|San Jose, 18 July 2023 (IICA) – Fourteen ministers of Agriculture and other high-level agriculture sector authorities from 25 countries in the Americas will meet this Wednesday at the headquarters of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Costa Rica, to jointly determine measures to tackle the water crisis affecting a significant part of this region, which is essential for the world’s food security. The ministers, deputy ministers and other high-level authorities will meet for two days at the annual meeting of IICA’s Executive Committee – one of the Institute’s governing bodies.IICA will use the occasion to launch the Hemispheric Initiative on Water and Agriculture, aiming to spearhead the search for measures to tackle the severe water crisis that is affecting a sizeable part of the hemisphere.In presenting the meeting, IICA’s Director General, Manuel Otero, reflected that, “The world’s food and nutritional security and its environmental sustainability will depend on the American Hemisphere. The multiple crises that we are facing have also made agriculture a top priority on the global agenda and demonstrated the critical importance of our countries as food producers and suppliers. All of these issues will be a key focus of the debates, which will also generate concrete proposals to address the problem of water security”.The Executive Committee members are elected on a rotating basis, with the current members being Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.The participants at the meeting will include Minister Weir; Belize’s Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, José Abelardo Mai; the Costa Rican Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Victor Carvajal; the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of El Salvador, Oscar Guardado Calderón; Grenada’s Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Forests, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Adrian Thomas; the Honduran Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock, Laura Suazo; Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Floyd Green; Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, Víctor Villalobos; the Panamanian Minister of Agricultural Development, Augusto Valderrama; St. Lucia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development, Alfred Prospere; the St. Kitts and Nevis Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources, Cooperatives, Entrepreneurship and Creative Economy, Samal Mojah Duggins; the Minister of Agriculture of the Dominican Republic, Limber Cruz; the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries of Trinidad and Tobago, Avinash Singh; and the Minister of Agriculture of Antigua and Barbuda, Everly Greene.Other authorities who have committed to attend the meeting are the Secretary for Trade and International Relations at Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Fernando Zelner; the Canadian Ambassador to Costa Rica, Elizabeth Williams; the Chilean Ambassador to Costa Rica, Margarita Portuguez González; an official from the Office of International Affairs of Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Teresa Hernández Vergara; the Deputy Minister for Policies and Agricultural Development Oversight at Peru’s Ministry of Agricultural Development and Irrigation, Enrique Regalado Gamonal; the Undersecretary for Policy Coordination at Argentina’s Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Ariel Martínez; the Director of Livestock Production, Agriculture and Fisheries at Bolivia’s Ministry of Rural Development and Lands, Esper Burgos Román; and the Director of Multilateral Affairs at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Joe Hain. |
Representatives of international organizations will also be attending the meeting, including Rayén Quiroga, the Head of the Water and Energy Unit in the Natural Resources Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); Raúl Antonio Rodas, the Executive Director of the International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (OIRSA), and Muhammad Ibrahim, the Director General of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE). A special ceremony will also be held in honor of CATIE’s 50th anniversary.Alexandrea Herr, Commercial Attaché at the Embassy of Germany in Costa Rica; Nazareth Porras, from the European Delegation in Costa Rica, and Derya Surek, Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry will be present in the capacity of observers. Challenging contextThe meeting will take place in a complex and challenging global context. As a result of the ongoing war in Eastern Europe, the prices of commodity prices have soared, affecting food security and compounding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Also noteworthy is the climate crisis that is affecting agricultural production in several countries of the Americas, which are among the most vulnerable in the world to increasingly frequent extreme climate events.The meeting will provide IICA with the opportunity to report on the institutional agenda that is currently underway, which includes important technical activities on topics such as biofuels, science, technology and innovation, and digital agriculture. The road to the Ministerial Conference, which will be held this year at IICA Headquarters, will also be discussed. Since 2022, the organization has been promoting the establishment of a hemispheric partnership for food security and sustainable development to address the multidimensional crisis the world is experiencing.One of the highlights of the meeting will be the launch of the Hemispheric Initiative on Water and Agriculture, which will be aimed at designing tools to mitigate the consequences of the water deficit in the Americas and in countries of the Southern Cone in particular, which are experiencing persistent droughts.Participants will also develop a roadmap in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), which will be held later this year in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. IICA will invite the ministers and secretaries of Agriculture of the Americas to attend the world’s largest environmental negotiation forum, given the key role of agriculture in climate change mitigation and adaptation.In 2022, together with governments and the private sector, IICA installed the Home of Sustainable Agriculture of the Americas pavilion at COP27 in Egypt, which had a major impact and demonstrated that the agriculture sector cannot be left out of global discussions on how to address the global challenges posed by climate change.
|About IICAIICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.|
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