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Diplomacy in Action

U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan Promotes Racial and Ethnic Equality

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
April 11, 2012


“The Joint Action Plan represents a new way of thinking, to expand the horizons of coop­eration on issues of racial and ethnic discrimination beyond government-to-government engagement.”
–Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson

The U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality recognizes that Brazil and the United States are multi-ethnic, multi-racial democracies whose shared experiences strengthen their ties of friendship. Both countries recognize and celebrate the rich contributions of African descendants and indigenous populations to the fabric of our societies.

The Joint Action Plan, signed in March 2008, pledges an ever-deepening and ongoing collaboration between the United States and Brazil to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality of opportunity in both countries. After the official launch of the initiative on October 31, 2008, a Steering Group comprising agencies from both governments led by the U.S. Department of State, Brazil’s Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality (SEPPIR), and Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened for its inaugural meeting.


The Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit coordinates the U.S. implementation of the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan and similar initiatives in the Western Hemisphere.


The Joint Action Plan calls upon both governments to collaborate in promoting cooperation, understanding, and exchange of information to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for all. The Joint Action Plan encourages the continued involvement of civil society and the private sector from both countries as critical to the success of the initiative. Both governments have instituted legislation and policies to promote social justice and social inclusion for all members of society. Under the Joint Action Plan, the partners share their best practices, resources, and information to promote equality of all racial and ethnic groups.

A bi-national Steering Group has developed specific areas of cooperation and meets alternately in Brazil and the United States. Members of the Steering Group represent Brazilian and U.S. government entities. Members of civil society provide guidance and technical input for the future endeavors. Private sector entities in the United States and Brazil are developing partnerships to support the Joint Action Plan.

Themes for cooperation include:

  • Education and student and faculty exchange, in­cluding equal access to quality education and the role of education in countering ethnic and racial discrimination;
  • Equal access to employment and labor, with a focus on economic opportunity in preparation for mega sporting events;
  • Equal protection of the law and access to the legal system;
  • Racial disparities in health; and
  • Environmental justice.

Techniques and initiatives for the promotion of equality include:

  • Training programs;
  • Regional initiatives;
  • Public-private partnerships;
  • Workshops;
  • Seminars;
  • Technical expert exchanges;
  • Scholarships, fellowships and academic exchang­es; and
  • State and local level agreements.

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