Sustainable digitalization in the Brazilian public sector

The research, part of the EU-funded PRODEGEES-project, looks into the interconnectedness of the transformation to sustainability and digitalisation in Brazil’s public sector. The team explores the question of how civil servants perceive digitalisation and what links they draw to sustainability. The research aims to gain a comprehensive overview of Brazilian administration’s understanding of digitalisation, the role attributed to it and what leverage points exist for achieving sustainability goals.

Project Team:

  • Mara Braun (Development Studies) 
  • Laura Donath (Global Studies) 
  • Sophia Hörbelt (Political Science) 
  • Sophie Lampert (Business and Development Studies) 
  • Marcel Wich (International Relations)

Time frame:
2022 - 2023 / completed

Co-operation Partner:

Escola Nacional de Administração Pública (ENAP)

Escola Brasileira de Administração Pública e de Empresas (FGV EBAPE) 

Project description

Transformation to sustainability and digitalisation are closely intertwined (“twin transitions”). Depending on its design, digitalisation can become both a supporter and effective lever for global sustainability goals, as well as an obstacle or even a counterforce. While digital technologies and IT-infrastructure require considerable resources (finance and knowledge), they also constitute the backbone for monitoring and understanding global change, including its ecological dimension. Smart data technologies, for instance, are frequently considered as potential solutions to the energy resource dilemma. Against this backdrop, public frameworks play an essential role in ensuring a sustainable digital transformation. 

To steer processes in favour of sustainable digitalisation, knowledge of these two megatrends as well as an overview of the opportunities and risks of their connection is of great importance for political decision-makers and the public sector in general. In Brazil, the acquisition of knowledge for both groups to an important extent takes place in national public administration schools. 

The aim of the research is to gain a comprehensive picture of the understanding of digitalisation in the Brazilian public sector, what role is attributed to it, and what leverage points exist for achieving sustainability goals. 

The analysis is based on policy papers, curricula, a survey and expert interviews. Data will mainly be collected in collaboration with national public administration schools training civil servants, thus influencing the design and implementation of policy frameworks. On this basis, country-specific characteristics of 'sustainable digitalisation' and their prioritisation will be investigated. The project further strives to develop recommendations for the establishment of 'digital partnerships’, enabling mutual learning between the Brazilian and German public sector.