Country Profile: Brazil
Prepared by: The Moscow High School Delegation for Idaho Model U.N. – 2022
Brazil is a Federal republic, meaning it has both federal and local levels of government. Issues that concern the whole union are taken by the federal level, while local issues such as infrastructure and education are handled at that lower level of government. It follows a constitution passed in 1988, which is the descendant of 6 other constitutions. The federal government follows a three-branch system, the executive, the judicial, and
the legislative. The executive branch is run by a president, who is elected by a majority vote every 4 years. The Judicial branch is run by judges who are appointed by the president and the legislative branch. About 1/5th of the legislative branch is nominated by plurality vote, meaning they are elected by who has the most votes, and doesn’t require over 50%. The other 4/5ths are elected by PR (Proportional representation), a system in which the political opinions of the people are mirrored exactly in the house. The legislative branch passes laws, while the judicial branch oversees national court cases and the executive branch helps with both processes. The current president of Brazil is Luiz Inácio, following Former President Jair Bolsonaro. The country is currently recovering from a state of turmoil due to Former President Bolsonaro’s radical
populist agenda. Checks and balances within the government have successfully ensured that the Former President was not able to fully assert his will over the country. Based on poll information in 2020, the general public was trending towards a more centrist political parties, as compared to the parties supported by the Former President. These trends proved strong, as just recently in the 2022 elections, Bolosonaro was the first
Brazilian president to lose his re-election. The new current president is Luiz Inácio, a center-left worker’s party politician. Reports from across the world are calling this “The survival of a serious threat to Brazilian Democracy”.
The Brazilian economy is centered around agriculture, oil, ship production, and minerals. Brazil has the 9th largest gross domestic product (GDP) of 1.87 trillion which is the equivalent of 3.7 in Brazilian Real – the official currency of Brazil. According to The World Bank oil rents 1.8 percent of Brazil’s GDP. 80 percent of the oil operations in Brazil are offshore of Rio De Janeiro; Rio De Janeiro is crucial to Brazil’s economy because the city accounts for roughly 9 percent of Brazil’s GDP. Agriculture is also crucial to Brazil’s economy and the world agriculture production. Brazil is the largest country by landmass in South America with 28.3 percent of Brazil’s land being farm fields according to data from the World Bank. Brazil exports more than 50 percent of
the world’s soybean production and surpasses the United States by 20% in soybean exports. The soybean industry has had a 9.4% annual increase yearly for the past 21 years, making it one of Brazil’s most quickly expanding industries. In 2021, Brazil exported 38.6 billion dollars worth of soybean with China importing the most soybeans from Brazil, followed by the United States, Argentina, and Germany. Agriculture is a major part of Brazil’s economy and the world’s imports of agricultural goods.
Brazil often leans slightly towards the West in its diplomatic stance, although it tries hard to remain neutral in most instances. Brazil also advocates for non-interventionism, choosing to avoid conflicts and instead pursue peaceful settlements. Its main method of power projection and geopolitical influence comes from harnessing its strong economy to provide foreign aid. Brazil often aligns with nations in the group of emerging economies known as the BRICS, Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa and China. However, the nation does sometimes diverge from this, such as how the nation does not recognize Crimea as a part of Russia. Brazil is also close with other South American nations such as Columbia, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina. The Brazilian military consists of naval, air, and ground forces. The nation has the largest military in Latin
America, consisting of over two hundred thousand active personnel and over one million reservists. The Brazilian Navy is the most powerful in Latin America, however it is smaller compared to the larger navies of the world, limiting its operations to nearby waters. The Brazilian Army is known for its large special forces, armored vehicles, and quick reaction forces. Brazil has no current enemies in its surrounding area, nor has it been invaded in over a century. Current Brazilian military operations are mostly limited to internal issues and UN peacekeeping operations with no current major conflicts.
Although not a member of NATO, Brazil is a major non NATO ally of the US. Brazil is a former member of the Union of South American Nations, though the organization is no longer a prevalent union. Brazil has been engaged extensively in UN peacekeeping operations in countries such as Haiti and Cyprus. The country often shies away from direct alignment with any of the major powers on the global stage, choosing instead to interact with most countries.
Role in the United Nations
Brazil is a country that contributes significantly to the cooperative dialogue in the United Nations since the signing of the UN Charter in 1945. Brazil is a large financial contributor to the United Nations. Brazil is an important member of the UN Security Council, participating in discussions in the council leading in peace- keeping operations. Brazil has been elected to the council on eleven separate occasions. Although that number is near the most any country has been elected as a rotating member of the Security Council, Brazil has actively sought out support for permanent membership on the Council, along with other G4 members Germany, Japan, and India. They call for expanding the Security Council with more permanent and impermanent
members. Brazil’s primary contributions and support for resolutions generally comes in support for peacekeeping operations that the the UN and Security Council are carrying out. Brazil strongly supported UN Resolution 76/290, Financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which focused on supporting peace keeping efforts taking place in Lebanon. On more controversial General Assembly resolutions, such as Resolution 76/165, Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, which focused on supporting the ideals of democracy, equality, and human rights, Brazil tends to abstain from voting in order to not take a hard-line stance and upset other members of the assembly.
Current Role in Climate Change Mitigation
Over the past 15 years, Brazil has increased energy consumption, becoming the 10th largest energy consumer in the world and the largest in South America. Large deposits of shale oil, oil, and natural gas allow Brazil to be a significant exporter of these fuels while creating 40% of its energy from oil. Renewables such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric are typical and make up about 50% of energy production. Yet, Brazil’s track record of climate action may be altered due to President Bolsonaro publicly expressing opposition to many of Brazil’s existing climate policies. He has already passed legislation weakening the institutional and legal framework to fight deforestation and other environmental policies. Bolsonaro has threatened to pull out of the Paris agreement during his campaign, and once in office, dismissed many departments responsible for climate mitigation. Currently, Brazil is still in the Paris agreement.
In Brazil, large-scale deforestation has resulted in a 19% decrease in forest coverage of the Amazon since 1970. Deforestation has led to loss of biodiversity in the region, ecological services and indigenous culture. President Bolsonaro has pledged to end illegal deforestation within the decade. Since 1965, Brazil’s Forest Code has required landowners in the Amazon to maintain 35% to 80% of their property with native vegetation. The three leading factors of deforestation are widespread expansion of agriculture, ill-conceived infrastructure, and climate change. The expansion of the beef and soy production industry has been driving more than two-thirds of the deforestation in the Amazon, Cerrado regions, and leading into other countries.