solidaires, Ford Foundation, Kellogg Foundation). The latter ones may directly act supported by governments and international agencies (bilateral or multilateral), but in some rare cases they are also able to adopt more autonomous administrative, political, cultural, and financial attitudes, establishing connections between societies, organizations, and social movements without necessarily going through mediation by state agencies. On the side of the ICD donor actors, there is a process of functional specialization and political division of tasks: the organizations may be classified according to their type (public, private, or mixed), their nature (how many states they involve, be they governmental or not), their origin and kinds of funding (public, private, mixed, grants, or loans).

The literature on the ICD theme more particularly addressed in this paper (COOKE and KHOTARI, 2001; EASTERLY and PFUTZE, 2008; ESCOBAR, 1994; LATOUCHE, 2004; MORAES, 2006; PANKAJ, 2005; RIST, 1996) has pointed out numerous contradictions and critical limitations for action by these actors, be they donors, mediators, or beneficiaries of projects, proposals for the reformation of public administration, political policies, and financing initiatives. The contradictions not only include the way through which these organizations contribute to perpetuate and legitimize - by means of rules, norms, and institutions - contexts of domination, asymmetries, and hierarchies within the international system, and they are also related to cooperation situations which, although rhetorically articulated around solidarity and humanitarian duty, reiterate what had already been denounced by the dependency theory (GUNDER FRANK, 1967). No less important is the symbolic capital of ICD organizations for defining new development agendas, including research and training for advisory groups, as so well recalled by Pereira (2010) in his analysis on the World Bank as a political, intellectual, and financial development actor. Therefore, the international agencies have been crucial for constructing a development and cooperation orthodoxy, according to which there'd be places where resources (natural, human, social, and political) have been explored in such an insufficient or inadequate manner. And, here, a key point for understanding the ICD role, there'd be societies whose political and economic models might be intended to serve as a standard for other societies, which might follow steps in accordance with the Western economic and social history.

In fact, among the various contemporary approaches to the ICD crisis as a historical, political, cultural, and economic experience, one may highlight four. The first of them emanates from authors who associate the development crisis to the crisis of the capitalist production mode and its accumulation logic (AMIN, 1976; HALLIDAY, 2007; HAYTER, 1971; MOLNAR, 1975; MYRDAL, 1968; SANTOS, 2001). Therefore, the solution would necessarily involve overcoming this mode of producing, distributing, and appropriating both the results of production and the social space itself. Such authors remember that ICD may be explained under the light of historical materialism as an attempt to preserve capitalism, serving as a maintenance and legitimation tool for the hegemony of key countries within the international system. Former colonies, now emancipated, could be maintained in a dependency relation in order to guarantee the functioning of international economy. The help provided might be subject to compliance with a broader capitalism grammar: don't nationalize foreign companies without defining compensation measures, don't set strict rules with regard to the repatriation of profits from multinational corporations, implement structural adjustment policies, follow international standards for macroeconomic stability, ensure compliance with property rights (tangible and intangible), etc.

A second approach, the social and anthropological criticism, reveals the role of ethnocentrism and Eurocentrism in the definition of the values and norms of development as a western promise, emphasizing the historical and supposedly universalizing nature of modernity. According to this trend, the principles of progress and civilization posed logic and rationality issues as universal measures for very different sociocultural realities and historical contexts. ICD might have generated discourses and practices on the "other", the Third World, which should be "developed" by the West on the basis of Eurocentric notions of planning, participation, and poverty. Normalizing and disciplining local actors through ICD have set, thus, the meaning of adequate "help" (foreign aid) and appropriate methods, be they evaluation reports, result-driven management procedures, or meetings with international experts (ESCOBAR, 1994; FERGUSON, 1994). As an ontological need and an overcoming of ethnocentrism, one points at the relevance of dialogue with and between different peoples, knowledge kinds, and practices, as well as compliance with their plural rationality ways (SAID, 2007; SOUSA SANTOS, 2001). In the case of Latin America, it's important to stress that, beyond an economic domination based on the center/periphery coordination, there would be a cultural dependence. By mobilizing Aníbal Quijano, Enrique Dussel, and Walter Mignolo, for instance, Maria Ceci Misoczky (2011) recalls the crucial distinction between "colonialism" (concerning policies for controlling the sovereignty of the "other") and "coloniality" (referring to control and hegemony structures which emerged since colonialism), the latter regarded as a historical result of the first (MISOCZKY, 2011). International cooperation agencies are first-order actors in the construction and maintenance of coloniality standards.

A third view, from a postmodern criticism lineage, warns about the impossibility of the universal nature of development, regarded as a result of an Enlightenment utopia which eventually favored the dominant classes' interests and defined hierarchical patterns among knowledge kinds. Today, there's an upward movement of the post-developmental school in Europe, according to which, in the same way as progress, development may have consequences on the life and freedom of men, camouflaging the interests of various power groups that benefit from the same process. One advocates, thus, for post-development and research on satisfaction ways (épanouissement) and collective happiness ways which not only seek material well-being, responsible for environmental disruption and a large part of social relations. It's worth stressing, this way, the essentially plural nature of development which would be drawn in a markedly different manner in the North and South (LATOUCHE, 2004; RIST, 1996).

Finally, the political realism view on ICD might tend to emphasize that not all cooperation ways are inherently and necessarily benign, that's the reason why it's important to distinguish between cooperation as a particular form of instrumental interaction and the purposes pursued by cooperative interaction. When cooperating, Hans Morgenthau (1962) could argue, the States are rational, opportunistic, and strategic and they aim to improve their own condition; act differently would be not only naive, but dangerous with regard to their survival and well-being. Moreover, the ICD's rules don't define, in a clear and compulsory manner, the sanctions for unpunished agents; the effective gains through the promoted cooperation can be even higher when compared to what remains through the option of not cooperating (emphasis on absolute gains), but the distribution of these gains is unequal (realistic emphasis on the relative gains). Even after a few decades of international cooperation projects, the reasons and justifications for the assistance provided by some States to other countries aren't very clear, and the tensions between ethical norms and power in international relations remain (BLACK, 1968; EBERSTADT, 1988; HOOK, 1995; PRADO LALLANDE, 2008). The assistance provided by the United States in the post-war period was motivated by the Cold War order; that provided by France was motivated by the need to maintain a zone of African influence in the post-decolonization age. As Huntington (1970-1971) could underline, moral obligation concerns helping the poor people from the least developed countries instead of their governments, something which allows, according to the author's conception, many cooperation programs channeled through private organizations to meet this moral duty in a more effective way when compared to public bureaucratic structures, which tend to be driven by foreign policy interests. Among the benefit kinds that projects and financing initiatives may bring to the donor country, one could recall the access to strategic raw materials (ore, agricultural products, etc.), obtaining favorable votes in the multilateral system, containment of ideological enemies (the example of communism during the Cold War), promotion of interests related to foreign trade and investments, sale of surplus commodities, as well as the imposition of public policy models (economic adjustment, trade liberalization, etc.).

It's clear that many points explored by these approaches intersect and they can feed new intellectual constructs on the political and intellectual role of ICD in the contemporary world, equally under the light of new and emerging South-South cooperation dynamics. One is going to mobilize concepts and debates from the first two approaches in order to analyze, in this paper, the action by international agencies in the development of Duque de Caxias. Thus, it's possible to make visible, in the particular context of Duque de Caxias, a series of "aid frames", i.e. thinking ways which inform the action by political and economic actors on the issue of development cooperation (VAN DER VEEN, 2011), be they searching for the exercise of power/influence, wealth/economic interests, construction of reputation/self-assertion or, also, the defense of humanitarian values. Such aid frames enrich the understanding of ICD as a political field. As Bourdieu (1979; 1994) could say, a political field is a particular social universe and relatively autonomous, with its nomos and doxa, within a domain from which the agents recognize themselves on the basis of a differential division of available capitals (symbolic, economic, social, and cultural capital). Changes may occur in this political field, although the hierarchies tend more to permanence than transformation. For instance, over the last forty years, thanks, among other factors, to some of the criticisms briefly introduced in this paper, notions related to Western modernization were replaced by other forms of modernization and emancipation, the decolonization challenges were updated by the economic globalization, but what has conceptually remained constant within the ICD field is the key link which would unite nations and societies with wants and needs, on the one hand, to economic actors and operators, on the other, offering resources to meet them.

By setting underdevelopment as a state of privation (and not as the result of historical circumstances), when characterizing the underdeveloped ones as poor (without asking about the reasons for this poverty), one turns growth and international aid, designed in technocratic and quantitative terms, into the only possible answer (RIST, 1996, p. 131).

 

The Local Context of Duque de Caxias

Since its founding, in 1943, Duque de Caxias became a "bedroom town" with a significant number of migrants seeking employment and a life opportunity in Rio de Janeiro. Its population, estimated by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE, 2010) at 855,048 inhabitants, is almost exclusively urban (99.6%). Caxias has an annual GDP of R$ 29,148 billion (IBGE, 2010), the eighth largest Brazilian GDP and the second largest within the state of Rio de Janeiro. Its Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.753, according to the United Nations Program for Development (PNUD, 2000), below the HDI of the capital city, Rio de Janeiro (0.842) and the state average (0.807), occupying the 1,782nd position nationwide. According to official data from the city hall itself, 84.6% of its streets have sewage collection network and 95% of homes have treated water supply (PREFEITURA MUNICIPAL DE DUQUE DE CAXIAS, 2011).

According to IBGE (2010), it has 168 municipal schools, 102 state and 2 federal schools, 128 private schools, 1 state university, and 5 private universities; 1 state health care institution, 63 municipal health care institutions, and 148 private health care institutions. Its privileged geographic location favors both the installation of companies providing services and industries. Another strong point is its proximity to major highways, such as the Presidente Dutra Highway, the Washington Luiz Highway, the Brazil Avenue, the Red and Yellow lines. Close to the Tom Jobim International Airport and Rio de Janeiro's downtown, Duque de Caxias is frequently sought by companies which provide transportation and distribution of products, due to its logistic characteristics.

The first major industry to settle in the town of Duque de Caxias was Fábrica Nacional de Motores (FNM). The manufacturing plant has unique characteristics in our country, with underground workshops for protecting the facilities and employees in case of enemy air raids during the World War II. Its production in 1940s was concentrated on the explosion engines to equip airplanes, small boats, and military vehicles. With the victory of the allies at the end of the conflict, it was turned into a corporation, producing heavy duty trucks until the 1960s, the popular FNMs, much appreciated due to their robustness and varied applications. The plant was sold to Fiat in the late 1970s. Currently, these facilities remain in full activity, housing the Ciferal bus body factory.

With the installation of Refinaria Duque de Caxias (REDUC), in 1961, the town became one of the most important petrochemical poles in the country. Its processing capacity is 242,000 barrels/day (PMDC, 2011), one of the most complete oil refineries in Brazil, with a line of 52 products, including basic oils for lubricants, diesel, petrol, LPG, naphtha, aviation kerosene, paraffins, fuel oil, turpentine, among others. Its revenue in municipal, state, and federal taxes, revolves around R$ 1.2 billion/year. Currently, besides the REDUC of Petrobras and the companies which make up the gas, chemical, and petrochemical complex surrounding it, Ciferal (bus body factory), Turbomeca (manufacture and maintenance of helicopter turbines), are installed in the town of Duque de Caxias, IBF, INMETRO, the newspaper O Globo, Transportes Carvalhão, Sadia, the distribution center of Casas Bahia, numerous condominiums of logistics operators, the furniture pole, among others. There're 1,984 industries and 19,562 commercial establishments, according to the Municipal Finance Council.

It's worth stressing that, regardless of population density and the haphazard urbanization process, there're still numerous areas with rural aspects, lacking sanitation public services and basic infrastructure, such as electric power, street lighting, and drinking water. According to Alves (2002), in the Brazilian inequality context, one finds out in Duque de Caxias a proliferation of condominiums providing safety and recreational areas, occupied by families with a purchasing power much higher than the average observed among the local population. This kind of investment is funded by public resources, with the participation of private agents. One also notices the development of shopping centers.

Moreover, despite the high economic potential and financial vitality, Duque de Caxias perfectly illustrates the contradictory development model with inequality. It presents itself as one of the ten largest municipal economies in the country, a very large metropolitan area in the state of Rio de Janeiro, second only to the capital city, however, the social policies are poor and the human development indices are quite below its growth rates. According to the Institute for Studies on Work and Society (IETS, 2000), in the chapter titled "Condições de Saúde, Fatores de Vulnerabilidade da População" [Health Conditions, Population Vulnerability Factors], there's in the town of Duque de Caxias 0.2 physician per 1,000 inhabitants, while there're in the city of Rio de Janeiro 3.68 physicians per 1,000 inhabitants; the number of women aged from 15 to 17 years who have children is high, and, up to the moment, there's no family planning and prevention policies. This leads to a reality in which, in the town of Duque de Caxias, 10.31% of women within this age group are mothers, while in the metropolitan area this percentage is 8.33% and in the capital city it's 7.56%. In 2000, Duque de Caxias had 69.52% of its households connected to the treated water network, 27.84% of houses were supplied by wells or fountains, and 2.63% by other forms of supply (water truck, barrels on carts, rainwater) - with regard to the same kinds of distribution, Rio de Janeiro presented, respectively, 97.79%, 1.03%, and 1.18%.

Disordered growth with emergence of popular neighborhoods, slums, and poverty belts, lack of political and civic awareness of local inhabitants (which could require and oversee the execution of sanitation and infrastructure works), besides, the successive populist governments which were unable to treat the public good, could justify, at least partly, the situation described. Duque de Caxias, thus, reflects a scenario in which large companies share space with a population having low education, where youth has few prospects for developing itself with good quality. In this scenario, one found out, by means of visits during the field research, the role played by some NGOs in the power vacuum left by public institutions. The case of the Brazilian Institute of Innovations for a Healthy Society (IBISS) illustrates this perspective through the program to train local leaders, which identifies and trains citizens with a community leader profile, so that they start acting as local mobilizers. In 2006, IBISS received support from the Canadian NGO School Without Borders, which provided funds for the production of a documentary film by the garbage collectors themselves, in which the history of the location where they live was told.

Caxias also played an important role in the garbage policy in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Internationally recognized thanks to the impact of two documentary films - Estamira, in 2004, and Lixo Extraordinário, in 2011 -, the Jardim Gramacho Metropolitan Landfill started its activities in 1978. Located at one of the less developed areas of Caxias, the landfill received, until June 2012, about 7,000 tons of waste daily from 4 towns within Baixada Fluminense (Duque de Caxias, Nilopolis, Sao Joao de Meriti, and Queimados), in addition to 85% of the waste produced in the city of Rio de Janeiro. It's estimated that around 2,000 people worked on site and more than 20,000 directly or indirectly depended on the garbage economy (LACERDA, 2003). In 2005, the Jardim Gramacho Metropolitan Landfill reached its maximum capacity, something which sentenced its closure; this was postponed, however, on several occasions. The garbage accumulation peaked at over 80 m high, its capacity limit was surpassed, and this brought the risk of landslides and cracks. With its official closure, in June 2012, which occurred a few days after the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), Caixa Economica Federal (CEF), the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Brazilian Service of Support to Micro and Small Companies (SEBRAE) announced non-reimbursable funding, which reaches R$ 2.8 million, aimed at the training of collectors in order to foster professional reinsertion and development of microprojects. The enrolled garbage collectors received from the city of Rio de Janeiro compensation of about R$ 15,000. Some of them decided to create new businesses with the amount received, while others required from public authorities the construction of recycling sheds, in order to keep working with solid waste, however, under more dignified conditions. There still remain important challenges in terms of environmental restoration of the area occupied by the former landfill and its surroundings.

Given this brief report on the social, economic, political, and environmental conditions affecting Duque de Caxias, one asks: what have been the main actions implemented by the ICD agencies? What are the international agencies (governmental and non-governmental) which acted or still act on Duque de Caxias? Since when? Do they mobilize local knowledge for promoting their programs or foster international expertise and standardized packages with universal solutions to local problems? Do they apply some conditionality form? Do they foster social participation? Through which means? Are there mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating their projects? Such questions will be answered below.

 

Analysis Matrix and Methodological Aspects of the Empirical Research

From the methodological point of view, one should stress that the research, with a qualitative nature and eminently exploratory, became possible thanks to a series of observations gathered by means of field visits throughout 2011 and semi-structured interviews3 conducted in accordance with a previously prepared script4. As one can observe in Box 1, documents and institutional reports were also used, whenever made available by the institutions. It's worth stressing that there were many difficulties for gathering information, most of the times because neither the city hall (and its bodies) has systematized data nor the partner organizations involved in the implementation of projects are duly equipped to gather and provide information. Another situation that seems to be relevant is the lack of tradition with regard to the contact of local public and governmental institutions with research groups, the reason why, on some occasions, the dialogue with managers and representatives of municipal public bodies was pretty tense.

In the empirical research, as indicated in Box 1, one sought to identify the organizations which, with some presence in Brazil, also decided to act in the town of Duque de Caxias. One intended to understand what they do, their budget, which difficulties they may face, and which results they have obtained in terms of development strategies. Thus, one aimed to set an initial mapping of the four districts in Duque de Caxias with regard to the international institutions and agencies (public and private) having actions related to development at the municipal level, even though they can present quite varied sizes, budgets, origins, and purposes. The main research question assumes that it would be necessary and important to bring out aspects which remained "invisible" in the context of Duque de Caxias, without intending to state, nevertheless, that it is a phenomenon specific to the town concerned.

The first step was resorting to the city hall, where it was not possible to identify a body (advisory, council, or service) gathering such information. When there was some information available, it was segmented by area of interest (social, health, development) - therefore, dispersed, in various governmental institutions. By virtue of contrasts observed in the town, economic interest of groups, population number, and its territorial dimension, the city hall has a list of the projects and interventions - as well as their types and budgets - of international organizations acting in the town, updated by means of a database; it constitutes a task which requires great effort and political will. The field research conducted pointed out, at some moments, that the local organizations working with support from external funding are also quite distant from monitoring and control of public bodies or NGO federations. For instance, the Brazilian Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (ABONG) keeps registration and information with regard to all its members, however, it does not have a detailed report on the NGOs operating in the town of Duque de Caxias. That is, the first finding based on the research concerns the lack of detailed and systematized information about the development projects in Duque de Caxias, implemented through some kind of financial, technical, or intellectual support from international agencies. This way, it is understood that research makes visible some practices and methodologies adopted in the case of the town of Duque de Caxias.

Because of these difficulties, one resorted to the Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FIRJAN), which manages a fund within its Business Social Responsibility Advisory Council, in order to raise awareness, stimulate, and guide the Fluminense entrepreneurs for developing programs and actions aimed at the social responsibility theme. The Social Development Fund was created in 2003 by the FIRJAN system and the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) in order to encourage companies to invest in social projects which promote the generation of employment, income, and professional training, in partnership with NGOs. In 2010, FIRJAN, through the Business Social Responsibility Advisory Council, has renewed its partnership with IAF and received a new contribution of US$ 100,000. The Fund has already received nearly R$ 1,000,000 in resources, receiving in return a private investment of nearly 1,300,000. The Fund, responsible for the implementation of 41 projects by 2012, involving 47 companies and 33 NGOs, acts by mobilizing and informing the companies on priority themes with regard to social responsibility, besides formating, coordinating, monitoring, and evaluating social projects in partnership with social organizations, private initiatives, or the public power, seeking to contribute to the reduction of social inequality in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Since the projects and partner institutions applying the resources are selected, it is up to FIRJAN monitoring and developing partnerships to achieve the results. This first contact with FIRJAN was crucial to find new bodies and professionals for conducting the interviews.

 

Action by International Agencies: what do practices in Caxias reveal?

The international institutions identified through this survey do not act directly for promoting development in Duque de Caxias. When acting in the town, they execute their projects through their local representatives, usually charity institutions or local associations. In the case of transnational companies and their social responsibility projects, they operate through their subsidiaries settled in the vicinity of Duque de Caxias, through partnerships with public institutions (federal, state, or municipal government, development banks, ministries, councils, public companies), or through convened local organizations (federations, NGOs, and civil society organizations of public interest). One observes, here, a first invisibility level in the way these agencies act: they fund projects, define methodologies, but they do not act directly on Duque de Caxias. One produces, here, a repetition of the dichotomy field/desk, developed by David Mosse (2005), i.e. knowledge (methods, aims) and funding power are centralized and establish a hierarchical relation to the local context of practices. Despite the horizontality rhetoric of exchange, the practices of agencies establish asymmetric relations between partners.

Based on the meetings, the conducted interviews, and the collected data, one realizes that, since its emancipation from Nova Iguacu, Duque de Caxias has received numerous international projects aimed at promoting development. Several respondents allude to important past projects, without, however, providing neither further details nor accurate or systematized information about their results or the impacts they generated. The lack of construction of an institutional and social memory about the action by international agencies reveals a second level in this invisibility process: not only the international organizations do not act directly on the town; no one knows the history of their action. In this context, for the purposes of this study, the information collected is limited to projects which are still in progress. The list below gathers the projects which were identified during the field survey, also containing their respective international or national organizations which work through financial support from international contributions. All listed projects were operating when the field research was conducted in Duque de Caxias.

a) School Community Project: aimed at mobilizing and raising awareness on environmental sustainability, focused on children enrolled in public schools. It was implemented by the Ecological Association Ecomarapendi, through financial support from the Fund FIRJAN/IAF for social development and contributions from the companies Ciferal, Turismo Três Amigos, REDUC/Petrobras, Forza Fuel Stations Network, Sadia, Bayer, Resitec, Alfa Rio Chemistry, Polibrasil, Quiminfactor, and Petroflex. All these organizations support this project, whose budget, in 2012, amounts to R$ 66,388.44.

b) Project Sustainability for Jardim Gramacho: implemented by the NGO Doe Seu Lixo, through financial support from the Fund FIRJAN/IAF for social development in a partnership with the Coca-Cola Institute, applied to the neighborhood of Jardim Gramacho in order to increase the capacity to separate and select recyclable materials of Associacao dos Catadores do Aterro Metropolitano de Jardim Gramacho (ACAMJG). Total budget, in 2012: R$ 60,651.80.

c) Project for social inclusion and professional training: aimed at the garbage collectors who will lose their current livelihood from the very moment when the Jardim Gramacho Metropolitan Landfill is closed. Japan's Government, through the World Bank, in a partnership with CEF and SEBRAE, provides non-reimbursable funding, restricted to the acquisition of resources for training and social inclusion of collectors, which amounts to R$ 2,800,000 (total budget in 2012).

d) Project Life Patchwork, Village Patchwork: implemented by the NGO Casa da Mulher Caxiense Ruth Cardoso, an organization created through funding provided by the municipal administration. The project receives financial support from the Fund FIRJAN/IAF for social development and it has the participation of Renner stores; its budget amounts to R$ 33,884.30 (total budget in 2012).

e) Various projects of the International Rotary Club, with financial resources generated by the club itself or obtained from other international clubs, implemented by its subsidiary in Duque de Caxias. They present the following results: building the Rotary School in Santa Cruz da Serra (in the 3rd district of Duque de Caxias); organizing the informatics room at the Rotary Municipal School; building and equipping a bakery at the boarding school in Sao Bento; producing and renovating the apparatuses of the military police and the fire department with financial resources obtained from businessmen in the town; purchase of vehicles for these public institutions; creation of a bank for assisting temporarily handicapped people, loaning wheelchairs, crutches, and hospital beds without any cost for the beneficiaries (when the time for using these equipment expires, the beneficiaries return them for maintenance purposes, making them available for other candidates to this benefit); equipment donation to the DC Hospital Municipal, through the initiative Brazilian Mission Vision II, for the purpose of performing cataract surgeries; donation of equipment for assembling the eye clinic at Hospital Ismélia da Silveira (for children); installation of an ICU facility at Hospital Adão Pereira Nunes (Saracuruna); opening of a cardiology care room at the Municipal Health Unit in Campos Eliseos (Rotary Club of Porto Rico); provision of eye exams and glasses at the Integrated Educational Center (ERC) of DC; installation of a broom workshop at the Rural Society Casa do Caminho (Xerem) and donation of food in Casa da Amizade; creating a unity of Rotaract, which is a network of services within a community or university, aimed at members between 18 and 30 years of age, operating in 170 countries, focused on humanitarian projects and professional development activities. All actions by the International Rotary Club are performed through the Rotary Club of Duque de Caxias. However, their budgets were not informed during the research.

f) Project Recicloleo: implemented by the NGO Trama Ecologica, with financial resources from the Australian Embassy, aimed at the home collection of saturated cooking oil (used) which, once processed, can lead to the production of bar soap, detergent, and paste soap, creating an income opportunity for the families involved and, in terms of primary environmental, reducing waste in the sewage networks or disposal as household waste.

In addition to these six activity sets, other projects were mentioned by several respondents, without, however, any detailing with regard to their aims or information on their current development stage. People recalled, for instance, the reading workshop, encouraging young people and children to acquire the reading habit; the digital inclusion project, for using and handling computers, informatics with text editing courses, use of the world wide web, assembly and maintenance of computers; the project for producing ecological bricks; the projects for producing imitation jewelry, creation of organic community vegetable-garden, dance, theater, and ballet groups, survey of demographic data with regard to the population through the gathering of information such as weight, height, body mass index, and other, for feeding databases for surveys related to the malnutrition level among the population. It was mentioned that all these projects receive various funding resources, including those from international agencies, but no detailed information was provided.

The field work demonstrated the significant distance between what the respondents themselves claimed to constitute social and economic needs in Duque de Caxias, the cooperation rhetoric (the scale of their promises), and the types of projects developed by international agencies (their practices). It also confirmed several aspects highlighted in the academic literature on the cooperation theme and the role of international agencies with regard to developing countries. For instance, the interviews revealed the existence of international agencies (governmental or not) using governmental organizations and NGOs as partners for conducting projects and deploying their actions. Among them, one recalls the Australian Embassy, the German Embassy, but also international organizations such as the IAF, World Vision, Caritas International (through Caritas of Brazil), Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and International Rotary Club. It is worth highlighting that the transnational companies and business foundations (such as SHV Gases and the Coca-Cola Institute) also act on development projects in Caxias, through social responsibility programs, although this has not been the main focus of this research.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has no record of action in the town of Duque de Caxias, although this information has been provided by one of its employees residing in Brazil. Locally, no data were found to support this statement, something which may simply mean that there is a lack of organization and systematization of such data at the municipal level. IDB informed, however, the average values for projects related to the cultural area, claiming to have applied values ranging from US$ 3,000 to US$ 7,000 per project at various locations within Baixada Fluminense. This information gap at the municipal level reveals that some development actions, implemented with the support of international agencies, can occur without being known to the city hall itself, which does not systematize the information about projects put into action or their aims and outcomes.

 

Mapping of the international agencies (public and private): the visible and the invisible

One confirmed the presence of international governmental organizations, NGOs, foundations of multinational corporations, charitable organizations (religious), as well as associations and national organizations using resources and international support, according to Box 2. There must be other institutions operating in the town, however, due to the lack of systematized data locally available, it was not possible to identify them. There are no records on the date when many of these projects implemented by international organizations where put into action. Some of them, such as Freemasonry, were mentioned, but neither further explanation nor any detailing about possible connections to transnational Freemasonry networks. It was possible to collect the following data from the Masonic Association Ary Vieira Martins (AMAVIM): it is present in the town since the 1950s; it does not have a specific project, but provides constant support to any institution which wishes to help improving the life conditions of residents and citizens from Duque de Caxias; it collects resources from its different lodges and the business sector.

The reasons which could justify the presence of international agencies were partly alluded to during the interviews. Many of the reasons given relate to the basic needs of the town itself in the fields of education, health, environmental protection, opportunities related to entrepreneurship offered to the residents benefiting from the projects, generation of employment and income, public safety, infrastructure services, among others. It is worth noticing that these areas are related to key sectors of the public policies, however, many respondents tended to mention them from a technical instead of a political perspective. As Tânia Murray Li (2007) could state, rendering technical generates a concomitant ontological and epistemological hierarchy among those involved in a project, the partners. The author argues that this process tends to confirm the role of experts (most of them outside the context of practices) and she defines a boundary between those who present themselves as being reliable (trained people who are able both to diagnose and prescribe) and those who should submit themselves to guidance and discipline.

Moreover, the international institutions operate in other countries, other states, and other towns, usually with similar projects, varying in terms of thematic priorities and the budgets involved. Differently, the business foundations which fund local development projects in Duque de Caxias do not necessarily have actions in other locations following the same pattern, but projects also related to local development in countries which host industrial plants, seeking to generate good neighborly relations with nearby communities. Clearly, in many of these projects implemented by business foundations one can try decreasing what is usually named "negative external effects" (effects produced, however, unwanted, on the economic activities of the respective companies), such as air pollution, contamination of rivers and soils, among others.

 

Modus operandi, management, and decision-making

It has been shown that organizations, through their local partners, execute specific and small-scale projects, following the pilot project logic model. Such projects are rarely monitored by the public spheres of local power, often escaping the governmental radars for identification and follow-up. The result is that many of them can be implemented and executed without a formal knowledge on the part of the city hall, thus, without creating an actual interface with the management of local public policies. The number of people involved varies depending on the project, which is usually executed, at its tip, by the members of partner institutions, experts hired for a previously established period, relatives and friends of its members or volunteers connected to various associations.

One intended to learn from the international organizations whether, in their modus operandi, they conducted the project in a direct manner or resorted to third parties, constituting local partnerships. It was identified that one of the biggest challenges faced by international donors is directly related to local organizers and intermediary people. Several respondents pointed out the poor administration of many local NGOs, which is translated into difficulty for matching the standards set by financial supporters, poor understanding of instructions, and lack of clarity to meet the needs required to receive financial resources, manage projects, and evaluate the outcomes. There are difficulties for interpreting instructions, reporting expenses, and producing reports, besides the lack of clarity and transparency in the information provided. The difficulty for formatting and tabulating data is another obstacle pointed out.

Resuming Ferguson (1994) it is interesting to notice that the research carried out in Duque de Caxias tends to confirm the worldview according to which development could be addressed as a technical problem. That is, what the interviews reveal tend to confirm that development may be a technical issue which does not require historical and political considerations (towards problem-building), but it does require tools and solutions (towards problem-solving). One may even notice in this process a strategy (often invisible) of depoliticizing power relations at the municipal level. By emphasizing the "administrative" dimension or the lack of "management ability", the international agencies and their partners exclude power relations for constructing the "development problem", minimizing issues related to control of productive means and administrative, legal, and political structures which systematically support the inequalities (LI, 2007).

The survey revealed, besides, an important gap related to developing content aimed at training managers of these local organizations involved in obtaining and managing external financial resources. One found out that the most structured and organized NGOs survive with less difficulty, because they seek to constitute partnerships, receive new resources as soon as the complete projects meet the initial expectations. The same occurs with the local offices of international associations which, by concentrating expertise and ability to report expenses thanks to the networks to which they belong, tend to be more able to receive new resources for the projects they propose. One may recall the case of the Rotary Club: according to the official interviewed, the local Rotary club is able to identify demands, design projects to execute and solve problem situations, submits its proposals to the main office, located in Rio de Janeiro, receiving authorization for donations from other clubs around the world. When the donor Rotary club is identified, the transfer is done, the project is implemented, and, finally, one needs to organize the report of expenses. NGOs that are not trained tend to disappear or receive small projects with shy budgets, as some respondents pointed out.

One realized the concern of many respondents with regard to the alignment between their organization and management practices and the funding companies and foundations, something which leads them to seek a better administrative structure, the arrangement of the effective and variable set of human resources aimed at the execution of projects, and an active fundraising policy. The rhetoric of social marketing tends to be adopted in order to adapt to the social responsibility "market". Not always the aims (political, cultural, social) of organizations are observed in this process, given the need to attract and obtain resources. This means that many local organizations seek to adapt to the fundraising agendas, without achieving, nevertheless, continued success. One also notices the migration move of NGOs interested in being enrolled as Civil Society Organizations of Public Interest (OSCIP), in accordance with the Brazilian federal Law 9,790, enacted on March 23, 1999. The migration of many NGOs (with the association statute) to the OSCIP status, according to respondents, facilitates the constitution of partnerships with the public power, as well as the acquisition of financial resources which will be invested in projects by international actors.

Regarding the decision-making process, the interviews revealed that the strategies about the allocation of financial resources for funding projects are decided in the countries of origin of funds and resources, through basic policy guidelines, such as the priority on human development, fighting violence, reducing poverty, environmental protection, and human rights promotion, among other themes which can be easily found in official documents produced by public and private actors of the international development cooperation. The role played by the local offices or, in some cases, the partner organizations, is more limited to the analysis and formulation of project proposals, in order to check the compatibility of interests between what was proposed and the policy guidelines, and, at the same time, validate the local organization ability to put this agenda into practice. One confirms, in this case, dissociation between those who define the policy prescriptions (the headquarters, the provider of financial resources) and the practical implementation of projects, deriving from dysfunctions in the very architecture of ICD, instead of constituting a local resistance form claiming ownership in the programs' implementation process (FERGUSON, 1994; LI, 2007; MOSSE, 2005).

Some institutions (such as the Fund FIRJAN/IAF) have lists of organizations previously evaluated or those with a proved action on other projects, something which makes them suitable for executing projects. Local offices have a significant dependency on the grants from their headquarters. Usually, the autonomy is limited to the choice and monitoring of the local institutions which will apply actions directly to the people or groups benefiting from the projects. In short, the biggest problems faced by the organizations interviewed were identified in the phase of selecting local institutions suitable to apply and deploy the projects chosen or proposed, as well as in the phase of reporting expenses on projects in progress or those already concluded. The low level of organization and local administrators' knowledge still generates barriers to the acquisition of financial resources and the subsequent follow-up of the designed actions.

 

Impact, evaluation of results, and interface with the public policies

One can notice a gap between the rhetoric and the practice, between what is said to be done and what actually happens, as well as between governmental actors at all levels (federal, state, and municipal) and what is actually expected when carrying out the development proposals at the municipal level. This distance is also reflected on ineffective actions and the ability to plan, propose, and evaluate them. The lack of dialogue between the public power spheres generates segmentation and overlap of projects, something which helps extending the time for designing and implementing, as well as the movements by the various actors involved. The lack of coordination and connection results from the low interaction level between municipal, state, and federal officials, whether due to ideological differences between political parties whose representatives are the decision makers or to delay in the acquisition of the promised budget. The lack of democratic and transparent local governance is, thus, an aggravating factor of local problems in Duque de Caxias, as stated by several respondents.

A case which perfectly illustrates this perception concerns the transfer of announced financial resources amounting to nearly US$ 1,000,000,000 from the town to other priorities of the state of Rio de Janeiro. In fact, the amount of financial resources announced by the state government of Rio de Janeiro at the time of signing the project, in partnership with the US Embassy, money deriving from the signing of a conduct adjustment term (CAT) by Petrobras, was around US$ 1,000,000,000. However, the effective allocation of resources for turning Jardim Gramacho into a sustainable neighborhood model, scheduled for 2012, due to the meeting for celebrating the 20 years of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, did not occur, yet.

These are also issues related to the local and regional history and politics, which, as argued, tend to become invisible or simply lessened in the classical development equations traditionally advocated for by the international agencies operating in the ICD field. Beyond the hierarchies which such practices reveal, one must mention a tendency to ignore the local contexts, as if the solutions to different development problems were always susceptible to standardization (ESCOBAR, 1994; HAYTER, 1971; MOSSE, 2005).

It is true that, in some cases, several actors directly involved in the social, educational, or economic problems can be heard and consulted. The revitalization of the drainage basin serving Baixada Fluminense and the closure of the Jardim Gramacho Metropolitan Landfill were subject to public debates attended by local leaders, illustrating some efforts to improve social participation in the management of local public policies, not without conflicts or problems, for instance, with regard to the asking for concrete solutions on the part of garbage collectors organized into associations, as revealed in the interview with the NGO Trama Ecologica.

Another point highlighted in the interviews is related to the lack of continuity to projects implemented in a given term, be they at the municipal or state government level. When there is no reelection or when the group that takes power and succeeds the previous one is from another political party, the projects are reduced or even abandoned. One observes the need for institutional mechanisms enabling a sequence and continuity to social and local development projects - be they implemented or not through support by international agencies - and their survival to government changes, in order to allow closing the started cycle and collecting the fruits expected from the project.

Regarding the existence of follow-up, monitoring, and evaluation of projects, the survey revealed that, at the onset of the identified projects, there is a definition of indicators, a time when the expectations are agreed (the set of primary and secondary aims) and the criteria and parameters for evaluation and monitoring are defined, which can vary according to the project's type and size, as well as to its sponsor. The standard for reporting expenses adopted by FIRJAN/IAF, for instance, tends to prioritize quantitative data. According to the size and administrative ability of each local organization chosen, one sets 3 or 4 quantitative indicators for measurement and follow-up. Depending on the case, qualitative indicators may be selected; usually, it is more difficult to measure and prove them. Some organizations operating in Duque de Caxias, such as the Fund FIRJAN/IAF, are constantly monitoring and following up, although one attributes an excessive emphasis on quantitative data at the time of filling the reports, gathering and tabulating data, or, also, reporting expenses.

The survey revealed - through questions on the qualitative results of executed projects (directly or by means of third parties) - that it is up to executing NGOs the analysis of impacts and results. The international institutions follow-up the steps through periodical reports, confirming whether what was predicted actually came true. It was noticed that, during these evaluations, some changes can occur with regard to direction and aim. Moreover, the kinds of supported actions remained the same throughout the permanence of the international agencies in Duque de Caxias, varying according to the opportunity to expand the scope of action or due to facts contributing to the project's evolution. A typical case which may be mentioned involves the interest in projects related to sustainability in the region of Jardim Gramacho: since it was announced that the landfill operating there would be closed, there was an increase in promises of projects and external funding. This fact illustrates a double characteristic which may be interpreted in, at least, two ways. On the one hand, it becomes clear that the opportunities are fruitful, for instance, in the speech of a representative of a NGO mentioning his plans to open a subsidiary of its organization close to the Petrochemical Complex of Rio de Janeiro (COMPERJ) in Itaborai, a town which currently receives great attention because of the investments and direct and indirect jobs involved in this venture. He also announced the intention to open another branch of his organization in the vicinity of the Sepetiba Port, where, in June 2010, a steel company was inaugurated, Thyssen Krupp CSA Atlantic Steel, increasing the number of companies installed there. This view of opportunities highlights the entrepreneurial character in search of new sites for the application of projects and consequent allocation of financial resources deriving from donations that come from various countries. On the other hand, there is a risk of confusing the boundaries between the public and private spheres when local development projects merge public interests (related to the common good and the public good) and strategic and economic interests of some segments (even on the part of NGOs).

During the study, it was observed that contributions by the international agencies acting on local development projects in the town of Duque de Caxias are ambivalent. On one hand, there is a need for recognizing that these agencies can provide, on a timely basis, solutions to problems related to lack of development. For the representative of the Rotary Club of Duque de Caxias, "it would be hard to imagine how worse the general scenario might be without the various agents and kinds of help put into action in the assisted communities", an opinion which is similar to that of other respondents. Generally speaking, from the viewpoint of the surveyed organizations, one realizes an improvement in living conditions of those residents and citizens from Duque de Caxias benefiting from the projects. For the NGOs, particularly, continued support from international agencies is critical to the implementation of projects and fundraising. The higher the level of training and organization of institutions aimed at the execution of projects, the greater the flow of financial resources raised abroad for being applied to the local context. On the other hand, one notices, in this case, a very strategic and utilitarian reasoning on the part of respondents who are leaders of NGOs and associations. The "international" represents the link to the financial resources. Locally, there isn ot in Duque de Caxias some criticism with regard to the role played by international agencies in terms of exporting models, colonizing the local knowledge, imposing exogenous standards, among other aspects mentioned in the introduction to this paper.

For the governmental organizations and agencies, insofar as the countries go forward in improving social indicators, the resources should be allocated to communities in other regions presenting the worst social indicators. For the surveyed governmental spheres (municipal governmental level), the financial resources coming from external support are also positive, since the organizations funded by these institutions create jobs, trigger the local economy, and act on contexts that should be addressed by government itself, but they are not. The activities described as projects put into action by the Rotary Club illustrate this situation, with the creation and purchase of equipment for schools, hospital units, acquisition and renovation of police and firefighter cars. However, nothing was said during the interviews with regard to the link (crucial, from the point of view presented here) between the projects' logic (a shorter term) and the public policies' dynamics (generally, structuring and long-term).

According to the beneficiaries' view, the projects of international agencies can bring improvement, especially for living conditions in their communities, as in the example shown in the development projects involving local leaders, who contribute to the politicization of these actors in the communities, their understanding ability with regard to their rights and duties, and this leads them to require and oversee the execution of construction works and actions aimed at improving the social indicators of their community. One noticed, throughout the research and interviews, that, for the population of Duque de Caxias, which requires public policies due to the fact it is immersed in the aforementioned paradox of living both with companies that generate wealth and extreme poverty, the way how to break the poverty cycle does not depend only on external support, but on: (i) formal and professional education in segments aimed at the absorption in the installed industrial park targeting companies which can install their units in this town; (ii) improvement of living conditions, with better access to clean water, sewage, supply of public transport on a regular basis and with a good quality, paving of streets, elimination of illegal garbage dumps, application of public health policies, improvement of safety, and creation of jobs. As in other towns with poor social work, one finds out that the lack of family planning leads to uncontrolled population growth. As evidenced by IETS (2000), the birth rate among very young women is higher in Duque de Caxias when compared to the capital city of Rio de Janeiro. With this scenario, the adoption of policies aimed at education could, in the medium term, improve the education level, promoting people's awareness and, thus, increasing the effectiveness of actions for the local development in progress and those which will come, also with the support of international agencies.

 

Final Remarks

Throughout this research, it was possible to identify their presence and to notice some forms of action of international agencies, be they governmental or not, non-associative, philanthropic, charitable, which provide services and implement projects in the local development field in Duque de Caxias. Their scope includes a wide variety of activities, ranging from ecological awareness, popular and education mobilization with regard to environmental sustainability issues, to capacity-building projects, through the provision of scholarships in vocational technical schools, reading workshops for young people and children, digital inclusion projects, training of local agents from civil society organizations, seeking to train them to oversee the application of public resources in their community, among others.

However, despite the relatively significant number of projects and the kinds of activity undertaken, international agencies lack a minimum coordination and a systematic dialogue with the local officials. They have no direct and field action for promoting their development activities at the municipal level. When doing that, they conduct their projects through local partners (charity or associative institutions). In the case of foundations of transnational companies, they can act through their subsidiaries installed in Duque de Caxias or its vicinity. The international agencies also fund projects through Brazilian public institutions (federal, state, and municipal governments, development banks, ministries, councils, public companies) or, also, through local private organizations (federations, NGO, OSCIP).

The lack of coordination and connection between the public power spheres is also noticeable, whether within the existing structures of the town of Duque de Caxias or in the state government of Rio de Janeiro. One noticed that the problem occurs not so much due to lack of commitment or dialogue between employees, but, in fact, it is historical and political, as there has not been, throughout these years after the 1988 Constitution, a consolidated dialogue between governmental spheres and the agencies, aligned and able to overcome the transitions from a government to another one. There is no structural and long-term plan to continue the projects which will be started and keep running the channels which will be opened. Problems such as overlap and repetition of activities lead to the deterioration of local indicators of human development. The public good ends up being highly affected by lack of political will and more transparent and democratic public administration.

Another aspect to be highlighted is the mass media opportunism or the fad of certain themes, leading international agencies to participate more actively in particular ventures, as one could observe in the case of the revitalization of Jardim Gramacho. Sustainable development, the environmental protection theme, and the so-called "green" wave have attracted international agencies, such as the US government at the time when the Jardim Gramacho landfill was closed. Now, one intends to choose the project for the agenda of Rio +20, in order to turn it into a model (a best practice) for sustainable cities. Still with regard to the role of international agencies, one notices their absence at the local level, a lack of knowledge on the local context and the very implementation of projects (and the results obtained). There are not more systematic evaluations on what effectively remains over the years from so many developed projects. In fact, their actions are often overly decentralized and implemented by distant partners, which act as the operational branch, deploying actions in the assisted communities, however, not always committed to the structural change that would require a context of huge inequalities and disparities.

Through this research, one noticed, moreover, lack of local training for the actors involved, be it in the governmental spheres or within local agencies or institutions acting as interlocutors or change agents in the management and implementation of projects. Intermediary institutions, state-sized, such as FIRJAN, which acts through the Fund FIRJAN/IAF, may be regarded as an exception, since they are aimed at training institutions for local operation, supporting and following up throughout the implementation of projects. The development of structures, lectures, thematic meetings, leadership training, and courses aimed at managers of local institutions could, in the future, increase the quality of information provided and the professionalism and historical and political knowledge level of institutions dedicated to deploy actions within the communities. Many respondents emphasized this statement.

Another important point revealed by the field research was the lack of systematized information about the institutions acting on the town. The class associations gathering the agencies and the city hall do not focus on this information. When there is information, it is incomplete or dispersed among several local councils. One found out that this control and mapping are important so that one becomes able to know and follow-up the movements of international agencies (and the national ones), since they should dialogue with those representing the local power - the city hall or governmental structures (municipal/state) - who, because of their lack of ability to adequately systematize and coordinate, only notice the presence of agencies when they need the public power to articulate or deploy some action or project. When there is no need of help and partnership with the local government, the international agencies and their partners are not included either in the official reports or subject to the official control and monitoring. This way, FIRJAN could play a prominent role in order to encourage entrepreneurs to raise funds, the allocation of financial resources to invest in development across the state, including the town of Duque de Caxias, as revealed in an interview with the woman who coordinates this area. One of its tasks with regard to the future could be, even, encouraging the public administration to systematize, in an organized and transparent way, data related to the projects implemented by international agencies. This gap could be filled through an effort on the part of FIRJAN in partnership with the city hall.

This research also showed that the state of Rio de Janeiro has a project for future systematization and followup of international projects, which is however in an embryonic phase. On the one hand, the public officials do not provide such control and follow-up; on the other hand, there is no mobilization or interest on the part of local citizens in the theme, except isolated efforts of involvement in local councils and forums for discussing the problems of local development in Duque de Caxias. Thus there are relevant gaps in terms of organized action at the municipal level, such as the incorporation to the ordinary activities of advisory services on international relations or international cooperation, which could be directly responsible for, among other things, the systematization of practices, the evaluation of projects, the follow-up of actions, and fundraising. Duque de Caxias could inspire itself on numerous experiences of paradiplomacy in other towns (SALOMON and NUNES, 2007).

It is in this sense, recognizing the difficulties associated to the very lack of more detailed information about the role of ICD agencies in Duque de Caxias, there is empirical evidence that reveals a large amount of criticism pointed out by many researchers and intellectuals through a look at the procedures, established rules, and the very reality of the "inner game" of development cooperation. Therefore this research allowed visualizing many issues related to action by these agencies in Caxias, especially with regard to the asymmetries between those who set the priorities and those who experience the needs in their daily lives, as well as with regard to the hierarchies between knowledge and practices. Moreover, corroborating Easterly and Pfutze (2008), the statistical data on the expenses of each agency (bilateral and multilateral) are opaque at the municipal level, do not respond to the needs pointed out by local organizations, especially concerning the administrative costs (of donors and beneficiaries) and the way how financial resources are spent. This has generated a fragmentation in the cooperative efforts: there are numerous small agencies motivated by humanitarian and reputational aid-frames; division into sectors is excessive (stressing compartmentalized views about development), hindering the action of non-governmental organizations as "mediator actors" in terms of social control over the projects and policies; the financial resources are targeted without due transparency and through ineffective institutional channels; and, as a consequence, there is a lack of coordination between agencies, local government, and NGOs. These are just some of the many challenges faced by managers and citizens from Duque de Caxias in the various forms of relationships that they can keep with the international agencies for promoting the development of their town.

 

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Paper submitted on September 28th, 2012 and accepted for publication on May 8th, 2013.

 

 

This version corresponds to the translated text of the original paper in Portuguese.
1 Many studies on public policy transfer in Brazil are based on classic institutionalist texts, such as those by Dolowitz and Marsh (1996; 2000), Johnson (2006), Stone (2004), and Evans and Davies (1999).
2 In recent decades, middle-income countries have developed their own cooperation institutions within the so-called South-South Cooperation. Here, we limit ourselves to discuss the North-South Cooperation, although many of these issues may be useful for further research on action by countries such as Brazil, India, Turkey, or South Africa in the ICD field.
3 The following individuals were interviewed: Therezinha Domingas Paes, Secretary of Social Work and Human Rights at the Duque de Caxias city hall (04/07/2011); Antônio Joaquim C. Cunha, First Secretary of the Rotary Club - Duque de Caxias (05/12/2011); Antônio Pena, Masonic Association Ary Vieira Martins (AMAVIM) (05/31/2011); Elba Gusti, Inter-American Development Bank (email interview, 05/12/2011); Glória Cristina dos Santos, Financial Director of Associacao dos Catadores do Jardim Gramacho (ACAMJG) (05/31/2011); Helan Nogueira, NGO Trama Ecologica (05/11/2011); Jorge Migon, Manager of the Regional Representation of FIRJAN in Baixada Fluminense (04/01/2011); Jorge Pinheiro, Coordinator at the State Environmental Institute (INEA), state government of Rio de Janeiro (10/03/2011); Jorge Rezende, former Secretary of Economic Development of Duque de Caxias (05/09/2011); Luiz dos Santos Silva, Employment and Income Advisor at the Duque de Caxias city hall (05/19/2011); Simone Klein, Coordinator of the Social Responsibility Advisory Council (FIRJAN) (04/28/2011). Everyone authorized the disclosure of their names.
4 The script consisted of the following questions: what are the international agencies (governmental and non-governmental) which, as far as you know, acted or still act in Duque de Caxias? Since when? Why did this organization choose to act in this town? Do they work in any other Brazilian town? How many and what are the projects developed in DC? Could you describe the project (aims, theme, budget, etc.)? Is there any field team working in Caxias? What are the biggest problems faced (and at what action stage)? Are there mechanisms of follow-up, monitoring, and evaluation? From the implemented actions, was it possible to obtain results through the work undertaken? Did the supported action kinds remain similar over time? Who does define these strategies and the agency's local offices or headquarters (the first ones)? How do you analyze the autonomy/dependency degree of the local office on the headquarters? Analyzing the period, did the resource volumes aimed to fund actions for local development in Caxias, the indicators, remain stable, improve, or worsen? How would you evaluate your agency's participation in the local development of Caxias? Is it possible to speak of public policies for the local development of Caxias? What contributions do you think your agency provided the local development of Caxias with?

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