Ministries of Social Development in Arab and South American countries are going to create teams turned to cooperation between the two regions. This was one of the decisions made during a meeting for ministers in the field, which ended Thursday, May 3, in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and which was part of the follow-up agenda of the Summit of South American-Arab Countries, held in May 2005 in Brazil.
The information was given reporters by the head of the Social Issues division at the Itamaraty (Brazilian foreign office), Mariângela Rebuá.
"The participants decided that focal points are going to be created in the ministries of Social Development in each country. These focal points will be people in charge of preparing the technical aspects of cooperation," said Mariângela, in Cairo.
In the meeting, experiences of social projects carried out in each country were exchanged, and the leaders displayed interest in trading knowledge and in working together in the field.
The Brazilian minister of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation, Patrus Ananias, participated in the meeting, the first ever held in the social field between the two regions.
Another result of the meeting was a decision made by the ministers to create a website, in which the results of the cooperation will be published, as will work experiences carried out in the field in each of the participating countries that might be of common interest.
The page should be included in the site for the Summit (www.mre.gov.br/aspa), in order to enable easy access to all types of information, by all interested parties. By the end of the meeting, there was a consensus between leaders in their willingness to carry on with the process initiated in Cairo.
"The fact that we got together to address a social cooperation agenda, and to seek ways of promoting common work in the field between Arab and South American countries, is extremely positive in itself. The potential for cooperation between us is very high, therefore, from now on, each and every space and possibility of joint work in the social field, in countries in these two regions, will be seized," said Mariângela. During the meeting, a joint document was disclosed, listing areas of common interest in the social field.
"The social problems in the two regions are very similar. That is why the ten-page document, elaborated by the participants and issued during the meeting, highlights areas of common interest. The document identifies common concerns with issues such as the fight against hunger and poverty, implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the rights of women, elderly, people with disabilities, children, and youths," Mariângela explained.
According to the head of the Social Issues division at Itamaraty, there already are United Nations conventions regarding all these subjects; what is lacking is adequate implementation. "And that is what we hope to discuss in our upcoming meetings," she said. It was decided that biennial meetings will be held for ministers, and annual meetings for high-level officials.
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