The meeting was held in Madrid, during the first leg of a tour in which Manuel Otero, the Director General of IICA, will promote European support for agriculture in the Americas. Spain expressed an interest in hosting the next meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA).
Madrid, 3 September 2018, (IICA). The Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, met today in Madrid with Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, at the start of a European tour that will also include France and Italy, and that will see the head of the specialized organization of the Inter-American System promoting European support for agriculture and rural development in the Americas.
During the meeting with Otero, Minister Planos expressed Spain’s interest in hosting the next meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), to be held in 2019. The IABA is IICA’s supreme governing body and is comprised of the Ministers of Agriculture of 34 countries in the Americas.
Otero commented that, “we have common issues and agendas and a shared desire to prioritize Latin America and to capitalize on comparative agendas offered by IICA and Spain’s agricultural institutes. There is a synergy that we must exploit and enhance, because it will prove extremely beneficial to agricultural producers in Spain, Europe in general, and the American hemisphere.”
IICA’s head went on to explain that “Spain has much to offer in the area of technology for agricultural production, particularly with respect to water resource management and administration, cooperatives and risk management.”
Minister Planos also appealed for continued collaboration between Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and IICA, given the historic and cultural ties and existing trade relations between Spain and the American hemisphere, and particularly, in a bid to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.
The Spanish Minister pointed out that hosting the IABA meeting would be an excellent opportunity for Spain to position itself in the American hemisphere as a technical reference point for issues such as innovation in agriculture and in the agrifood sector infrastructure, irrigation, agricultural insurance, agrifood production sustainability, external trade promotion and the internationalization of LAC businesses. Furthermore, he expressed his Ministry’s willingness to continue to collaborate with IICA through technical cooperation activities, as well as awareness-building and communications efforts.
In Spain, IICA’s only Associate State, Otero also met with Juan Pablo de Laiglesia, head of the State Secretariat for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean (SECIPIC).
“Thanks to its broad presence in the Caribbean and, more specifically, the resilience center that will be set up in Dominica, IICA has the possibility to act as a bridge to support Spanish cooperation,” stated Otero regarding his meeting with De Laiglesia as well as the project in that Caribbean country, which will involve the creation of an entity that will disseminate experiences related to climate-smart agriculture.
During his tour in Europe, Otero will meet with other strategic partners of IICA with the aim of strengthening Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. In Spain, he will also meet with Guillermo Cisneros, Dean of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), as well as with representatives of the private sector and international organizations.
Otero will also share the priority areas of action of the recently approved 2018-2022 Medium-term Plan, IICA’s new institutional road map, which focuses on matters related to bioeconomy and production development; territorial development and family farming; trade and integration; climate change, natural resources and risk management; and agricultural health and food safety.
The Spanish authorities with whom Otero met expressed great interest in the topics of gender, youth and innovation, which will be incorporated into the Medium-term Plan as cross-cutting issues.
In 2001, Spain became an Associate State of IICA and a Permanent Office for Europe was established in Madrid. Through this office, 40 Spanish institutions have collaborated with IICA in the execution of technical cooperation actions as well as in the implementation of development cooperation projects.
Since the opening of the Office in Madrid, more than 50 initiatives have been carried out in areas related to climate change adaptation and mitigation in agriculture; comprehensive risk management; water resource management in family farming; promotion of organic agriculture and cooperative undertakings; and management of rural areas.
The Institute has also hosted visiting professionals from Spain and has promoted an internship program for university students through cooperation agreements with Spanish academic institutions.
Soraya Villarroya, Permanent Office for Europe