ABU DHABI - Taking office just before COP28, the newly appointed ambassador of Brazil to the UAE, Sidney Leon Romeiro, hailed the UAE’s success in different areas in an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

"The United Arab Emirates has stood out for respect for environmental protection, sustainability, and climate preservation as well as renewable energies and decarbonisation", said the diplomat.

The embassy is Romeiro’s first post as ambassador – after having led the Middle East Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil since 2019. Born in 1962, Sidney Leon Romeiro arrived in the UAE last October. For the Brazilian diplomat, the UAE is a very prosperous economy, and has known how to combine stability, and sustainability with economic development. “I take over the embassy now, here in Abu Dhabi, at the best moment in the relations between the two countries”, stressed the ambassador as he emphasised that Brazil has a very strong history of cooperation with the UAE.

This partnership is also reflected in joint efforts to combat climate change. Brazil and the UAE have been vocal in global discussions to meet the goal set in the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit Earth's warming to 1.5 °C. "During our two years as non-permanent members of the Security Council, we had an excellent coordination, and we hope to repeat that now at COP," said the Brazilian ambassador.

Brazil, says Romeiro, will send an illustrious delegation to participate in COP28, on 30 November-12 December in Dubai. The conference is expected to host 70,000 participants, including heads of state, international leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and civil society representatives.

The compromise to curb global warming is also echoed in high-level discussions of the two nations. During the visit of the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to Abu Dhabi earlier this year, recalls Romeiro, Brazil and the UAE signed a document of multilateral action and of commitment to implementing the climate ambition. The two countries have also agreed on a memorandum of understanding outlining a transition plan between COP28 and COP30, set to take place in 2025 in the Amazonian city of Belém, in Northern Brazil. “The feedback we have received from the UAE is quite strong in terms of cooperation in the preparation for COP,” stated the Brazilian ambassador. “The visit of Dr Sultan Al Jaber, (Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology) COP28 President, is in itself an indicative sign of this trend towards cooperation”, Romeiro said.

BRICS Diplomacy
According to the Brazilian ambassador, the UAE and Brazil share similar visions in some areas, including global governance, respect to the international law, reform of international institutions, global stability and tolerance.
Romeiro highlighted the two nations' joint work in the United Nations Security Council and expressed the intention to strengthen ties within international blocs.

"The UAE is already part of BRICS, and we are now working towards their effective inclusion. We also have a great effort to achieve an agreement between Mercosur and the UAE. We are together, and our intention is to cooperate even more," said the Brazilian diplomat.

Sidney Leon Romeiro has also mentioned that Brazil, which holds the G20 Presidency, is working to invite the UAE to participate in the bloc’s summit in 2024. The annual heads of state summit, gathering the world’s largest economies, is set to take place in Rio de Janeiro at the end of next year.

Global Media Congress (GMC)

Reflecting on the second edition of the Global Media Congress (GMC), held from 14th to 16th November 2023, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Sidney Leon Romeiro emphasised the importance of the event, which gathered representatives from 172 countries. "The United Arab Emirates stands out as an international hub, not only for transportation but also for promoting businesses, connecting people, providing opportunities, and fostering entrepreneurship," said the ambassador.

The Brazilian diplomat stressed that the UAE connects different people and interests, making the country a proper venue for discussing media and innovation in the sector. "This country has all the conditions to contribute to this debate," Romeiro emphasises.

Brazilian media organisations and representatives have stood out since the inaugural edition of the Global Media Congress last year. Major Brazilian media conglomerates such as Band and SBT were able to showcase their brands to the global market using the GMC as a platform for business development and opportunities. Additionally, through a memorandum of understanding, these Brazilian TV networks engage in content exchange with the Emirates News Agency, (WAM).

In this regard, the Brazilian ambassador highlighted the importance of WAM's partnerships with Brazilian media outlets, presenting exclusive content from the United Arab Emirates to the local audience. "When exploring different aspects of our agenda, such as space cooperation, cooperation in artificial intelligence, tourism, culture... the media play a fundamental role in this. It helps, it brings populations closer with all these connections," said the ambassador while analysing the close relations between the two nations through the media industry.

Half a Century of Diplomatic Relations Economic Ties
In 2024, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations. Assessing these five decades, ambassador Sidney Leon Romeiro calls it a story of success. “We have a much higher density nowadays than with countries with centuries-old relations”, said Romeiro.

For him, the trade exchange between the two countries, which has grown by 43.6% from 2013 through 2022, is already well-established "and now it walks on its own”.

Currently, Mubadala Development Company, Abu Dhabi Investment Fund, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines, and DP World are some of the Emirati companies that invest the most in Brazil. “We would like the UAE to be a partner in our current process of investing in infrastructure. It is a marriage that pleases both parties. They are interested in investing in long-term projects, lasting twenty or thirty years, such as ports, highways, airports, the food security sector. And we need this investment”, noted Romeiro.

The ambassador highlighted that the Brazilian government wants to advance even further in this relationship. "We would like to explore areas that the UAE has to offer us. Artificial intelligence, for example, the space sector, which has a fantastic schedule of development activities, training, and sending astronauts that we can share. We want to strengthen sectors at the embassy in these areas: science, technology, and innovation, for example," explains Sidney Leon Romeiro.

Another area that Brazil is interested in developing with the UAE is the cultural sector. "The United Arab Emirates has increasingly consolidated in this cultural opening to the world, with museums, exhibitions, shows, and international missions here. Brazil has a very strong projection in this area. So, it is our intention to strengthen this segment. Tourism is also another area that we can work on together," says the diplomat upon exploring the new efforts of the diplomacy of the two countries.

In a light-hearted tone, for Sidney Leon Romeiro, this half-century of diplomatic relations between Brazil and the United Arab Emirates is akin to a golden wedding anniversary: "We would like to bring this relationship to the next fifty years with many more initiatives, with much more projection. It is a Golden Wedding Anniversary, but with the enthusiasm of the first week of marriage," concludes the Brazilian ambassador with good humour and optimism while projecting the next steps in the diplomatic relationship between the two nations.