San Jose, Costa Rica, April 25, 2012 (IICA). IICA will contribute its technical expertise to high level regional political discussions on food security at the upcoming General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS). Member countries have already been introduced to the technical document which will serve to guide discussions.
The OAS XLII General Assembly will take place from June 3 to 5, 2012 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and is expected to provide key input for policy makers in efforts to reduce the number of people living in hunger in the region.
“It is gratifying that the General Assembly has decided to focus discussions on food security; recognizing the importance of this issue is the first step to finding hemispheric solutions to this issue”, said Victor M. Villalobos, Director General of IICA, in his message on Wednesday before the OAS Permanent Council, in Washington, DC.
Villalobos was visiting the OAS headquarters to present the Institute’s Annual Report, which summarized actions undertaken in 2011. During 2011, the Ministers of Agriculture renewed the mandate agreed upon in 1942 to encourage, promote and support the efforts of its 34 member countries to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being.
The Ministers also revised the technical cooperation model by introducing IICA-country strategies, which address priority issues for each nation. The Institute will continue to carry out activities to support its six technical program areas in technological innovation, the promotion of agribusiness, strengthening of agricultural health and food safety, development of rural areas, food security and adaptation of agriculture to climate change.
IICA’s document, which will support deliberations by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Bolivia, was prepared at the request of the OAS General Secretariat, in recognition of the Institute’s technical capacity as the agency of the Inter-American system specializing in agriculture and rural life.
Discussions during the upcoming meeting in Cochabamba, entitled “Food Security with Sovereignty in the Americas”, will serve as follow-up to regional commitments agreed upon at the Sixth Summit of the Americas to “ensure a sustainable, comprehensive, inclusive and competitive agro-food sector that would contribute to achieving food security and the reduction of poverty and inequity”.