The importance of strengthening the Suriname-Brazil bilateral relationship

On January 1, 2023, President Chandrikapersad Santokhi will attend the inauguration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The President will be accompanied by a small delegation, including Minister Albert Ramdin for Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation (BIBIS). Minister Ramdin will also take the opportunity to get to know his new colleague and discuss a number of substantive topics on bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world by area and the third largest economy in the Americas. In the global diplomatic sphere, the country is classified as an ‘advanced economy’, which means that Brazil’s role in the world will only increase in the future.

Apart from Ecuador and Chile, Brazil borders every country in South America and therefore literally has a position on the continent that unites the South American countries.

The largest part (60%) of the Amazon rainforest is located in Brazil, which in turn is more than half of the existing rainforest in the world. In addition, Brazil has the largest river in the world and the country covers at least five climate zones. These particular characteristics make Brazil a world leader in the fight against global warming and other climate problems that are increasingly ravaging the world.

The Republic of Suriname and the Federal Republic of Brazil have had bilateral relations for 46 years, beginning on March 3, 1976.

There are reciprocal diplomatic representations headed by an ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary. Suriname has an embassy in Brasilia and a consulate in Belém do Para. Brazil maintains an embassy in Paramaribo.

The cooperative relationship that Suriname maintains with Brazil is considered a strategic partnership and is expressed mainly through technical cooperation projects. With Brazilian expertise, assistance is provided to achieve sustainable development of various Surinamese sectors, including agriculture, livestock, public health, security, defense, education and natural resources.

This also allows the Brazilian experts to expand their expertise in applying their knowledge in Suriname.

Suriname is currently one of the countries with which Brazil has the most technical cooperation projects and is a good example of successful South-South cooperation.

Brazil also supported Suriname with know-how during the recent floods in the Brokopondo area. At the request of Suriname, a virtual working group has been set up with experts from both countries in various fields, which meet regularly in connection with the monitoring of the Afobaka hydropower plant.

Currently, after a period of stagnation due to COVID-19, 6 projects in agriculture, education, natural resources and livestock are continuing. In addition, five project documents in agriculture and diplomacy have been signed and are ready for implementation.

In the first week of December 2022, a delegation from the Brazilian Agency for Cooperation (ABC) formulated two (2) projects in Suriname with stakeholders involved, namely:

“Support for the establishment of the Cyber ​​​​Security Incident Response Center in Suriname” and “Strengthening the health surveillance of vector-borne diseases: Malaria, Chagas and leishmaniasis” within the framework of the technical cooperation Suriname-Brazil.

Cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense is also very fruitful. Both Suriname and Brazil are represented in each other’s countries through a military attaché. As of 16 April 2012, Defense Cooperation has been ratified with the entry into force of the “Agreement on Cooperation in Defense Matters” (signed on 22 April 2008 in Paramaribo). With the new threats in the world that Suriname must also take into account, such as in cybercrime and terrorism and open borders, it is important to deepen this cooperation.

Brazil has also made a major contribution to the establishment of Suriname’s Military Academy and the Military School, which was launched on 20 September 2019.

In May 2018, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed for cooperation between the Suriname Police Force (KPS) and the Federal Police of Brazil. This MOU covers the following areas of cooperation: capacity building, police-police information exchange, combating transnational organized crime and police training.

The main purpose of this cooperation is joint efforts in the fight against cross-border crime, in particular: border security; Drug trafficking; Trafficking in persons; Arms trade; Migration/legalization matters.

Traditionally, there have been regular consultations at the level of the foreign ministers. Minister Ramdin confirmed that the good relations will now also be continued, and it will be discussed how these can be further substantiated. Participation in the inauguration is an important prerequisite for this.

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