March 4th, 2015 · The New School · New York

pnk ola metello img 01 4webDaniela Metello, Brazil, successfully completed her two-week academic exchange at The New School in March of 2015. During the Fellowship, Daniela worked to deepen her research and work concerning the production and disposal of solid waste, which represents one of the planet’s foremost environmental problems. Her work takes a systemic approach that focuses not only on the environmental aspect of waste management, but also on the social inclusion of those who earn their living through solid-waste collection. In Brazil, approximately 400,000 people work in waste collection, sorting and recycling. Through an analysis of Brazil’s waste management system, Daniela shows the process, successes and challenges of a model that attempts to address both issues simultaneously by focusing on reducing and recycling waste along with the social and economic inclusion of people whose income depends on these materials.

Daniela Metello has spent several years as the assessor and coordinator of the Interministerial Committee for Social and Economic Inclusion of Waste Pickers – CIISC , in the General-Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil. In her position, she coordinates a committee of 25 federal agencies to shape various public policies related to the social and economic inclusion of waste pickers. Prior to her work with CIISC, Daniela worked as Chief of Staff for Secretary Paul Singer, Director and General Coordinator of the Department of Education in the National Secretariat for Solidarity Economy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Production Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

During Daniela’s two weeks in New York City, she had the opportunity to present her work and receive feedback from New School faculty and students in two seminars and to attend a New School course the Design of Cities: Policy, Planning and People. Beyond her seminars and class, she met individually with academics and practitioners in her field.

Seminars with The New School Community

One requirement of the PNK Fellowship is that the Fellows must present their work in two closed-door seminars with New School faculty and students. These exchanges are opportunities for the Fellow to receive detailed feedback on their ongoing research and preparation for their final presentation.

On February 23rd, 2015, Daniela presented her work in her first seminar with Professors Michael Cohen, Margarita Gutman, and Alberto Minujin, OLA Coordinator Desiree LaVecchia and graduate students Belen Arce-Terceros, Maria Carrizosa and Cristina Handal Gonzalez. Daniela presented her work to the group, starting with a brief overview of Brazil’s waste management system. She then explained in detail how the past decade has seen the establishment of waste worker collectives that have resulted in the social and economic inclusion of waste collection workers alongside meaningful environmental improvements. The seminar attendees raised several critical questions for Daniela to consider as she moves forward in her work, including: What is the tension between the private companies and the cooperatives? What was the political movement behind the evolution of the legislation? What does Brazil’s cooperative cost and how is the cost distributed? Does the government financially support this with subsidies? When you say “sustainable development” who is it sustainable for and what might make it break/destabilize? Daniela then had a week to work out the answers to some of these questions prior to her second seminar.

Daniela’s second seminar was held on March 2nd, 2015 and was attended by Professors Ana Baptista, Michael Cohen, Margarita Gutman, Rachel Meltzer, Richard McGahey and Nidhi Srinivas, OLA Coordinator, Desiree LaVecchia, graduate students Martha Jaimes and Lena Simet. The seminar also included members of a delegation from the Universidad Nacional de San Martin presided by Rector Carlos Ruta, the director of the PNK Fellowship from UNSAM, Marcelo Bufacchi, and Lic. Solange Novelle. In this seminar, Daniela presented her broadened work, and related it to NYC’s waste management system, which helped contextualize it for the group. With the help of faculty and students in the second seminar, Daniela sharpened her presentation in preparation for her final public lecture presentation.

Interviews and Visits in New York

The majority of Daniela’s time in NYC was spent meeting with academics and practitioners in the fields of urban and public policy, waste management, and environmental studies. She met with Michael Cohen, Co-Director of The OLA & Professor of International Affairs, Milano School of International Affairs, Management & Urban Policy; Amanda Bradshaw, PhD Student from Columbia university conducting work related to waste management in Rio & Sao Paulo; Robert Buckley, Studley Faculty Fellow, Milano School of International Affairs, Management & Urban Policy; Meredith Danberg Ficarelli from the Lower East Side Ecology Center and founder of F.E.R.N. in Beirut, Lebanon; Michelle DePass, Dean, Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy, The New School; Joseph Heathcott, Professor of Urban Studies, The New School for Public Engagement; Peter Lucas, Part-time Assistant Professor, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy; Ana Martinez de Luco, founder of NYC’s waste collector cooperative, Sure We Can; Eadaoin Quinn, Education Coordinator, SIMS Recycling Facility; Scott Salmon, Associate Professor of Urban Studies, Humanities, Arts, and Sciences, Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts; Elliot Sclar, Director of CSUD and Professor of Urban Planning and International Affairs at Columbia University and Lacey Tauber , Legislative Director and Communications Representative for District 34 of the NY City Council.

Public Lecture

ola2015feb19pnk metellocordova poster01 xswebOn March 4th, 2015, Daniela Gomes Metello presented her research alongside PNK Fellow Beatriz Córdova Aquino in a Public Lecture, “Struggles for Inclusion in Brazil and Peru” held in the Orozco Room at The New School. The lecture was attended by a large audience, including faculty, students, representatives from Sure We Can and SIMS Recycling, and the general public. New School President David Van Zandt and Carlos Ruta, Rector of Universidad Nacional de San Martin from Buenos Aires opened the evening, noting the history of the PNK Fellowship program, the successes of Daniela and Beatriz and the opening of the 5th Edition of the Fellowship. Lucia Maiera, Brazilian Deputy Consul General then introduced Daniela with a description of her academic history and current career and her current research as a means to situate the audience Daniela’s topic.

Daniela presented her work to a packed audience. She began her presentation by articulating her definition of sustainable development and then briefly explained Brazil’s system of solid waste management. In relation to the environmental aspect of her work, Daniela presented striking evidence of energy, CO2, water and economic savings as a result of Brazil’s cooperative recycling program. She followed this with a description of the creation of Brazil’s legal framework for recognizing waste collection workers and municipal waste collection cooperatives and associations. The program’s efforts to achieve social inclusion for waste collection workers have resulted in 1,017 Solidarity Enterprises supported by Federal Government and the inclusion of 30,240 waste pickers. Daniela highlighted the successes and challenges of Brazil’s waste management program and closed her presentation with a short video exemplifying a completely different view on waste collection politics from NYC.  

+ What is it like to be a President Néstor Kirchner Fellow?, by Daniela Metello

+ Public Lecture by Daniela Gomes Metello and Beatriz Córdova Aquino, Second and Third PNK Fellows 2014-2015

+ Watch the video of her Public Lecture

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The PNK Fellowship has been expanded to all Latin American and Caribbean countries, and will award four fellowships for 2015-2016! Information is open, and submissions are received from March 1st to May 25th, 2015 

Read more about the President Néstor Kirchner Fellowship Program 

This program is supported by the JULIEN J. STUDLEY FOUNDATION