Brazilian Student Encounter of International Relations

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EKLA-KAS supported this event, specially the Panel on "Contexts and challenges for security and energy efficiency in Latin America" held on April 29th, in Goiânia, Brazil.

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Mesa de Abertura

Opening Cerimony

Between April 26 and 29, 2017, about 350 students from more than 80 universities, located in 20 Brazilian states, gathered in Goiânia for the Brazilian Student Encounter of International Relations (ENERI), the largest student event for International Relations in Latin America. The 2017 edition discussed the theme of "Brazilian Foreign Policy in Crisis: (pre)visions of an uncertain future", and promoted an important space of scientific-academic exchange, socialization and reflection on the perspectives of the labor market.

Among the various topics discussed, such as the Brazil–European Union relations, the United States, China and South America, the energy issue also occupied an important place on the agenda, being discussed in two moments: the "Energy, Regional Integration and Human Development Symposium" and the Panel on "Contexts and Challenges for Energy Security and Efficiency in Latin America". At the symposium held on April 28, international relations students from the Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD), the Federal University of Latin American Integration (UNILA), Cândido Mendes University and the University of the Amazon presented their respective research projects , with a focus on Mercosur and the dialogue between Brazil and its neighbors.

The Panel on Latin American Energy Efficiency and Security was supported by the Regional Programme Energy Security and Climate Change in Latin America of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (EKLA-KAS). Held on April 29, the following teachers participated in the debate: Dra. Clarice Campelo, researcher of Energy Economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and Dr. Adriano Pires, Pontifical Catholic University of Goiás (PUC-Goiás). The discussion with the professionals and students was moderated by Karina Marzano, EKLA-KAS Project Manager.

Based on the assumption that there is no possible development without energy, the speakers analyzed the advantages and challenges of regional integration. It was observed that, to date, Latin American energy integration occurs mainly through bilateral projects, especially gas pipelines and electrical interconnections. For example, in the case of natural gas, almost half of Brazilian consumption is imported, despite the existence of federal government projects, such as "Gas to Grow", to increase production. However, faced with the current crisis, investment difficulties call into question the viability of these projects. The great Brazilian demand for gas encouraged the construction of gas pipelines from Bolivia, a country that assumes strategic importance for the region. Firstly, Bolivia is present in all the energy connection axes of the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), currently housed inside the institutional umbrella of UNASUR. In addition, Bolivia has the 5th largest reserve of natural gas in the region, with a significant exportable surplus and located close to major consumer centers. Unlike well-defined pipeline flows, which are unidirectional and tailor-made to transport natural gas, the electrical interconnections are bidirectional, each country being able to act as both an importer and an exporter of energy. It is observed, however, that the presence of distinct voltages in the countries of the Southern Cone generates the need to build converters to integrate the transmission lines, which implies a great cost of installation of these converters.

In the case of renewable energy, it is indispensable to attract private investment, which is being carried out through a system of guaranteed purchases and auctions, within the Brazilian Incentive Program for Alternative Energy Sources (Proinfa). In order to make progress with renewable, there is a need for greater industrial and technological development, as well as the training of human resources. Although solar panels are imported from China, today the most competitive producer and exporter, maintenance and installation of these panels are characterized as labor intensive and demand skilled professionals. The share of renewable between 2004 and 2014 increased as a global trend, but in Brazil there was a decline in this period, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Analyzed in the BRICS context, Brazil presents an investment gap, but there are expectations regarding the BRICS New Development Bank, which foresees 60% of the resources to be directed towards the development of renewable.

Among the opportunities for regional integration are the optimization of the regional supply of natural gas, regional support for intermittent renewable sources, integration of the electricity system and technological integration. However, this process depends, among other things, on uniform regulation, that is, the overcoming of the enormous challenge of harmonizing market rules in different countries, in addition to the necessary facilitation of access to financing and the strengthening of institutions. Among the weaknesses of Latin America are the high level of external economic dependence, lack of diversification, lack of planning and long-term investments, economic and social inequality and climate vulnerability. For integration, it is necessary the involvement of economic agents, possible only in a scenario of stability and confidence for energy exchanges in longer terms.

Finally, investments in renewable energy projects have traditionally been carried out through a public-private partnership, with the Brazilian Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) as the main investor. At the current crisis scenario and a relative scarcity of financial resources, China should be considered as a relevant new player in the region, especially its growing performance in the scenario of demand for energy investments. Integration is therefore an important process to be intensified, aiming at strengthening energy security and development in the region.


Karina Marzano Franco

Publication series

Event Reports


Brazil, May 3, 2017

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Karina Marzano Franco

Project Manager

Karina Marzano Franco
Phone +55 21 2220 5441
Fax +55 21 2220 5448
Languages: Português,‎ Deutsch,‎ English,‎ Español,‎ Français