IICA, the governments of its 34 Member States and its strategic private sector partners will establish a venue at COP28 to host high-level discussions on the role of regional agriculture in mitigation and adaptation efforts.
San Jose, 24 November 2023 (IICA) – Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, gave the accredited Latin American and Caribbean ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates a preview of activities slated to take place at the Home of Sustainable Agriculture of the Americas pavilion. The pavilion will represent the agriculture sector of the region at COP28, the UN climate change conference taking place in Dubai, starting on November 30.
COP, the major global negotiation forum addressing climate targets and action, will bring together some 70,000 leaders this year, among them heads of state and government, senior national officials, industrialists, agriculture sector leaders, academics, experts, and youth, as well as private sector and NGO representatives.
For the second consecutive year, IICA, the governments of its 34 Member States and its strategic public sector partners will establish a pavilion at COP—as they did at COP27 in Egypt—to host high-level discussions on the role of regional agriculture in mitigation and adaptation efforts.
The IICA Director General explained that the aim is to position the agriculture sector of the Americas in environmental negotiations as part of the solution to the climate crisis and to showcase the transformations driven by the productive sector to improve sustainability.
The presentation was attended by the ambassadors of the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) – a discussion and consultation group that seeks to build consensus on various issues of interest to the region. The meeting was headed by Jorge Molina Arambarri, Argentina’s ambassador to the Emirates, who expressed full endorsement for IICA’s position, by pointing out that agriculture is by no means the chief culprit for climate change and that the world must be made aware of advances in the sector to protect natural resources.
Rebeca Pérez, Ambassador of Panama; Renso Herrera, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic; Marco Antonio Santiváñez, Consul of Peru; Sofía Barba, Economic and Trade Attaché of Mexico; and Sindy Suárez, Secretary of the Embassy of Paraguay were also in attendance.
The Americas, a strategic player
“Given its abundant resources and the extensive development of its agriculture sector, in any imaginable future scenario Latin America and the Caribbean will undoubtedly be a strategic player in the planet’s food, nutrition and environmental security”, stressed Otero.
The IICA Director General also revealed that IICA received overwhelming approval to participate at COP28 by the recent Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas in October, which was graced by the presence of two presidents (from Guyana and Panama), 25 ministers and deputy-ministers, rural leaders and private sector representatives.
“We demonstrate our immense convening power each time that we come together to discuss the transformation of agriculture in the region and its international standing,”, he explained.
Otero also stressed that not only is it unfair to place the region’s agriculture sector on trial for climate change, but it is also highly risky. He warned that, “A stable food supply for a global population approaching 8.5 billion people can only be achieved with an active and dynamic agriculture sector in Latin America and the Caribbean”.
Thus, he said that it is critical that the sector devise a positioning and negotiating strategy at the international level, to demonstrate to the world its natural and production capital. This is why the IICA pavilion at COP is so important.
“Let us insist that agriculture is part of the solution to the climate crisis”, he said, “that science and innovation should be the basis of the transformations that are already underway and that producers should play a leading role in the discussions”.
Otero stressed that farmers have the most interest in caring for natural resources in rural areas, pointing out that, “Every farmer is a potential ecologist. Some may make mistakes in their attempt to increase their income, but I have yet to meet a producer that wants to destroy the natural capital. On the contrary, they want to protect it for themselves and their families. We must position the agriculture sector in climate discussions and mount a rational, not a corporate defense, ensuring that it is not painted as the villain. We bear some responsibility, but the main culprits are the energy sector and countries that are relatively more developed”.
The IICA Director General explained that the agrifood sector of the Americas has the expectation that COP28 will allow it to position itself as a sector that is particularly vulnerable to climate change, strategic for the livelihoods of billions of people throughout the planet and part of the solution to the climate crisis.
Institutional Communication Division.