The Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur) is being held this Thursday (Jan. 27) in Cartagena das Índias, Colombia. The bloc, which brings together the eight main economies in Latin America, has Brazil as an exponent, as explained by Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos França, in a radio interview with A Voz do Brasil.
According to França, the bloc – which has replaced the former Unasur – is “a space of democracies that focuses on concrete results.” The summit aims to discuss the implementation of multilateral policies at a supranational level for the Latin American region.
França explained that seven working groups have been formed in the bloc: infrastructure, energy, health, defense, security, natural disaster management and environment.
“Prosur has consolidated the physical integration projects of all countries into a single portfolio. It is a document that will serve potential international investors from the private sector, and can bring greater investment to our region,” said the minister.
The pandemic has influenced several meetings that were supposed to take place during the event, said França. The peak of infections caused by Omicron variant made Prosur organization review the current health regulations for the safety of the countries’ representatives. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Brazil is seen as a leader in vaccination and in the production of pharmaceutical ingredients necessary for immunization, which shall be shared with other members of the bloc.
“Brazil took the lead regarding vaccines. All Prosur countries see Brazil as a leader in this area and try to find ways to cooperate. President [Jair Bolsonaro] wishes to help countries that need a vaccine and do not have it,” said the diplomat.
Among the possible gains from the partnership between neighboring countries, França listed the promotion of tourism and the acceptance of internal documents, such as driving licenses. The minister also stated that there is strong interest in the implementation of optical fiber in the Amazon region – an agenda that is part of the project for digital inclusion and expansion of telecommunications in Brazil. “The gains are expressive,” the minister added.
Carlos França also mentioned the possibility of Brazil joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), from which the country received a letter of invitation for accession on Tuesday (Jan. 25). “Brazil as part of OECD represents a seal of quality. Above all, it meets the demands of Brazilian society for greater transparency, better public governance and effective ways to fight corruption.”
The minister explained that there is a six-step procedure to effect Brazil’s accession to the bloc. During the process, the country needs to adhere to specific OECD instruments and norms so that it can be formally integrated. “This process can take up to four years. But I estimate that within two years we will be able to adapt ourselves to OECD standards,” said França.
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