New avenues for expanding ties - GulfToday

New avenues for expanding ties

Sheikh Hamdan and Francis Suarez discuss ways to boost collaboration as Sheikh Ahmed looks on.

Sheikh Hamdan and Francis Suarez discuss ways to boost collaboration as Sheikh Ahmed looks on.

Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, on Thursday met with Francis Suarez, the Mayor of the US city of Miami, at Expo 2020 Dubai. The meeting was attended by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed and the Mayor of Miami discussed ways to boost collaboration between Dubai and Miami in various vital fields, including investment, environment conversation and sustainability, as well as promote the exchange of knowledge and expertise between the two cities. The meeting also explored new avenues for expanding cooperation to serve the development goals of both cities.

The meeting also reviewed ways to promote tourism between Dubai and Miami and discussed the emergence of the two cities as two of the world’s biggest tourism destinations. Emirates airline currently operates five weekly flights between Dubai and Miami.

During the meeting, Sheikh Hamdan witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance collaboration between the two cities in various key sectors. The MoU was signed Abdulla Al Basti, Secretary-General of The Executive Council of Dubai, and the Mayor of Miami Francis Suarez.

The MoU aims to promote business and investment opportunities, enhance tourism flows between Dubai and Miami, and boost cooperation in the fields of smart cities, technology and innovation, startups, digital economy and creativity. The MoU also seeks to strengthen collaboration to achieve the objectives of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agreement will also see cooperation in the areas of city planning, public transportation, healthcare and community inclusion.

The meeting was also attended by Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai; Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications; and Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director-General of the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai.

Suriname: The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) Suriname, a non-profit organization focused on the conservation of the rainforests of Suriname and part of the Guianas presented an unbelievable range of environmentally sustainable 100% purely organic products developed by the indigenous and tribal communities of the Amazon rainforests at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

 The products ranging from wild-harvested herbal tea, forest honey, jewelry produced from rainforest seeds, medicinal propolis, hot peppers among others promoted by ACT to help generate income for the indigenous people were showcased to the buyers, investors and corporates. Simultaneously, the team also presented details of project funding and investments opportunities to companies serious about protecting Amazon.

The production and sale of these environmentally sustainable Non-Timber Forest Products generate income to improve the economic security of indigenous communities in the remote interior of Suriname. These projects are critical for indigenous communities that are integrated into the cash economy, who otherwise might have no choice but to turn to work with destructive extractive industries to make a living.

Speaking on the occasion, Ben D’Leon, Communication & Marketing Coordinator at Amazon Conservation Team, Suriname, said, “The Expo 2020 Dubai is a great platform providing an amazing opportunity to connect with organizations, buyers and community to convey our message to the world. ACT was created to ensure that the invaluable resources and ecosystem services provided by the Amazon may continue to exist for the benefit of future generations. We must understand that the survival of Amazon has great ramifications for the life across the planet. A healthy and intact Amazon forest will help stabilize the climate patterns on which we, our world economies and ecosystem depend.”

“The products we are introducing here are truly exotic, purely organic, and offer numerous health benefits. Amazon is an incredible source of unique offerings, many of which are yet to be discovered. Its secrets are still hidden from the world but the indigenous people know it and we are working with the protectors to protect its treasures and bring those to the world at large. For instance, our herbal tea is pure herbs from the rainforest with no color, no additives, no preservatives thus pure to the very core– this tea is indeed the rainforest in a bag. Moreover, the entire process from growing to picking and packing promotes sustainability. At ACT, we believe that we are all collectively responsible for the life on planet Earth so when someone even drinks this tea, they contribute to the cause by becoming part of the process”, further commented D’Leon.

Talking about an interesting product with innumerable uses, D’Leon stated, “We also introduced, ‘Ururi Propolis’, our super medicinal product with extraordinary immunity-boosting properties. It is naturally produced from trees and plants, is 100% natural, fights bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, and much more alongside working very well at wound healing. In fact, the rainforests are like a big pharmacy offering inconceivable medicinal gifts of nature.”

 Outlining the key pillars of ACT, Minu Parahoe, ACT - Northeast Amazon Program Director said, “ACT strategy is based on 3 pillars: Sustainable Forest Management, Internal Governance, and Sustainable Livelihood. With this integrated strategy, we operate on the ground, at the grassroots level, and in partnership with over 20 communities in the rainforest of Suriname and Guyana. We have permanent base camps in all communities from where we work with about 100 of our own Forest Rangers and community collaborators. Rangers are community members who are recruited and trained by ACT to monitor, support, and help develop the rainforest communities within themselves.”

While elaborating on this significant event at the Expo 2020, Parahoe states, “Our key agenda at the EXPO 2020 is to raise awareness on the pressing environmental and cultural issues faced by the Amazon and its local people while presenting some of the treasures of our rainforests to the world, such as traditional medicine practices, bio-diversity, and unique and vibrant cultures. Furthermore, seeking and raising funds for our projects which result in Forest preservation, which in turn result in Carbon compensation is one of the priorities.”

Project funding of the livelihood products is required to increase the scale, quality and accessibility to international markets with the aim to increase the number of households involved and improvement of quality of life. Support is also needed to improve processing techniques and thus the quality and to certify the products to be made ready for the international markets. In addition, the investments would also entail providing enabling conditions such as energy, potable water/ improving the workshop and production facilities/processing units, developing of better packaging among other things.

Equipping Indigenous and Tribal People to manage their ancestral lands throughout the Guianas would be another aspect of the investment. This comprises of a regional rangers academy, integrated health system clinics, and amazon biodiversity research lab in partnership with local universities and global institutions. This will serve as the basis for knowledge that supports the discovery and utilization of the existing and potential new products.

The small country of Suriname is nestled on the northeast coast of South America, atop Brazil’s northern border. Often referred to as the greenest country in the world, with 93% forest cover and some of the most well-preserved stretches of rainforest in all of Amazonia, the remote interior of the country is home to diverse indigenous and tribal Maroon communities. These communities have been fighting for collective land rights for decades, as Suriname is one of the few countries in tropical South America that does not recognize indigenous or tribal collective land rights yet.   

Currently, Suriname is at the center of ACT’s long-term transnational initiative to establish a 30-million-hectare biocultural corridor across the northeast Amazon rainforest—one that would be managed by indigenous peoples with the official recognition and collaboration of national governments. ACT is working at the grassroots level with indigenous and Maroon communities, and at the institutional level with regional and national governments, to secure recognition of indigenous-led environmental management and collective land rights.

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