At IICA Conference, Regional Ministers to Discuss Most Urgent Issues On Food Security And Agricultural Sustainability Agenda

(Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture Press Release) The Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas will be meeting in San José, Costa Rica, from October 3-5 to discuss a wide-ranging work programme. Several presidents, a Nobel Prize laureate and a World Food Prize winner will also be taking part in the activity, as the ministers consider solutions to the most urgent challenges facing the sector, at a time when food security is at the top of the global agenda.

The Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas 2023 is set to take place at the Headquarters of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), where the participants will also include other high-level national officials, senior international agency representatives, world-renowned academics, and delegates from the production and industrial sectors.

The presidents of Costa Rica (Rodrigo Chaves), the Cooperative Republic of Guyana (Mohamed Irfaan Ali), and Panama (Laurentino Cortizo) will be taking part in the inaugural ceremony on Tuesday, October 3.

The inaugural session will also include messages from the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro; the Minister of the Environment of the United Arab Emirates, the host country for COP 28 this year, Mariam Almheiri; the CEO of the World Food Prize Foundation (WFP), Terry Branstad; the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica, Víctor Carvajal; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Arnoldo André Tinoco; and the meeting host, IICA Director General Manuel Otero.

The discussions will focus on topics such as social inclusion and family farming, climate change mitigation and adaptation, the water crisis, the incorporation of digital technology, the funding of agricultural science and research, and international trade.

The Conference of Ministers will include a meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), IICA’s highest governing body. The Board is made up of the 34 Member States of the Institute, an agency of the Inter-American System specializing in agricultural and rural development.

During the Conference, the ministers will also discuss the continent’s participation in the next UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28), scheduled for the end of this year in Dubai.

For the second consecutive year, IICA will have its own pavilion named “The House of Sustainable Agriculture of the Americas” at the world’s largest environmental discussion forum. The aim is for the continent to make its voice heard and show the work that agriculture in the region, in both the private and public sectors, has carried out to position food production as a solution to the climate crisis.

Family farming and climate finance

Discussion forums will be held during the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas on the most important issues facing agrifood systems, which are undergoing a far-reaching process of transformation.

Michael Kremer, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019 and a promoter of digital agriculture as a tool for alleviating global poverty, will lead the discussion entitled “Closing gaps in innovation, science, technology and digital agriculture.”

Renowned scientist Rattan Lal, considered the world’s leading authority on soil sciences and a World Food Prize winner in 2020, will address the question of how to scale climate finance and the opportunities it offers for agriculture.

A forum discussion on how to include family farming and vulnerable groups in development will also be held, with Graciela Fernández Quintas, President of the International Cooperative Alliance for the Americas, as will another on agricultural health in agrifood systems, with the specialist Carol Thomas.

Parallel to the Conference of Ministers, there will be a round table on financing for food security and sustainable development, with contributions from the Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras, Laura Suazo; the Corporate Vice President for Strategic Programming at the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF), Christian Asinelli; and representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The ministers will also address the implementation of IICA’s Hemispheric Water and Agriculture Initiative first presented last July, under which agriculture would contribute to the solutions to the water crisis that the region is experiencing, based on the premise that without water there is no agriculture, and without agriculture there is no food security.

Other discussion panels will consider the outlook for agriculture and rural development in the Americas, with a focus on the situation in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the importance of coordination between the public and private sectors for the transformation of Agrifood systems.

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