Following the launch of its first public event, the Diplomatic International Day (DID) enjoyed on June 22th, the participation of six Ambassadors from Arab countries, including the active participation of Egypt, Palestine and Tunisia. The first edition of the Diplomatic International Day, “The Impact of Covid-19 in Diplomacy and SDGs”, was organized by the Diplomatic Coalition, ECO de España en Árabe and CINPAA, with the special support of the Diplomatic Council.
The opening ceremony was also attended by Ambassador of the Arab League in Spain, H.E. Bachar Yaghi, the Ambassador of Algeria, H.E. Toufik Milat, and on behalf of the Ambassador of Qatar, H.E. Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Hamar, attended Mr. Ahmad Alshebani Councellor of the embassy of Qatar.
“The Diplomatic International Day is an opportunity specifically designed to promote, foster and establish alliances that facilitate the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in all sectors. The uniqueness of the DID lies in the active participation of the diplomatic world in an innovative field, where public and private entities, as well as the institutional sector converge”, stated Mr. Juan Ignacio Lorente González; director of the Diplomatic Council Spain UNO Reg., and promoter of the DID initiative.
As mentioned before, the first edition of the DID, was co-organized by the Diplomatic Council UNO Reg, ECO de España en Árabe and CINPAA. ECO de España en Árabe, leaded by Mr. Fadi Salfeti, is the first-of-its-kind professional Arab Media Centre in the Iberian country, as it has thus far served as a key articulator of ideas nurturing the DID debate. Similarly, it will participate as co- organizer to initiatives to be shared in the framework of the upcoming Diplomatic International Week, next November.
Acting as host of the event, Mr. Pedro Martínez-Avial, president of Casa Árabe, welcomed the consular representations attending the event, and ensured his unconditional support for the DID initiative. Martínez-Avial was particularly interested in the mid-term goals of the Diplomatic Council, which are to define the specific commitments of Arab embassies to scalable, community-based projects already promoting the SDGs at the local level. Near-future financial and technical support is to be provided jointly by private sector partners, consular delegates and Diplomatic Council members and counterparts, alike.
For his part, the Dean of the Arab Countries in Spain and Ambassador of Palestine in Spain, Mr. Musa Amer Odeh, stressed the importance of reviewing lessons learned resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure new avenues of cooperation in terms of availability and equal access of vaccines in marginal areas and structurally vulnerable settings, particularly poverty-ridden communities throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Odeh also pinpointed the need to strengthen international legal mechanisms to ensure an adequate and efficient distribution of minimum health supplies along these areas to effectively confront the pandemic
Coinciding on a vision of the need to identify synergies, Ambassador of Egypt, Mr. Omar Ahmed Abdel Wahab Selim and Ambassador of Tunisia, Mrs. Fatma Omrani Chargui, spoke in favor of the establishment of formulas for immediate emergency health response within populations most at risk of exposure to the pandemic, particularly women and children in rural areas.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented public health crisis, putting the lives and livelihoods of millions at serious risk, further exacerbating inequalities around the globe,” said the Egyptian Ambassador. “Greater financial investment will be required by countries to reinvent and revitalize health systems and use COVID-19 as an opportunity to improve access, quality and sustainability of health systems across the Arab world,” added Mrs. Fatma Omrani, who participated in the inauguration via weblink.
On the other hand, the official sponsor of the first edition of the DID, HM Hospitals, one of the most prestigious groups of hospitals in Spain, leaders in research, teaching and technology with the best quality care. The Head of Diplomatic Relations at HM Hospitals, Mrs. Sihem Ameur Khalfa, who acted also as co-organizer of the event, described how the leading healthcare business group in Spain was able to sustain personalized services to expatriates, diplomatic corps and official bodies during the pandemic.
“It is a whole week of deliberation, analysis, exchange and consultation, in support of model experiences already promoting the SDGs at the grassroots and community levels. Proposals will converge, as well as concrete definitions on the scope and extent of technical and financial contributions from all of us who have shaped the DID initiative which we inaugurated today”, explained Lorente.