Mission of the EU-LAC Foundation to the Dominican Republic

From 13 to 16 October, the Senior Programme Manager of the EU-LAC Foundation, Dr Anna Barrera, travelled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in order to participate in the event “Health Resilience for Sustainable Tourism and Opportunities for the Future”, which was co-organised by the EU-LAC Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic.

The event was part of a cycle of five events on sustainable tourism which seek to foster bi-regional dialogue involving different actors such as policymakers, entrepreneurs, civil society and researchers in joint reflections on the necessary conditions and paths to move towards a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive social, economic, cultural, and environmental tourism sector that can contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. This second event concentrated on the topic "Resilience in health to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and sustainably transform tourism in Latin America, the Caribbean (LAC) and the European Union (EU)" and took place on 15 October in the Convention Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic. Approximately 60 guests from EU and LAC Embassies based in the Dominican Republic, representatives of public authorities, the tourism sector, the academia as well as local media attended the event physically and another estimated 250 persons followed the event via the zoom platform as well as the broadcasting on UWI TV and live streaming on Facebook.

The opening session was attended by Roberto Álvarez Gil, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic; Katja Ahlfeldt, Ambassador of the EU Delegation in the Dominican Republic; Linda Maguire, UNDP Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean; and Adrián Bonilla, Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation. This was followed by a technical panel session with Rafael Blanco Tejera, President of the National Association of Hotels and Tourism (ASONAHORES); Lisa Indar, Director-Division of Disease Surveillance, Prevention and Control, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and José Carlos Díez, Associate Expert of the UNDP. This session was moderated by Inka Mattila, UNDP Resident Representative in the Dominican Republic, and Dr Anna Barrera, EU-LAC Foundation.

After the event, the Viceministry on Consular and Migratory Issues, headed by Jatzel Román, invited the participants, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Relations to a work lunch in the Convention Centre where the dialogue about key elements to transform the tourism sector in the Dominican Republic was continued and deepened. Dr Barrera also exchanged with Rubén Silié Valdez, Vice-minister for Foreign Affairs; María Fernanda Ortega Gámez, Director for International Organisations; Ambassador Ana Castellanos de Kranwinkel, Director for Political Summits and Fora; and Jatzel Román in further bilateral meetings on the state and priorities of CELAC-UE relations and the institutional development and the EU-LAC Foundation’s activities planned for 2022.

During her stay in Santo Domingo, Dr Barrera also met with the Foundation’s strategic partners from the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE). Together with Marco Herrera, Executive Director of FUNGLODE, Stephanie Rodriguez and Triana Aybar, Research Analysts at FUNGLODE, they analysed the context of the pandemic and its implications for societies, public policies and multilateral relations between Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe. During this encounter, those present agreed on the mutual desire to explore options to reactivate cooperation in fields of interest for both institutions, especially in terms of post-pandemic recovery and climate change.

Moreover, the working agenda included a meeting with Cheila Valera, Director of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Rosajilda Vélez Canelo, International Cooperation Adviser at FLACSO and Adviser at the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development, and Lidia Encarnación, Director for Regional Cooperation at the Ministry of Economy, Planification and Development, to whom Dr Barrera presented the mandate, institutional structure and thematic areas of the EU-LAC Foundation. Both institutions showed their interest in collaborating with the Foundation in their capacity-building activities and forums in 2022.