Ministers of the Southern Agricultural Council (CAS) participated in an international conference in Chile to discuss issues of regional interest such as the health situation and the impact of the drought
Santiago, 19 April 2023 (IICA). The ministers of Agriculture who comprise the Southern Agricultural Council (CAS) met in Santiago, Chile, where the First Ministerial Conference on Low-Emission Food Systems was held, to achieve progress in addressing various issues on the regional agenda.
Among the issues discussed were the health situation following the bird flu outbreak, which had reached 14 countries in the hemisphere by early March, and the need to create a regional fund to deal with the economic consequences of the drought.
With respect to the bird flu, the ministers of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay recommended the creation of a Central-South American Commission to prevent and control the disease.
In the declaration signed in Santiago, the CAS urged all the countries of the Americas to endorse this crucial decision, given the devastating consequences of avian influenza on the economy and global food security, as well as the risk of transmission to humans. The text makes reference to the One Health concept, according to which there can be no human health without animal health, neither of which is viable in an unhealthy environment.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Agriculture of Chile, Esteban Valenzuela; the Minister of Rural Development and Lands of Bolivia, Remy Gonzales; and the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries of Uruguay, and pro-tempore President of the Council, Fernando Mattos. Also in attendance were Ariel Martínez, Undersecretary for Policy Coordination of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Argentina; Renata Miranda, Secretary of Innovation, Sustainable Development, Irrigation and Cooperativism of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply of Brazil; and Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The CAS is the ministerial forum for consultation on and coordination of regional actions. It is comprised of the ministers and secretaries of Agriculture of the abovementioned countries. Its purpose is to define the priorities of the agricultural agenda and adopt joint positions on issues of regional interest.
IICA, committed as it is to its mission of facilitating collective action and increased integration of the countries, serves as the Technical Secretariat of the CAS. The Institute’s Representative in Brazil and Coordinator of the Southern Region, Gabriel Delgado, is in charge of the secretariat, while administrative matters are handled by the Representative in Uruguay, Rodrigo Saldías.
Drought fund and recognition for Chile
At the meeting, the ministers discussed the creation of a financial fund to address the severe economic impact of the drought on food production in countries of the Southern Cone region, whose agricultural yields were affected.
They exchanged ideas on this topic with Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Vice President for the Latin America and the Caribbean Region, who participated in the meeting via videoconference.
The CAS meeting in Santiago, Chile, coincided with the First Ministerial Conference on Low-Emission Food Systems in that city. The ministers congratulated the host country on the organization of this important meeting, which brought together 24 countries from five continents, with a view to positioning agriculture as a key sector for developing innovative solutions to the climate crisis. In this regard, Chile is leading efforts to reduce methane emissions in food production.
The CAS ministers also reviewed developments related to animal and plant health controls at borders, which are carried out through mutual collaboration between CAS countries. Rodrigo Astete, Chile’s Representative in the Plant Health Committee of the Southern Cone (COSAVE), took part in these discussions.
Institutional Communication Division.