Diana Quintero: Colombia – a bridge between Asia and Latin America

Cartagena Dialogue

Guest post by Diana Quintero, Vice Minister for Strategy and Planning, Ministry of National Defense, Colombia

Little is known about the Cartagena Dialogue – and I am not referring to a historical treaty signed in our beautiful walled city. Instead, I am referring to a new meeting point for leaders of Asian countries (such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia) and countries of the region (such as Chile, Peru, Panama, and Mexico) that will be coming together for the first time to establish a strategic dialogue on global trends in defense, security, and economics. Government leaders, academics and business people will participate in the dialogue, creating a bridge linking Asia with Latin America, as well as connecting Latin American countries among themselves.

A robust economy, reduction in poverty and unemployment, and the real possibility of finding an end to the armed conflict make Colombia a benchmark for the region and in the world. This is unquestionably thanks to the sacrifice of our soldiers and police – they are true architects of peace.

No country at peace can go without strong and modern armed forces. To offer assurance and security, law enforcement must be strengthened. It is the only way to create the right setting for a nation’s prosperity and sustainable development.

In the last decade, Colombia has been hailed by the international community for the progress it has made in matters of security. These results are due, primarily, to the increase in foot soldiers and the acquisition and modernisation of equipment, which have allowed an increased use of technology and greater effectiveness when protecting the Colombian people.

There can certainly be no better investment than that made in security. In fact, while the world at large discusses how to best resolve diverse conflicts, Colombia emerges as a great example in negotiated solutions.

The trust Colombia has built and our potential as a global actor make events like the IISS Cartagena Dialogue possible. This is an opportunity to share our success stories across multiple fronts. From 6–8 March, global leaders from the fields of business, politics, and academia will come together for strategic discussions in which Colombia will stand out as a central player in the fight against transnational crime and the reduction of social inequalities, building bridges that allow our nation to share its experience and capacity with the rest of the world.

This post is part of our content accompanying the IISS Cartagena Dialogue: Trans-Pacific Summit, which runs from 6-8 March 2015 in Colombia. You can follow the latest mentions of the Dialogue, or contribute your own, on Twitter via #IISSCartagena. Inquiries can be sent to cartagena@iiss.org.