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Minister Fajon speaks to participants of the 4th Latin America and Caribbean Days conference

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tanja Fajon addressed the participants of the 4th Latin America and Caribbean Days conference (LAC Days 2022). The event was held in a virtual format under the theme "Water-related disaster risk management in a changing climate" and focused on climate change, water, and digital solutions to address the current challenges facing both regions.

In her opening speech, Minister Fajon stressed the importance of working with the Latin American and Caribbean region and strengthening dialogue and integration. "The LAC Days conference is an excellent opportunity to exchange views, best practices and experiences in areas of common interest and on current issues," she said.

The Minister expressed her satisfaction with Slovenia’s partnership with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in a joint effort to turn environmental challenges into opportunities to change our way of life, production and consumption, and to achieve a more harmonious coexistence with nature. Water and climate change are also in the focus of Slovenia's foreign policy. The Minister has appointed special envoys for these two issues. Prof. Dr Kajfež Bogataj, a renowned climatologist, is a member of the Strategic Council for Foreign Affairs.

At the conference, experts from Slovenia and the Caribbean presented the problems they face in their respective environments as a result of the impacts of climate change, which also brings disaster risks, and the provision of drinking water. They also presented examples of how to deal with such situations.

In the discussion, professors and researchers from the Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering and the National Institute of Biology of the University of Ljubljana, the Slovenian Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies SPACE-SI, IRCAI – IJS and a representative of the Slovenian Water Agency, as well as professors from the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the University in Jamaica, expressed their willingness for cooperation between the two regions, especially on climate change pressures, which are common to all of us. The presentations identified droughts, floods and drinking water scarcity as the biggest common pressures.

The impact of water on people, natural resources, and the economic strength of countries that can either support or slow down recovery from any crisis was highlighted. Crisis management will increasingly focus on early warning mechanisms, for which we need systems, data and people, as well as cooperation between organisations, including at the international level.

With its themes and proposals, the debate fosters a continued concrete dialogue between institutions. The LAC Days 2023 events scheduled for March 2023 will provide a new opportunity to discuss and review progress. A water forum with the region is also planned to take place at that time.

The conference concluded with a presentation on sustainable tourism and digitalisation by the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, as the Caribbean and Slovenia share challenges and opportunities in these areas.

The Latin America and Caribbean Days conference has been organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2018, as part of the Bled Strategic Forum. The co-organisers and partners of this year's event are the EU-LAC Foundation and the Global Water Partnership Slovenia.