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With a stronger EU-LAC partnership towards achieving climate goals

The autumn session of the 5th Latin America and Caribbean Days international conference (LAC Days 2023), focusing on the environment, climate, digitalisation, artificial intelligence and related economic opportunities, and feminist foreign policy, kicked off in Ljubljana with an opening panel.

The panel discussed climate change in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) to take place in Dubai, which is expected to deliver the strongest possible commitments to the Paris goals. In her opening address to the conference, Sanja Štiglic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, underlined Slovenia's strong support for the EU-CELAC bi-regional partnership and described the recent EU-CELAC Summit in July and the EU's new agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean as a major step forward in EU-Latin America and Caribbean relations: "Slovenia is committed to a strengthened EU-CELAC partnership in the field of artificial intelligence. We believe that by working together we will be able to find better solutions both on how to advance trustworthy AI and on how best to exploit its potential, for example in disaster management and preparedness, improving agricultural processes and forest management."

In recent years, Slovenia and individual LAC countries have established cooperation in forestry and water management, sharing knowledge, technology and experience. "Latin America and the Caribbean are admired for their biodiversity and natural resources. The region plays a key role in maintaining ecological balance, food security and the development of renewable energy sources. It is therefore essential that the EU, including Slovenia, seeks to partner with the region to tackle climate change and the energy transition together," stressed State Secretary Štiglic.

Panellists from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, the EU-LAC Foundation and Slovenia highlighted the causes of climate change, including increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Air pollution, in particular black carbon, is a problem affecting, among others, the mountain ranges of the Alps and the Andes. Climate change has exacerbated water-related challenges worldwide, creating the potential for increasing competition for scarce water resources. Better management of water resources is needed to reduce water-related disasters and strengthen resilience to the impacts of climate change on water. Forests are essential for human well-being, the economy and social life. They are a natural ally in climate change adaptation and mitigation, in particular in storing and sequestering carbon, reducing the effects of air pollution and halting or reversing biodiversity loss. The panellists also highlighted the vulnerability of the Caribbean region in particular, the impact of climate change on socio-economic development and the urgency of action in climate change efforts. These will also be the topic of debates at the upcoming COP 28.

The second day of the LAC Days, 23 November 2023, taking place at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ljubljana and at the Faculty of Biotechnology, will be devoted to the economy and to science and research, respectively. The panel discussions will focus on digitalisation and artificial intelligence and feminist foreign policy. The discussion on feminist foreign policy will be opened by an address by Tanja Fajon, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs.

The LAC Days conference is organised by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in partnership with the Bled Strategic Forum with the aim of strengthening cooperation with the LAC countries, mutual understanding and knowledge of the region. The conference provides a platform to enhance dialogue and promote cooperation between the two regions and to deepen Slovenia's partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean.