The EU-LAC Foundation’s President Benita Ferrero-Waldner took part at the XVII Annual CAF Conference in Washington D.C, on 4 and 5 September. This annual event is organised by the CAF Development Bank of Latin America, the Inter-American Dialogue, and the Organisation of American States and brings together government senior officials, key opinion makers, policy analysts, and actors from the business sector and other international organisations mainly from the Americas. The Conference aims to encourage high-level discussion on current challenges and opportunities in hemispheric relations as well as to demonstrate the importance of Latin America for global economic and political relations. Mr Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile, was the keynote speaker of this year’s conference and other panellists included Mr Fernando Carrera, Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Mr Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, and Ms Nancy Birdsall, President of the Center for Global Development.
Ms Ferrero-Waldner has been invited as a panellist for the fifth session entitled “Toward a New Trans-Atlantic Partnership” alongside Mr José Maria Aznar, former President of Spain, Mr Luis Alberto Lacalle, former President of Uruguay amongst others. Her speech stressed that Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and North America are united by a common set of Western values, which should serve as the backdrop of mutually beneficial triangular cooperation in the international agenda. A strengthened partnership is instrumental not only in the global battle against transnational organised crime, drug trafficking in particular, but also in the mission to foster sustainable development.
During the two-day conference other issues were discussed such as the implications of the US immigration reform for US-Latin American relations, political trends in Latin America, the challenge of economic transformation, innovation and entrepreneurship, drug policy, and the recent wave of global social protests. The problem of inequality in Latin America, the need for effective and equitable economic integration, and the importance of investment in infrastructure and education were recurring points brought up in the discussions.