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About INESC

In the world we live in, nothing is more urgent than the guarantee of human rights for all. For that to happen, we need to improve democratic processes, strengthen citizens and popular movements, and combat all forms of oppression, inequality and prejudice. It is in this spirit that we have been working since 1979.

We are a non-governmental, non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Brasília. For 40 years we have been working politically with partner organizations of civil society and social movements to raise a voice in national and international forums for public policy and human rights discussion, always keeping an eye on the public budget. We believe that understanding and interpreting this budget is a fundamental part of promoting and strengthening citizenship and guaranteeing the rights of all citizens.

Our work

We at INESC act as facilitators, collaborating to translate into a simple language the public budget by the population. We prepare children, youth, adults and social movements to understand this important instrument of distribution of public money, and from there, to oversee and challenge public authorities. This way they can demand that the state respect their fundamental rights.

We also produce and disseminate information and analysis to enrich the public debate, promote awareness and engagement campaigns, and work with the three branches of government (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary) to defend political positions in defense of democracy and human rights.

Institutional Mission

To contribute to the improvement of democratic processes with the aim of guaranteeing human rights, through dialogue with citizens, articulation and the strengthening of civil society to influence the national and international spaces of governance and the societal conscience.

Download the statute (in Portuguese)

Histórico
  • INESC Foundation
    1979
  • National Congress and social movement demands
    1981
  • Special Adviser on Human Rights in Latin America
    1983 / 1984
  • First National Meeting of Amazon Rubber Tappers
    1985
  • Constituent Assembly, land reform and foreign debt
    1988
  • 10 years of INESC
    1989
  • Promulgation of the ECA (Portuguese initials for the Child and Adolescent Statute)
    1990
  • Budget and Rights
    1991
  • Eco 92 and President Fernando Collor’s impeachment
    1992
  • Map of hunger among indigenous peoples in Brazil
    1994
  • 20 years of INESC
    1999
  • Seminar "The multiannual plan in Lula's government: participation and social control"
    2003
  • 25 years of INESC
    2004
  • Social Movements for Political System Reform Platform
    2005
  • Death of INESC’s founder
    2007
  • INESC receives a prize for its Budget & Rights Metolodogy
    2009
  • Ficha Limpa [Clean Sheet Law], Descolad@s Magazine and the Amazonian Financing Observatory
    2010
  • Legislative proposal for the Popular Initiative for Political Reform
    2011
  • Rio+20 and Nossa Brasília [Our Brasilia] Movement
    2012
  • Budget within Reach and Mining
    2013
  • Reformulation of training methodology and processes
    2017
  • New website, new logo and Itaú-Unicef Award
    2018
  • Brief History

    1979

    Maria José Jaime, called Bizeh, our founder, was a human rights defender who participated in the main struggles and campaigns for freedom, justice and human dignity. “During my exile, I began to understand the Congress and to see the precariousness in terms of advocacy for deputies and senators, so I had the idea of creating an institution that would provide this kind of advice.”

    Our first logo was a graphic representation of the Congress. “The name was chosen in honor of the Iese [initials in Portuguese to Institute of Social and Economic Studies], which we had created in Chile before the 1973 coup. To prevent misunderstanding with Dieese (a research, advisory and educational institution of the Brazilian labor movement), INESC would keep the logo, but would change the acronym, that became INESC”, explains Bizeh. Important names from Brazilian democratic history took part of our first Consulting Board, formed during INESC’s foundation to give support to the institution:

    • Darcy Ribeiro: Brazilian anthropologist, writer and politician, one of theresponsible for creating the University of Brasília. Mr. Ribeiro was the Education minister and head of Civil House under João Goulart Administration.
    • Hebert de Souza, called Betinho: founder of Ibase (Portuguese initials to Brazilian Institute for Social and Economic Analysis), led the Citizenship Action for Life, against Hunger and Misery, and Bizeh’s personal friend from their militancy in the organization Ação Popular (Popular Action).
    • Plínio Arruda Sampaio: lawyer, member of the 1988 Constituent Assembly, candidate in the 2010 Brazilian presidential election.

    Brief History

    1981

    We began to present social claims to the National Congress, which consolidates INESC as an important mediator between organized civil society and parliamentarians during the period of political opening to democracy.

    Brief History

    1983 / 1984

    In July 1983, we were requested by congressman Arthur Virgilio to prepare a dossier about the political situation in Nicaragua and organize a delegation of parliamentarians to go to the Central American country. In 1984, we began to provide specific advice on Human Rights – as opinion, data and subsidies – to Brazilian parliamentarians about the political and social situation of Latin American countries.

    Brief History

    1985

    Between October 11th and 17th 1985, we organized, together with Pró-memoria Foundation of the Ministry of Culture, the first National Meeting of Amazon Rubber Tappers.

    The meeting aimed at bringing their claims to congressmen and government agencies. The National Council of Rubber Tappers was created during the meeting, and further up became the category’s reference in fighting for their rights. After the event, INESC sent the meeting report to institutions such as the Superintendence of Rubber, in addition to parliamentary offices committed to social struggles.

    Brief History

    1988

    Foto: arquivo Inesc

    Organized popular sectors took part in the Constituent Assembly. INESC began to mediate dialogues between these sectors and congressmen, bringing to Brasilia social claims from all over Brazil, especially regarding Land Reform, Human Rights, Environmental and Indigenous Issues. “INESC was very close to leadership and references related to these issues, the indigenous in particular, to be able to win an exclusive chapter about this topic in Federal Constitution. Thereby we could help formulate proposals that have been incorporated, and other amendments in the Constituent”, tells Iara Pietricoviski, from the management board of INESC. Land reform

    Book “Agrarian Reform. Why?”, Published by INESC, it defends the land reform and explains its importance in reducing inequalities.

    Land reform is one of the strategic lines of INESC agency since its foundation. Concerns about the impacts of the land issue on the economic life of the country, as well as on the justice in the field, guided our work in this area. During the Constituent Assembly, we defended, in partnership with organizations of the sector, an exclusive chapter for land reform. The proposal was made unfeasible by the “centrão” [big center], a conservative group of parliamentarians opposed to the social achievements approved in the first phase of the Constituent Assembly. Foreign debt becomes one of INESC priority areas “Because it is a crucial issue for Brazilian society, INESC created another area of activity: the Foreign Debt Service Advisor, headed by Luiz Fenelon P. Barbosa, who has been editing for more than two the Informative Report of the Foreign Debt, with recognized importance for the popular movement”, was written in the letter sent by INESC to congressmen announcing the new area of activity in November 1988.

    Brief History

    1989

    Foto: Secretaria de Agricultura e Abastecimento do Estado de São Paulo

    Rubber tappers and the rubber prices. INESC performance in mediating civil society and Congress can be exemplified by the case of the repudiation of the American ambassador nomination, and the case of National Council of Rubber Tappers, both in October 1989. The National Council of Rubber Tappers, for example, wrote to INESC asking for support due to rubber falling prices. INESC reached the correspondence to 85 parliamentarians close to indigenous and environmental causes, who took the claims to IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources). INESC incidence in its first ten years. The INESC Map of Incidence was produced in 1989, during the evaluation carried out that year, and celebrated 10 years of institution. Captions indicates the activities performed by INESC in several Brazilian cities.

    Brief History

    1990

    Promulgation of the Child and Adolescent Statute (ECA), that regulates the constitutional article about children rights in Brazil. “INESC played a leading role in the formulation process of this statute. We mobilized leaders from the National Movement of Street Boys and Girls and had a political influence over the proposals”, remembers Iara Pietricovsky, from the management board of INESC.

    Brief History

    1991

    In the early 1990s, INESC started working on Budget and Rights, to address questions related to inequality and, therefore, to strengthen strategic areas of the institution, from foreign debt to children and adolescents. INESC developed an innovative methodology of following and analyzing federal budget process from the perspective of the main social demands. This action was fundamental in the struggle to increase transparency of public spending. “In 1991, fellows and I here at INESC won a scholarship to meet American organizations. There we got in touch with an organization that worked with public budget, what made us very enthusiastic about acting in this area. When we returned to Brazil, we began to introduce ourselves in this subject, until we got to start working with it”, tells Iara Pietricovsky, in an interview granted on August 15th 2011. “Our biggest achievement in this area was precisely to bring the budget issue to the political agenda of society. I remember that when INESC started to work with budget, many organizations thought it was absurd: they sad INESC was abandoning public debate for technical questions. Budgeting was then a technical thing no one understood, just numbers. I think that INESC’s contribution to this movement, which later on was enlarged by other institutions, was to built the idea that budgeting is a more political rather than a technical issue”, considers José Antônio Moroni, from INESC collegiate, in an interview from August 15th 2011. Abong Foundation   On August 10th 1991, INESC took part in the Brazilian Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (ABONG) foundation. Abong brings together organizations that fight against all forms of discrimination and inequalities.

    Brief History

    1992

    The ECO 92, the United Nations Conference on Environment & Development, was part of the so-called social cycle of UN conferences. INESC took part in these conferences and was one of the founders of the Brazilian Forum of NGOs and Social Movements for the Environment and Development.   President Collor’s Impeachment It was during a meeting at the headquarters of INESC that former congressman José Carlos Saboya, from PSB (Brazilian Socialist Party) of Maranhão state, launched a proposal for a social mobilization against the government of President Collor, due to policies adopted by his administration and allegations of corruption that emerged from the press. The meeting at INESC took place a few days before the accusations over Pedro Collor appeared on Veja magazine, and marks the origin of the Movement for Ethics in Politics, which gained strength in society in parallel with investigations held by a parliamentary committee inquiry, or CPI, Portuguese initials to an investigation conducted by the Brazilian Legislative Body. “José Carlos Saboya questioned why a respected entity such as INESC did not take the initiative to invite some organizations to discuss together what to do to confront the country chaotic situation. We accepted the challenge and organized a first meeting together with Dom Luciano Mendes de Almeida, former president of the CNBB (initials for National Conference of Brazilian Bishops), Marcelo Lavenère, former head of the OAB (initials for Brazilian Lawyers Association), and very few congressmen. During the meeting, came out the discussion on ethics and how to inspire society to organize itself again. We made a first document, sent it to several national entities and held a second meeting at the CNBB, in a crowded hall, where the Movement for Ethics in Politics was created. We have convened another meeting to sign a petition, with great support. It was like lighting a fire in a powder keg: Brazilian society was expecting some serious proposal to show its indignation”, underlines Bizeh, founder of INESC, in an interview to Pauta magazine, in December 1999.

    Brief History

    1994

    In 1994, in order to place indigenous societies on the political agenda about poverty and national development, INESC prepared the Map of Hunger Among Indigenous People in Brazil. In the same year, the 1st National Conference on Food Security would take place and the map was an important contribution to this process. Held in 128 indigenous areas, the study found that 29% of the indigenous population had “difficulties to ensure a safe and good standard of food and health”. From the 76.272 indigenous people living in extreme poverty, the most critical cases were found in the Northeast region and in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. The Map of Hunger Among Indigenous People in Brazil is still a reference in the subject. “The Map of Hunger registered for the first time seropositivity among indigenous population. We have been able to show also an entire process of environmental depredation directly linked to chronic hunger in indigenous people. We had to define a concept of hunger for indigenous people, which is a very specific thing, it is not the same pattern that we use. We worked together with Fiocruz [Oswaldo Cruz Foundation] at the time. Very important issues related to indigenous people came to light in this Map of Hunger”, explains Iara Pietricovsky, in an interview given on August 15th 2011.

    Brief History

    1999

    Twenty years later we are pleased to share with you, our readers, a little of our history, our struggles, achievements and defeats. And this sharing took the form of a magazine, called Pauta, which today we pass on to you. It has been two decades of great faith in our potential as a Nation, a lot of work to achieve our goals, unforgettable partnerships, many friendships from this journey and longing for those who stayed along the way, but whose presence remains in our hearts. “In this first edition, we pay homage to Brazil, and our shared history over the past 20 years. We will tell a little of the trajectory of our country through the main struggles undertaken by our society and of which we participate as a political actor as we are”. says an excerpt from Pauta magazine, edited by INESC to celebrate the institution’s 20 years.

    On the occasion of INESC’s 20th birthday, the organization logo gained a new design.

    Brief History

    2003

    Foto: arquivo Inesc

    In 2003, INESC organized the “The multiannual plan in Lula’s government: participation and social control”. “It was a great seminar, and for the first time, Lula administration committed itself to hold public hearings throughout Brazil to talk about Budget. From this movement, in which we seek to compromise Brazilian government with society, the FBO [Portuguese initials for Brazilian Budget Forum] took shape”, affirms Iara Pietricovsky in an interview granted on August 15th 2011. International Seminar on Transgenics

    Foto: arquivo Inesc

    In October 2003, INESC organized the international seminar “Transgenics: current events”, which took place in the Chamber of Deputies. The fight against transgenic food is part of our trajectory, our action for land reform and justice in the countryside. We were already part of the GM-Free Brazil Campaign.

    Brief History

    2004

    In 2004, INESC completed 25 years of struggle to radicalize Brazilian democracy. That same year, the organization consolidated its Budget & Rights methodology based on a work with social movements and leaderships in Brazilian state of Maranhão. To celebrate the date, INESC launched a commemorative logo that highlighted our performance in Congress advocacy and our commitment to democracy.

    Foto: arquivo Inesc

    Unctad Seminar. During the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held in Sao Paulo in June 2004, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed representatives of the Civil Society Forum, including Iara Pietricovsky of INESC .

    Brief History

    2005

    Foto: arquivo Inesc

    INESC was one of the entities responsible for creating the Social Movements for Political System Reform Platform, an instance that articulates organizations and social movements concerned with discussing and influencing a political system reform. “Launching of the Mixed Parliamentary Front in Defense of a Political Reform with Popular Participation in March 2011. The society has the right to participate and decide about how to do politics, exercise power and define its mechanisms. After all, all power, including political representation, is delegated by society. From this perspective, we elaborated a concept that places the political system reform at the center of the debate not only concerning electoral and representation processes, but also concerning power itself, with its forms of legitimacy, exercise and control”, explains José Antônio Moroni, in an interview to Le Monde Diplomatique in May 2011, about the platform.

    Brief History

    2007

    On November 23th 2007, INESC’s founder Maria José Jaime (Bizeh), a historian and former political exile, died of cancer. On the occasion, INESC released a note on Bizeh’s legacy: “She leaves us her unwavering faith, commitment and dedication to building a dream: a more equal, just and cooperative Brazil towards the most needy”. Bizeh was already distant from INESC’s coordination since 2002, when the institution adopted a collegiate model of political management.

    Brief History

    2009

    Foto: arquivo Inesc

    In 2009, INESC received a prize from Banco do Brasil Foundation [Brazilian Public Bank Foundation] for the development of the Budget & Rights Methodology and its use in adolescents educational process in public schools located in Brasília’s periphery. Since then, this same methodology received other five awards. “Concerning childhood, I can identify three important contributions of INESC: the follow-up of the children’s and adolescents’ agenda in Parliament, the Children’s Budget methodology and the political impact of adolescents in their own spaces of power”, completes José Antonio Moroni, part of INESC’s collegiate.

    Brief History

    2010

    INESC participated in the social mobilization process for approval and validity of the “Ficha Limpa” Law [Clean Sheet Law]. More then 2 million signatures were amassed physically and online to support the initiative. To raise awareness of State’s powers (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary) was the great challenge faced by the Movement against Electoral Corruption (MCCE), created by a group of social and trade union organizations and movements. INESC integrates the MCCE, which also integrates the Social Movements for Political System Reform Platform. The great achievement of “Ficha Limpa” Law was to raise social mobilization to prevent that candidates prosecuted for certain crimes could participate in the October 2010 elections. Descolad@s Magazine Launch INESC launched the first edition of Descolad@s Magazine, produced and edited by adolescents engaged to the ONDA project. Descolad@s was entirely created by adolescents participating in the initiative, addressing issues about public budget and human rights, with the ECA (Portuguese initials to the Brazilian Child and Adolescent Statute) as a reference. The magazine was launched at the Human Rights Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, event that motivated other teenagers to take part in the project. Amazonian Financing Observatory INESC created the Amazonian Finance Observatory to highlight interests and strategies of financial and productive agents, both public and private, operating in the Legal Amazon, as well as the social and environmental impacts of their investments.

    Brief History

    2011

    INESC participated in the articulation and elaboration process of the draft law Popular Initiative for Political Reform. Through the Social Movements for Political System Reform Platform, INESC started a campaign to raise awareness and collect signatures.

    Brief History

    2012

    INESC took part, together with Rebrip, in the Rio+20 Conference preparation, as the official delegation of G-20 meetings. INESC also took part in the organization of the parallel event that took place in Rio de Janeiro during the Rio+20, and managed to articulate an unprecedented meeting of the UN president with representatives of organized civil society during Rio+20. Nossa Brasília Movement After almost one year of mobilization, Nossa Brasília [Our Brasilia] Movement was launched in March 2012 in the federal capital. The initiative, idealized by civil society institutions, aims to promote the citizens protagonism in transforming the Federal District into a sustainable, fair and good territory to live. In common agreement, the members elected INESC to the Executive Secretariat of the movement.

    Brief History

    2013

    INESC launched, together with the Open Knowledge Foundation Brazil (OKF), the online portal Budget within Reach. The site has accessible budget information to the general public and civil society organizations in a practical and interactive way to instigate oversight of the country’s wealth spending, which is collected mostly through taxes, fees and contributions. National Committee in Defense of Territories against Mining In June, INESC and other 48 organizations and social movements launched the National Committee to Defend Territories against Mining. The collaborative construction and the unanimous adherence to the Committee highlight the common concern with the uncontrolled advance of mining and its social and environmental impacts.

    Brief History

    2017

    In 2017, INESC invested good energy in training and awareness processes about Budget and Rights. The organization updated its methodology, improving concepts and understandings. The team itself underwent training processes, both in the methodology contents and in popular education. In addition, also started to develop mentoring methods as a form of continuing education, helping members in their advocacy activities. Seal of Legislative Participation in Chamber of Deputies Award Awarded by the Participative Legislation Committee of the Chamber of Deputies (CLP), the seal honored civil society entities that played a relevant role in the Chamber in 2016. INESC ranked 1st in the Highest Number of Participants category in Proposed Events. In 2016, in response to the proposal for a Constitutional Amendment known as “Teto dos gastos” [Ceiling of Expenses], which would freeze public spending for 20 years, as well as projects for labor reform and pension reform, INESC requested a series of debates about the future of Social Security in Brazil. The request was accepted by the Committee on Participative Legislation (CLP) and public hearings were held, with broad participation of civil society, in the Chamber of Deputies, in Brasília, and also in the cities of Belo Horizonte (MG), Florianópolis (SC) and Fortaleza (CE).

    Brief History

    2018

    On the eve of its 40th anniversary, INESC launched a new website and logo. With a more joyful, light and inspirational concept, the new visual identity comes to modernize INESC’s image and to connect even more with a young audience, capable of mobilizing and acting politically within the new languages of digital technologies, online networks and street action. The new website, modern and intuitive, facilitates contents reading and research about thematic axes. Itaú-Unicef Award INESC project ONDA [Wave for Peace], in partnership with the Internship School Unit of Santa Maria (Uism), won the 13th edition of the Itaú-Unicef Prize in the category “Partnership in Action”. “We have worked with neglected adolescents since they were born and we believe it is possible because we learn from them sensitivity, intelligence and solidarity”, explains Márcia Acioli, an INESC consultant involved in the project. In the 12th edition of the award, in 2017, ONDA took the first place of the regional stage. The Project has already won four other awards, including an international one.

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