IICA and other global organizations attending a summit in Washington warn that the climate crisis can only be tackled through broad partnerships that prioritize science and innovation
Washington, 12 May 2023 (IICA) – Several major international stakeholders attending the Aim for Climate (Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate) Summit in Washington unanimously agreed on the urgent need to promote alignment among countries, international organizations, the private sector and civil society to tackle the climate crisis, hand in hand with science and technology, and adopting a pragmatic approach.
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) actively participated in the high-level meeting, which took place in Washington over three days. AIM for Climate is a joint initiative of the governments of the United States and the United Arab Emirates. At the end of this year, the latter will host COP28, which will seek to boost investments in climate smart agriculture and agrifood system innovation.
The meeting—which brought together public policymakers, industry leaders, farmers, civil society representatives, scientists and researchers from across the world—presented data indicating that investment in innovation and new technologies to address climate change and global hunger is consistently increasing, through the urgent adaptation of agrifood production.
IICA Director General, Manuel Otero, was a panelist in the discussion on “Innovation for Integrating and Mainstreaming Agriculture in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) - Lessons Learned from Africa, Asia and Latin America”. NDCs are the contributions towards climate mitigation and adaptation to which each country commits, under the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015.
Other speakers in the high-level discussion were Laura Suazo, Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras; Dina Espósito, Assistant to the Administrator of the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment of the African Union Commission; and Bill Hohenstein, the Director of the Office of Energy and Environmental Policy at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
During the session participants acknowledged that countries in all regions face challenges when proposing or implementing agricultural actions included in the NDCs. While governments recognize the vulnerability of the agriculture sector, they must also streamline coordination between various sectors of the administration, which will require innovation in technological and institutional matters.
In her presentation, Secretary Suazo stressed that climate mitigation and adaptation should be tackled simultaneously. She also explained that Honduras is an extremely vulnerable country with limited resources, and therefore efforts to improve coordination among various areas is critical. Moreover, she commended IICA for its collaboration in implementing actions to enhance agricultural resilience.
Likewise, USAID’s Expósito highlighted IICA’s work in the region to improve agricultural sustainability and rural well-being. He also felt that “for things to move forward” this would require the appropriate conditions, including the existence of tools to measure the real impact of projects and policies.
Sacko, representing the African Union Commission, insisted that the time to act had come and that her continent was ready to do so, while also recognizing the need for greater speed and pragmatism in international negotiations, such as the COPs on climate change that take place each year.
The importance of unity
Otero remarked that IICA was an institution with science and innovation in its DNA. He also stated that the Americas plays a decisive role in the planet’s food security and environmental sustainability, given its wealth of natural resources and productive land. He explained that, “Just one week ago, a hemispheric meeting on innovation, science and technology was held with various institutions at IICA Headquarters in Costa Rica. In our discussions with more than 100 participants we realized that we are all on the same page in terms of what needs to be done, but difficulties arise at the implementation stage”.
Furthermore, he said that, “We need to define the priorities of our agenda, incorporate the private sector, seek new funding sources and begin to build public will. We cannot work independently of each other to tackle the climate crisis via science and innovation; it requires the effort of all institutions.
Otero said that the AIM for Climate Summit had helped IICA to bolster its ties with institutions such as the USDA, USAID and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and also to work with its Member States and countries in other regions to deepen consensus and accelerate the contributions of the agriculture sector to the fight against climate change.
Institutional Communication Division.