Posted by manolo On December - 18 - 2012

ABU DHABI: “Constructive co-operation between the Arab World and Latin America is an imperative for shaping the future of development and progress in the world.”

This comment was made by Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, as part of his opening address at the Arab Latin-American Forum being held at the United Arab Emirates University in the capital on Sunday.

“The two regions wield vital and strong influence on changes and developments taking place in various parts of the world,” Sheikh Nahyan told the gathering of commercial, economic, political and social leaders from Latin America and the Arab world, which is being organised by the United Arab Emirates University over two days.

“As a beacon of progress and development, the UAE under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is playing a pivotal role in advancing regional and international efforts to eliminate poverty and raise living standards. The UAE also stands today as a world model of protection of the environment and sustainable development and as an important actor in the world energy landscape,” Sheikh Nahyan added.

“We in the UAE take our role in supporting international co-operation seriously out of our firm belief that progress and stability of the world rests on that factor,” he said.

Sheikh Nahyan stressed that despite the geographical distance, the two regions maintain significant similarities in terms of circumstances, ambitions and aspirations. They boast of rich civilisations and cultures and a group of Arab immigrants who contributed to the progress of Latin America over centuries, he noted.

He said leaders of the two regions were fully conscious of the need to bolster political, economic and commercial relations and were striving to build mechanisms to ensure success of that goal.

Sheikh Nahyan raised a set of questions, which he believed, would draw a roadmap for joint co-operation regardless of the geographical gap.

How will the two regions extend bridges of co-operation while safeguarding their indigenous cultural heritage? And how will they build common understanding in sensitive political, economic, social, scientific, cultural and environmental issues? Also, how will they build a knowledge-based community and promote trade and investment? These were questions posed by Sheikh Nahyan.

Addressing the forum, Dr Leonel Fernandez, former president of the Dominican Republic and president of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE), spoke about the importance of creating institutions that would implement sustainable development programmes in social, economic, commercial, cultural, educational and social sectors for the best interest of peoples in the two regions.

He said such Arab-Latin American gatherings would generate better understanding of the rapid transformations in the world like globalisation.

The forum, he added, would draw lessons from other international summit to build development partnerships and expand Arab-Latin bonds.

He called on the forum to seize opportunities the $2-trillion Latin American economy can offer to increase trade and investment exchange.

Later, the conferees discussed a number of papers on exploring untapped opportunities for Arab-Latin American investment and trade partnerships, and assessing the business climate in both regions.