CAF, Development Bank of Latin America, has held the Portugal-Latin America and the Caribbean Conference in Lisbon under the theme "Working together for sustainable development". This meeting, in collaboration with the Portuguese Ministry of Finance and the Institute for the Promotion of Latin America and the Caribbean (IPDAL), aimed to promote dialogue on the transatlantic relationship and to seek opportunities and challenges to achieve the objectives.
The Conference, inaugurated by CAF's Executive President, Sergio Díaz-Granados, and the Minister of Finance, Fernando Medina, brought together specialists from different countries who focused their interventions on three main areas: sustainable coastal tourism; sustainable water and sanitation models, an issue of great concern to the bank, as only 69% of the population in Latin America has secure access to water; and the energy transition and investment opportunities in Latin American countries.
Díaz-Granados stressed the importance of promoting cooperation in forums such as this Latin-Portuguese meeting and of deepening transatlantic trade relations in order to respond to the global challenges facing the planet. Although there are many areas that, according to the executive president, could exemplify the need to bring the two regions closer together, water insecurity in Latin America, the opportunities for reformulating the tourism sector and the potential of the territory for energy transition were the three central themes of the meeting.
For his part, the minister referred to the fundamental role of Spain and Portugal as leaders in Europe's relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, while praising the importance of CAF-Development Bank of Latin America as a space for rapprochement and partnership in key sectors, such as the blue sector, technological innovation and energy.
This was followed by the development of the three panels on key issues, in which the challenges we face and the need to work together, both the Administration and private enterprise, were made clear, as collaboration is essential to achieve the challenges we face.
The panel on sustainable tourism featured Alicia Montalvo, Manager of Climate Action and Positive Biodiversity at CAF, as the main speaker. Montalvo highlighted the "Living and Sustainable Tourism" initiative as an integral action strategy for the construction of a tourism sector that improves living conditions in destinations, both for the communities that inhabit them and the rest of the ecosystem, while promoting economic development based on previous experiences. A programme that could be used for the development and preservation of Latin American tourism territories.
Participants in the debate included Marta Cabral, CEO Rota Vicentina, Portugal; Carolina Mendonça, Regional Secretary for Tourism, Mobility and Infrastructures of the Government of the Azores; Felipe Álava Riofrío, Director of Planning and Territorial Development of the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador; and Jake Kheel, Vice-President of the Puntacana Group Foundation, Dominican Republic.
The second panel opened with Ángel Cárdenas, Manager of Urban Development, Water and Creative Economies at CAF, who explained the role of water security in the maintenance of communities and the search for sustainable development, through transparency, care for water quality and the relevance of the circular economy in one of the regions with the greatest inequality in access to sanitised and safe water sources.
After his intervention, the situation of water and its sanitation was discussed by Cláudio de Jesus, President of Aguas de Portugal Internacional; Johanna Patiño, Deputy Water Manager, Empresa Pública Metropolitana de Agua Potable y Saneamiento de Quito (EMPMAPS); Víctor Alarcón, General Manager of Servicio de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado de Lima (SEDAPAL); and Cristina Arango, General Manager of Empresa de Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Bogotá (EAAB).
Finally, there was a discussion on ecological transition and investment opportunities. However, before the keynote speaker, Antonio Silveira, CAF's Director of Infrastructure, it was the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (p.c), Francisco André, who spoke. Antonio Silveira then focused his presentation on Latin America's opportunities for energy transition, due to its moderate emissions and great capacity to generate renewable energies, such as hydroelectric or natural gas. Silveira pointed, however, to the need to strengthen, modernise and recondition energy infrastructures in the region.
Silveira moderated the subsequent round table with the participation of João Galamba, Secretary of State for the Environment and Energy of Portugal; José João Guilherme, Executive Director of Caixa Geral de Depósitos; Luís Rebelo de Sousa, Executive Director of the Portuguese Investment and Foreign Trade Agency (AICEP Portugal Global); and Mónica Contreras, President of Transportadora de Gas Internacional (TGI) of Colombia.
The closing ceremony was led by Ricardo Mourinho Félix, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Jorge Arbache, Vice-President of CAF's private sector. Arbache wanted to highlight once again the meeting space and future projection that CAF-Development Bank of Latin America offers for development, both in terms of economic, human and social growth in the region, and in terms of a sustainable future at a global level that is built on the basis of good relations between powers.