During the Workers’ Party (PT) governments, Brazil became one of the world’s largest food donors. In the paper “Enlarging the donor base: an analysis of the World Food Programme’s reform process and the Brazilian bridge diplomacy” published in the issue 2/2020 (Volume 63 – N. 2 – 2020) of Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, the authors explain that this position reached by Brazil was only possible due to the partnership with the UN WFP and third countries, which carried out the international logistics of food aid and paid the transportation costs for Brazil.
Those partnerships became a reality thanks to an institutional change process accomplished in the WFP from the end of the 1990s until 2004. Before these changes, the WFP traditionally required food donors to bear all the operating costs of their donations.
The paper questioned how this path was opened in the WFP. The authors worked with two hypotheses: that a) Brazil played a major role in reforming the food aid regime, and that b) the WFP co-opted Brazil to strengthen its own mainstream agenda. The research design was inspired by the ‘Graduation Dilemma’s (GD) typologies of foreign policy developed by Milani, Pinheiro and Lima.
The paper explains the WFP’s intention to expand its donor base and thoroughly examine the Brazilian role in the process of institutional change in the WFP. The analysis was heavily based on primary sources – such as official telegrams from Brazilian Diplomacy and reports and documents from the WFP–and semi-structured interviews with Brazilian diplomats and policymakers, and WFP’s agents working with Brazil.
The authors present the impacts that the adoption of the document called ‘New Partnerships to Meet Rising Needs: Expanding the WFP Donor Base’ (NPMRN) had on Brazilian international food aid. They also address the domestic obstacles that impeded Brazil from following a more autonomous foreign policy and made it dependent on the WFP triangular cooperation.
In the case analyzed, the paper concludes that Brazilian foreign policy was better characterized as ‘bridge diplomacy’ instead of a ‘foreign policy of graduation.’ That is, Brazil strived to achieve global prominence in the humanitarian food aid system. Unlike other experiences, it acted as a rule-taker and not a rule-maker that could eventually change the system.
Read the article
Lima, Thiago, & Santana, Jenifer Queila. (2020). Enlarging the donor base: an analysis of the World Food Programme’s reform process and the Brazilian bridge diplomacy. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, 63(2), e003. Epub July 03, 2020.https://doi.org/10.1590/0034-7329202000203
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