From 1995 to 2002, Jaime Lerner was Paraná State governor, leading important advancements in economic, social, environmental, cultural and infrastructure areas.
A new economic profile emerged, supported by an extensive program of jobs creation that attracted to Paraná about US$ 15 billion in private investments, creating about 700 thousand direct and indirect jobs, the majority in the countryside, with highlights in the timber and furniture industries, in addition to several segments of the agribusiness.
The economy of Paraná ceased depending heavily on agriculture and developed a modern industrial park, with leading edge technology symbolized by its new automotive hub, the second in the country. Amongst others, it received investments from Renault, Audi-Volkswagen, Nissan and Detroit Motors, followed by an extensive supply chain.
To drive this change in the economic profile of Paraná, a logistic infrastructure was consolidated – the “Integration Ring” -, a “backbone” formed by state and federal roads adding up to over 2,300 km that integrated the main poles of the state and irradiated development to all regions.
In a partnership with the private sector, the government invested in infrastructure, refurbishing roads, ports, airports, building strategic bridges in the State and increasing the production and provision of electric power to meet the demand of the new plants, consolidating the base for a new cycle of economic development.
Social progress – Paraná also stood out for social work. The Jaime Lerner administration received several national and international awards, including the UNICEF Child and Peace, for the creation and implementation of programs such as “From the Street to the School”, “Rural Villages”, “Teacher’s University” and “Protecting Life”. It became a reference for several others such as the “Basic Pharmacy”, “Central Transplant Coordination”, “Clean Bay”, “Paraná Year- Round” and “Urban Paraná.
With the “Rural Villages”, Paraná was the first state to develop efforts to improve the living conditions of low- income rural inhabitants. The government offers a house, a plot of land and support to planting activities, in addition to helping the dwellers with the creation of cooperatives and small agricultural businesses.
Counting the houses in the Rural Villages and in other housing programs, houses were built in 350 cities, serving 290 thousand Paraná citizens with 57 thousand housing units.
The workers in the field were a priority too. Lerner elaborated the program “Factory of the Agricultural Producer” to improve the income of the agricultural family producers and to create new jobs due to the transformation of the primary production of the State. The “Factory of the Agricultural Producer” not only stimulated the transformation of raw materials to add value to the produce, but it also facilitated the access to credit lines, offered commercial support, opened distribution channels and elaborated marketing oriented labels and packages.
Created in 1999, the program enabled the implementation and modernization of 1,251 small agro-industrial units, connecting them to the market with professionalism and competitiveness. The quality of the products was certified by the “Factory of the Agricultural Producer” label, which is registered in the Ministry of Health, ensuring the compliance with sanitary and environmental guidelines. The World Bank has recommended this program as an example of rural activity.
In the security area, another leading edge program: the industrial penitentiary, located in three cities of the state: Guarapuava, Cascavel and Maringá. The Industrial Penitentiary unit in Guarapuava, for instance, houses a furniture plant that employs the inmates. The furniture company is in charge of training, feeding and paying the inmates a salary.
Investment in sanitation contributed to reduce diseases and improve the quality of life. Also in the forefront in this area, Paraná is ensuring that 99% of its citizens have treated water and 42% have sewage collection in urban areas, from which 90% of this collected sewage is treated (in Brazil, only 18% of the sewage is treated).
s to education, among several other actions, Lerner created the “Teacher’s University” with the main purpose of offering continued qualification to every segment of the school community in the public network by using innovative technologies and techniques for recycling and motivating the professionals of education.
The program “From the Street to the School” returned to and maintained at school 80 thousand children and adolescents, providing a monthly basket of staple food to the families that sent and kept their children at school.
The number of day-care centers for children from zero to six years of age almost tripled from 1995 to 2002. In total, 42 thousand poor children were attended in the 417 new day-care centers throughout the State, receiving meals, care, hygiene, leisure and education.
With the creation of Centers of Excellence in volleyball, basketball and olympic gymnastics and of the University of Sport, Lerner started training a new generation of athletes and also building the capacity of coaches and managers. Courses and training were offered in several cities.
Quality of life – Jaime Lerner created the first Brazilian fund earmarked to improve the quality of life in municipalities. The US$ 415 million of “Urban Parana” were invested in urban infrastructure in every municipality of the State.
The program funded projects envisaging the purchase of equipment, construction of squares, day-care centers, health-care centers, street lighting, school buses and activities that generate employment and income.
Culture and memory as instruments to strengthen the identity of Paraná’s people – An ambitious cultural program allowed, amongst several actions, the implementation of the NovoMuseu (currently Oscar Niemeyer Museum, designed by Oscar Niemeyer at Jaime ́s invitation), one of the largest exhibition areas in Latin America; the “Cultural Convoy”, a caravan made up of seven recycled buses that took itinerant theater performances, children’s plays, puppet shows, pop and classical music, dance and opera to all municipalities in Paraná, being regarded as one of the most successful cultural efforts in Brazil; the program “Velho Cinema Novo”, that started the recycling of 17 old movie theaters in cities in state’s countryside, recuperating them as fundamental references of these city’s history and as meeting points; and the “Science Park”, a scientific and cultural facility aiming at investigating people to seek more knowledge.