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The Permanent Council of the OAS endorses IICA’s new cooperation model

Víctor M. Villalobos, Director General of IICA, presented the Institute's Annual Report to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Washington D.C., May 21, 2015 (IICA). This past Tuesday, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) expressed its approval for the new cooperation model of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), which was presented by Víctor M. Villalobos, Director General of IICA. The council’s ambassadors recognized the Institute’s commitment to delivering results.

The Director General explained that IICA’s new cooperation model will make contributions to member countries more impactful and measurable.

The Ambassadors embraced the 2014 Annual Report of the Institute, presented by Villalobos, who recalled that one of the topics that sparked general consensus at the Summit of the Americas, held in April in Panama, was the importance of agriculture for food and for combating poverty.

“A prosperous agricultural sector is crucial for an equitable society,” asserted the Director General of IICA before the Permanent Council.

“This relaunch implies getting the Institute up to speed with the present times, which demand a different way of facing agricultural challenges,” stated Villalobos.

Increasing productivity and competitiveness, adapting to climate change, making agriculture more sustainable and promoting inclusion in rural areas are some of those challenges.

According to the 2014 Annual Report of IICA, 593 projects were carried out this year. Their contributions included strengthening the capacities of several countries to manage agrifood chains, disseminating innovations for the production of renewable energies and food, designing models for participative social management, improving risk management and prevention of disasters in the Caribbean, and strengthening agricultural health services in various countries.

Additionally, with support from the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) of Mexico, 108 scholarships were awarded to young professionals in agriculture from various countries of the hemisphere.

Recognition from Ambassadors

Emilio Rabasa Gamboa, Mexican Ambassador on the OAS Permanent Council, stated that IICA’s relaunch and its focus on projects were bringing new energy to the Inter-American System and benefiting regional integration.

Rabasa also extended an invitation to the countries to participate in the Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas, organized by the Government of Mexico and IICA, which will take place in the Riviera Maya, from October 19 to 23.

Margarita Riva-Geoghegan, Alternate Representative of the United States, stated that the Institute’s work in food security was impressive and that the U.S. government would continue to support activities for improving the competitiveness and productivity of agriculture in the hemisphere.

“The renovation of IICA’s model is quite opportune for the OAS, which is also renewing its administration. This is a time in which changes could take place,” claimed Juan Pablo Lira Bianchi, Chilean Ambassador.

Pablo Barahona Kruger, Ambassador of Costa Rica, considered it necessary to relaunch agriculture, not only as an economic activity, but also as a type of culture. His Peruvian counterpart, Juan Federico Jiménez Mayor, added that IICA’s contributions promote reflection on the role agriculture plays in alleviating poverty in the hemisphere.

“It is a fundamental sector for countries in the Americas,” concurred Hugo Cayrús, Ambassador of Uruguay.

Leonidas Rosa Bautista, Honduran Ambassador, stated that the enthusiasm for the development of agriculture, which was revived at the Summit of the Americas, must be maintained. “A noble activity in our nations has the opportunity to make a key contribution to feeding the world,” he claimed.

Stephen Vasciannie, Ambassador of Jamaica, thanked IICA for motivating an exchange of knowledge of agriculture among countries in the Americas.

Diego Pary Rodríguez, Bolivian Ambassador, echoed that opinion and stated that the Institute provided cooperation and motivated countries to share their successful experiences, which could be adopted by other nations.

Hubert J. Charles, Ambassador of Dominica, invited the Institute to become a part of a project on cassava in the Calinago region, where the Institute’s actions related to compliance with phytosanitary measures and the inclusion of women and young people in rural areas could be replicated.

Among the specific contributions received by the countries in 2014, Carmen Luisa Velázquez, Alternate Representative of Venezuela, highlighted the strengthening of capacities for water storage and use. José Luis Ramírez, Alternate Representative of Colombia, explained that 75 Master’s and Ph.D students had benefited from the scholarship program led by IICA and CONACYT of Mexico.

Elliston Rahming, Ambassador of Bahamas, stated that the Institute of Agriculture and Marine Sciences in that country was recently created with support from IICA.

“We value the cooperation provided by the Institute in areas such as biotechnology, biosecurity, Codex Alimentarius and knowledge management for food security,” stated José Eduardo Pereira Sosa, Alternate Representative of Paraguay.

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