In 2018, IICA initiated the process to become certified by the Ecological Blue Flag Program under the eco-diplomacy category, by adopting measures to utilize resources in an efficient manner and encouraging other institutions to join the initiative.
San Jose, 30 November 2018 (IICA). As part of its pursuit of the Ecological Blue Flag, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is transforming its management model to mitigate the environmental impact of its actions.
For this reason, in February 2018, Manuel Otero’s new administration established a multidisciplinary team to incorporate measures that would enable the Institute to achieve this award under the eco-diplomacy category, which is open to embassies as well as international organizations. The Blue Flag is awarded in recognition of efficient management of natural resources.
To achieve this objective, the Institute has organized lectures geared toward staff members to promote efficient water use, energy conservation and adequate waste disposal; it has also set up recycling bins, planted trees and collaborated in drafting guidelines to eliminate the use of paper during the meetings of its governing bodies.
“Understanding the importance and relevance of small actions is key to ensuring that future generations inherit a planet that is in good condition with respect to sustainability,” stated Orlando Vega, IICA Specialist in Renewable Energies and a member of the Ecological Blue Flag Committee, the group responsible for executing these initiatives.
Diplomatic missions and IICA Delegations also participated in a forum organized by the Institute to introduce the program, highlight its benefits and share the different mechanisms through which an Ecological Blue Flag certification can be pursued.
The Ecological Blue Flag is awarded annually in recognition of conservation and development efforts and volunteer work aimed at protecting natural resources, implementing actions to face climate change, improving hygiene and sanitary conditions, and boosting public health.
Due to the program’s success and the commitment demonstrated by the administration, the IICA Delegations in Colombia and Brazil have joined the initiative and are undertaking efforts to obtain the award, by fostering adequate waste disposal and reduced electricity and water use.
Keeping the Ecological Blue Flag hoisted at Headquarters in 2019 will not be a permanent situation; it will be necessary to continue carrying out efforts to utilize natural resources in an efficient manner in order to receive the award in subsequent years.
“The main challenge is remaining persistent and continuing to send out consistent messages, developing new materials to keep staff members motivated and, in this way, changing consumption habits,” remarked specialist Adriana Alpízar, of the Information/Communication Technologies and Digital Agriculture Unit.
On the other hand, Ronald Meneses, Maintenance Coordinator at IICA, noted that “significant progress has been achieved in reducing electricity consumption by installing LED light bulbs and encouraging staff members to take advantage of natural light as much as possible.”
The group continues to undertake efforts to ensure that, in addition to providing the member countries with technical cooperation, the Institute leads by example through these types of initiatives.
If obtained, the award would be delivered in March 2019 and would be based on mitigation actions carried out in 2018.
Ecological Blue Flag Committee of IICA