|The ambassadors, commercial attachés and minister-counsellors of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), the United States, Canada and Spain, met with the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, and pledged their support for the establishment of a hemispheric partnership for food security and sustainable development, given the region’s status as the world’s major food producer and biodiversity powerhouse.|
|The ambassadors visited IICA Headquarters in San Jose and also endorsed the institutional transformation process spearheaded by the Director General, Manuel Otero.|
|San Jose, 5 May 2023 (IICA). Accredited ambassadors and diplomatic representatives to Costa Rica from 20 countries of the Americas endorsed the initiative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to establish a hemispheric partnership for food security and sustainable development, given the region’s status as the world’s major food producer and biodiversity powerhouse.|
The ambassadors, commercial attachés and minister-counsellors of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), the United States, Canada and Spain, who were meeting with the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, also pledged their support for the ongoing institutional transformation process of the specialized agency for agricultural and rural development. IICA is headquartered in Costa Rica, with offices in 34 countries of the Americas and in Spain.
Addressing the diplomatic corps, Otero maintained that, “Our region should be mindful of its role as the guarantor of global food, nutritional and environmental security, producing 24% of the planet’s food, generating 28% of its agro-exports and possessing 50% of its biodiversity”.
He remarked that, “This trend is likely to increase in the future, as will the importance of the region to the water, oxygen and carbon cycles. Given these scenarios, IICA is aiming to maintain a global outlook from its position in the Americas, while serving as a bridge, a promotor of collective action by the countries of the Americas and as an institution with open doors”. Since assuming office in 2018, the IICA Director General has held periodic meetings with the accredited diplomatic corps in Costa Rica to inform them about the Institute’s initiatives and projects to benefit its Member States.
Cynthia Ann Telles, United States Ambassador to Costa Rica, congratulated IICA on its work, particularly in the areas of food security and the search for climate change solutions. “It is clear that you have done a great deal to promote collective action by the countries, which is something very important. We are willing to support IICA in any way we can”, she said.
Cynthia Ann Telles, United States Ambassador to Costa Rica.
Mexican ambassador, Roselia Barajas y Olea, stated that focusing on rural areas is critical for her country, indicating that, “I acknowledge IICA’s outstanding efforts in providing cooperation for agricultural development. In 2023, we hope to continue witnessing and participating in these efforts to promote food security in the region”.
Roselia Barajas y Olea, Mexican Ambassador to Costa Rica.
Canada also gave its commitment to continue working with IICA to improve the capacities of countries in the region to develop science-based regulations and to promote the inclusion of women and youth in agriculture. Ambassador Elizabeth Williams commented that, “Our government considers the Institute to be a very important partner in fostering the adoption of science-based standards, which is essential to facilitate production and trade”.
Elizabeth Williams, Canadian Ambassador to Costa Rica.
Spain, an associate member of the Institute, was represented at the meeting by its Ambassador in Costa Rica, Eva Felicia Martínez Sánchez, who remarked that, “We have always supported and understood the use and value added by this organization, more so at this moment when food security has assumed renewed importance”.
Eva Felicia Martínez Sánchez, Spanish Ambassador to Costa Rica.
Ambassador Mayerlyn Cordero Díaz, stated that, “We recognize the work and leadership of the Director General and his team to develop agriculture in the Dominican Republic. The Institute has also undergone a transformational process under his leadership, benefiting all the countries in the region”.
During the meeting with the ambassadors, Manuel Otero outlined the Institute’s plans to consolidate a hemispheric partnership for food security, which would feature specialized meetings on issues such as the bioeconomy, water, digital agriculture, science, innovation and technology, and family farming, among others.
He also informed them about the high level of recognition that agriculture in the Americas achieved at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 (COP27) in Egypt, where IICA and its private sector partners installed the Home of Sustainable Agriculture in the Americas pavilion. Thirteen ministers from countries in the hemisphere participated and the pavilion hosted 57 specialized meetings, seeking to raise the profile of the agriculture sector in climate negotiations.
In 2023, IICA will once again seek to enlist the participation of the ministers of Agriculture of the Americas at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates.
Colombian Ambassador, Carlos Rodríguez Mejía, acknowledged that, “Climate change is a current concern for the Colombian government. The Latin American and Caribbean region is rich in clean energy sources, and we reaffirm our commitment to ensure that this area will be included in the collective actions spearheaded by IICA”.
Brazil’s Ambassador, Antonio Alves Júnior, highlighted his country’s extensive experience in family farming, which could provide the basis for discussions on this topic in the hemispheric partnership.
The diplomatic corps also visited the Plaza of Agriculture of the Americas.
The ambassadors also toured the recently inaugurated Plaza of Agriculture of the Americas – an “IICA of Open Doors” initiative. This publicly accessible space stands at the entrance to the Institute and connects it to the Costa Rican community.
Ecuador’s Ambassador, Bolívar Vicente Torres Cevallos, commented that, “I truly appreciate this project for its connection to and interest in the community”.
On the other hand, Margarita Portuguez González, Chilean Ambassador to Costa Rica, declared that “IICA has gone above and beyond its mission. It is most interesting that it has invited the community in, which is a departure from more technical matters”.
Guatemala’s Ambassador, Sandra Noriega, and El Salvador’s Minister-Counsellor, Nelson Arévalo Alvarado, also stressed the impact of IICA’s institutional transformation and its actions to facilitate food security in the region.
In the meeting it was agreed that the Institute would soon organize a field visit for the members of the accredited diplomatic corps in Costa Rica, to allow them to gain first-hand knowledge of IICA’s projects. There would also be a visit to CATIE, the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, which is headquartered in the city of Turrialba, Costa Rica. CATIE is an academic center that maintains a close relationship with the Institute. It focuses on innovation and sustainable development on issues related to agriculture and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.