How European and Caribbean scientific institutions can collaborate to face the demands of climate change and manage disaster risk was the objective of the LAC Days 2022 webinar organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, the EU-LAC Foundation and the Bled Strategic Forum with Global Water Partnership Slovenia on 22 November.
Experts from the University of the West Indies, the University of Ljubljana - the National Institute of Biology, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, the Slovenian Centre of Excellence for Space Science and Technologies, the International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence - Jožef Stefan Institute, and the Slovenian Water Agency discussed and exchanged best practices on water management and its importance on disaster risk issues, including the use of satellite imaging, modelling, the use of artificial intelligence and risk identification and analysis. Emphasis was placed on building resilience in local communities through a concerted effort between academia, grassroots involvement, and public policy.
Opening the event, Ms. Tanja Fajon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, stressed the importance of the Slovenian LAC Days in strengthening dialogue and cooperation with LAC. She highlighted the special emphasis put on environment and water management for the 2022 edition that reflects the strong commitment of Slovenian government to work tighter in partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean on this issue. Minister Fajon underlined the relevance of water for human development, preservation of ecosystems, climate resilience and peace and security as well as the importance to have Latin America and the Caribbean countries as partners in facing climate change effects.
Dr. Adrián Bonilla, Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation, stressed the importance on bi-regional cooperation to tackle the urgent challenges of climate change, as storms and other disaster are causing more damage than ever before. He recalled the preoccupation expressed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union in December, 2020, to promote joint strategies for risk reduction and increased preparedness. The EU-LAC partnership, he mentioned, is already producing results, such as the EU-LAC International Women´s Network dialogues on women and climate change, and the establishment in 2022 of a data centre in Panama for the Copernicus Project, which will sharing satellite information to benefit Central America and the Caribbean.
The webinar on water-related disaster risk management in changing climate renews the valued partnership between the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and EU-LAC Foundation on issues of direct relevance to the EU-LAC strategic partnership. It also featured as the main event of the Slovenian LAC Days 2022.