IICA Director General designated as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Stewardship Board on Food Systems
San Jose, 22 September 2022 (IICA) – The Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, was invited to become a member of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Stewardship Board on Food Systems, a high-level group of 40 global leaders that offer their perspectives and expertise to influence efforts to ensure more sustainable, efficient, inclusive, nutritious and healthy food systems that are beneficial to the entire population.
Otero confirmed his appointment during the Board’s Sustainable Development Impact meeting, a parallel event to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The WEF’s Stewardship Board on Food Systems is comprised of leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia. The list includes the heads of entities such as FAO; the World Bank and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), as well as global funds and companies in the agrifood sector and ministers of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs from the Americas and Europe.
The group has a shared vision to work towards inclusive, efficient, sustainable, nutritious and healthy agrifood systems, by adopting approaches that involve multiple actors and that are in alignment with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The World Economic Forum is a private, international, independent and not-for-profit organization that engages global leaders in business, politics, the intellectual world and society, who are committed to improving the situation in the world and that are seeking to positively influence industrial, regional and global agendas.
The 31 members who participated in the meeting of the Board discussed their priorities as leaders in the context of the global food crisis and shared their views on the actions needed to transition towards more resilient and sustainable national and regional food systems.
They also reflected on how to mobilize climate action through food system innovation and sought to establish a roadmap for 2023, defining key actions to accelerate collective action and investment in agrifood systems.
Agriculture: the key to accelerating climate action
In addition to participating in the meeting of the WEF Stewardship Board on Food Systems, the IICA Director General met with Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment of the United Arab Emirates, along with 20 other personalities involved in agriculture and food systems. They shared ideas on how to accelerate progress in priority areas and ongoing efforts to ensure an effective interconnection between food systems, agriculture and climate. The Gulf country is spearheading these exchange sessions as part of its preparations as the organizer of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28).
The session was in the form of a roundtable discussion, in which Otero spoke about the results that could be expected from COP 28, from the agricultural and food perspective, as well as the possible efforts, initiatives and coalitions that could be established in preparing for the Summit and beyond.
The IICA head also insisted that agriculture and food systems must become a strategic area of focus and a leading player at the center of climate negotiations, given the sector’s unique role in leading actions in response to global climate change challenges and the benefits it offers for food and nutritional security, poverty reduction, sustainability, as well as water conservation and management, among other areas.
Otero also used the opportunity to inform the participants that in preparation for COP 27, which will take place in November in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh, IICA is spearheading efforts to enhance and raise the profile of the sector in that forum.
He stressed that COP 27 will provide a major sounding board for agriculture and that IICA, together with its Member States, as well as producer organizations and other agricultural stakeholders from across the region, will set up a pavilion called the Home of Sustainable Agriculture in the Americas, with the slogan, “Feeding the World, Nurturing the Planet”.
Approximately 60 high-level events will take place at this venue over the two weeks of COP 27, which will involve the sharing of best practices, experiences and lessons learned in the Americas in direct seeding, the implementation of agrosilvopastoral production systems and better pasture management, among other topics.
The Director General also spoke of the upcoming IICA meeting with ministers of Agriculture of the Americas, as well as international financing agencies and other stakeholders, which will take place on September 22 and 23 at IICA headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica. The aim is for the region’s agriculture sector to develop a consensus position for COP 27, in the context of the food, health and climate crisis that has been compounded by the war in Eastern Europe.
Institutional Communication Division.