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PANAMA (ACAN-EFE) – A thousand officials, technicians, diplomats and businesspeople arrived for a three-day Latin American-Iberian gathering in Panama starting Wednesday to see and display the latest in environmentally friendly technology.Panamanian Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry, José Manuel Paredes, Spanish Ambassador to Panama Gerardo Zaldívar and the president of the Spanish National Congress for the Environment (CONAMA), Gonzalo Echague, inaugurated the Latin American-Iberian Sustainable Development Encounter (EIMA) at a Panama City convention center.Zaldívar told ACAN-EFE that approximately 40 Spanish environmental experts shared their knowledge and technical advice at the gathering, sponsored by the Spanish government and other institutions and transnational companies.Echague indicated that CONAMA, a foundation formed by environmental government officials and representatives of private as well as nonprofit institutions, also sponsored the event. Juan Carlos Navarro, Mayor of Panama City, told ACAN-EFE that topics at the event included the best forms of environmentally friendly production,and examples of businesses that have succeeded in this area.He added that the Panama Canal constitutes the best example in the world on how to produce with efficiency, cleanliness and administrative autonomy.He mentioned the canal provides potable water to part of the population, generates electrical energy and protects and reforests the canal basin and its surrounding area while maintaining a balance between the rains and area biodiversity.Navarro indicated that during the encounter, alternative energy sources to fossil fuels would be discussed, with the aim of establishing pollutant-free industries.The mayor, who directed the National Association for Nature Conservancy (ANCON) for years, said the gathering also aimed to analyze poverty and uneven distribution of wealth as factors that unleash the poor use of natural resources in Latin American countries.The EIMA program covered topics such as the growth of cities and their needs, climate change, biodiversity and infrastructure.More than 100 Latin American- Iberian businesses set up displays of their products and services to foster clean development at the gathering.

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