IICA’s renewal measures are prompting a more proactive attitude among countries in the Institute’s governing bodies. The Executive Committee approved the 2020-2021 budget and the key areas of focus of the meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas, which will be held in October in Costa Rica.
San José, 22 July 2019 (IICA). The modernization of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)—characterized by austerity measures, reduced bureaucracy, flexibility, a process culture and the redirecting of resources into actual production areas—is encouraging greater participation by Member States in the governing bodies of the hemispheric organization. IICA’s Executive Committee met in Costa Rica for two days, stressing the importance of further intensifying the institutional renewal efforts.
Twenty countries participated in the Regular Meeting of IICA’s Executive Committee, where they gave their stamp of approval to the 2020-2021 budget and the issues that will be the focus of the next meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA). The IABA is the Institute’s supreme governing body, made up of the Ministers of Agriculture of its 34 Member States, which will meet in San José at the end of October.
At the end of the Executive Committee meeting, Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA, commented that, “The institutional renewal measures are gaining traction and are encouraging the countries to be more proactive”.
He continued, by highlighting the fact that, “You have approved the 2020-2021 budget, which very clearly paves the way for redirecting resources into IICA’s priority areas. The three issues that will embody the concept of Cultivating Tomorrow’s Agriculture Today have also been approved, that is: rurality 4.0; the intersection between competitiveness and sustainability, which is spawning a new generation of bioagrobusinesses; and finally, the topic of market access and the role of health: all of which are key concerns for our countries”.
During the Executive Committee meeting, delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States, among others, endorsed the initiatives of IICA’s Director General to modernize the administration of the Institute and emphasized the organization’s role in developing sound public policies and building the capacities of Member States in a bid to create a productive, efficient and inclusive agriculture sector, integrated into local and international markets.
The delegates who also fine-tuned a strategy to increase the synergy between IICA and CATIE, (The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, headquartered in Turrialba, Costa Rica), applauded the renewal of the specialized hemispheric agency for agricultural and rural development, placing particular emphasis on the austerity measures introduced by the Director General.
“We have had a very good Executive Committee Meeting – lively and dynamic”, said Guillermo Bernaudo, Argentina’s Secretary of Agriculture. “IICA’s cost reduction and austerity policies have been central to the discussions. This is the countries’ reality and consequently it should be the reality of international organizations”.
Flavio Bettarello, Deputy Secretary for Trade and International Relations of Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, stressed that, “The Executive Committee made considerable progress in important areas, such as the need to always base decisions about multilateral, bilateral and local rules on scientific principles, the importance of trade to small- and large-scale agriculture; and the need for unity in tackling unjustified barriers to the trade of agricultural products”. He also applauded IICA’s austerity principles.
On the other hand, the Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock of Honduras, Mauricio Guevara, thanked IICA for “its tremendous support in the projects and activities of our Secretariat and of the entire Honduran agrifood sector”, and also reaffirmed “the importance of greater synergy between IICA and CATIE, which is something that we owe to the foresight of IICA’s current administration”.
Secretary Guevara expressed his hope that the IABA meeting would facilitate in-depth discussions on “the challenges imposed by climate change, the financing of our production sectors, access to markets and value adding”, and maintained that the ministerial forum is critical to “finding joint strategies in response to common problems, which can then translate into trade and employment, which is what we need”.
Institutional Communication Division, IICA.