Lula to open general debate at UN assembly for eighth time

He was previously in Cuba, where he signed cooperation deals

Published on 18/09/2023 - 11:30 By Agência Brasil - São Paulo

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is in New York to give the first speech of the general debate of heads of state at the 78th United Nations (UN) General Assembly on Tuesday (Sep. 19). It will be the eighth time President Lula opens the general debate of heads of state. During the eight years in which he governed Brazil, encompassing his first two terms, he failed to attend only in 2010.

Lula flew to the US after participating in the G77+China Summit of Heads of State and Government in Havana, where he also met with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel. This was the third meeting between the two leaders this year, and was also the first official trip by a Brazilian president to the Caribbean island in nine years, since then-President Dilma Rousseff’s visit in 2014.

16.09.2023 - O presidente Lula, durante encontro com o Presidente da República de Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez - Palácio da Revolução - Havana - Cuba Fotos: Ricardo Stuckert / PR
In Havana, Lula met with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel – Ricardo Stuckert / PR

The officials who accompanied the president inked cooperation accords in Cuba which, the government stated, should “expand the exchange of technology between the two countries” in health care, science, and agriculture.

In health care, a cooperation protocol was signed for the exchange of technology and expertise around chronic diseases, vaccines, biotechnology, and biodiversity, as well as communicable and neglected diseases.

“This agreement is important because Brazil benefits from cutting-edge knowledge that Cuba has developed through years of investment. In this joint initiative, Brazil brings in its expertise in clinical research and its capacity to produce on a scale in public as well as private laboratories,” Health Minister Nísia Trindade said.

The document also outlines an association between Brazil’s research foundation Fiocruz and Cuba’s Biocubafarma, which should enable the transfer of technology for the domestic production of NeuroEpo—an innovative drug used to slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s—and Erythropoietin—used to treat anemia resulting from kidney failure, leukemia, and other diseases.

The deal also facilitates the creation of a mutual assistance policy on regulations on the approval and marketing of medicines, devices, and vaccines.

Under science and technology, the main measure inked is the reactivation of the Brazil–Cuba Science, Technology, and Innovation Steering Committee. The committee is to meet again within 60 days to discuss scientific and technological cooperation between the two nations, with priority given to biotechnology, bioeconomy, biorefineries, biomanufacturing, renewable energies, agricultural sciences, sovereignty, food security, climate, sustainability, as well as education and research networks.

“It’s a relationship we learn a lot from. And it’s also a chance to exchange know-how and look for ways to cooperate and build a healthy partnership, so we can find solutions for both Brazil and Cuba,” said Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation Luciana Santos.

Also in Havana, Agrarian Development and Family Farming Minister Paulo Teixeira signed a commitment to build a comprehensive program focused on technology exchange and technical cooperation for seeds and seedlings, bio-supplies and fertilizers, conservation agriculture, urban and peri-urban agriculture, priority food products for human and animal consumption, reproduction of priority food species, efficient use of water, land registration and management, and food distribution.

Translation: Fabrício Oliveira -  Edition: Aécio Amado / Nira Foster

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