At the 30th Congress of the Argentine Association of Direct Sowing Producers (AAPRESID), Manuel Otero underscored the leading role that agriculture must play at COP 27 in Egypt.
San José, 12 August 2022 (IICA) – Manuel Otero, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), selected the forum of the Argentine Association of Direct Sowing Producers (AAPRESID) to refer to the need for agriculture to play a central role in climate negotiations and to be a strategic axis and significant player at the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Egypt in November.
AAPRESID is an iconic entity in the South American country in that it represents a large network of farmers united by their interest in soil conservation and who have adopted and promoted a new agricultural paradigm based on no-till farming.
Otero indicated that the sector’s central role and high profile in the climate negotiations is imperative given agriculture’s substantive contributions to the global challenges imposed by climate change.
The proposal was made at the forum entitled “Global agrifood policy and agenda: Where are we headed?”—one of the main events of the 30th Congress of AAPRESID, Argentina’s most renowned annual conference to update and exchange new technologies and knowledge in agriculture.
During the panel aimed at addressing the current state of agendas, agreements and international forums that guide global agrifood policy from different perspectives, Otero shared opinions with Carlos Cherniak, Ambassador of Argentina to the FAO; Viktoria Lovenberg, Head of Economy and Trade for the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Argentina; and former ambassador Diego Guelar.
“We obviously hope that agriculture plays a central role. There is an urgent need for it to be a strategic axis and a significant player; it is something we cannot avoid and we must assume”, expressed the head of the hemispheric organization specialized in agriculture and rural well-being.
“We’re making substantive contributions to addressing climate change and we must show that with pride and authority, recognizing that while it is a system (the agrifood system) that can be improved, it is by no means a failure”, he said.
Otero remarked that “agriculture’s time is approaching” and shared that for COP 27, which will be held in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh, the American continent is looking to assume a common position through a series of messages that—he expects—will be debated and approved at the meeting of ministers of Agriculture scheduled to take place on September 23 at IICA headquarters, with a view to position agriculture at the international negotiations on climate change.
“The goal is to create the conditions to generate shared positions on the road to COP 27. Reaching a hemispheric consensus before the climate negotiations will be another sign of the continent’s maturity, of an agriculture that wants to play a leading role, and we’re going to do everything we can to achieve that”, added IICA’s Director General.
In 2021, the continent also presented a unified position at the UN Food Systems Summit after an extensive debate coordinated by IICA that signaled that agricultural producers and food system workers are a key, essential link, and that without farming there would be no raw materials to transform into foods.
These efforts are aimed at ensuring that the needs of the countries are duly reflected and met, always putting farmers at the forefront, and generating modern, effective public policies for agriculture that guarantee an adequate balance between productivity and sustainability.
“Farmers are a key, essential link for the transformation of agrifood systems; science is the fundamental input for the adequate formulation of policies, and I insist that agriculture is part of the solution without failing to recognize that there are things that can be improved”, added Otero.
At the meeting of AAPRESID, which has almost 2,000 members across Argentina, Otero mentioned that at COP 27, the Americas will show “many good things and transformations that are taking place” on the continent.
“It surprises me when we fail to recognize all the advances in no-till farming, the spread of silvopastoral systems, what our producers are doing to manage natural pastures, the efforts being made to reduce residue and waste. We want to show that to the world”, he asserted.
Moreover, he reflected that under the current scenario and in order to position and give a leading voice to agriculture in these spaces, it is crucial to work in collaboration.
“No country can save itself and it’s essential that we act in a coordinated manner. All of this should lead us to generate public policies aimed at transforming and strengthening agrifood systems, where it is necessary to build bridges between production and the environment, to rethink the institutional framework around science, technology and innovation, and, of course, the bioeconomy with much more coordination with the private sector, redefining agendas and promoting investments”, he concluded.
During the “Global agrifood policy and agenda: Where are we headed?” forum, Ambassador Cherniak agreed that it is imperative to spotlight farmers, the role of science in formulating policies, public-private synergies, and the focus on sustainability without dividing the social, economic and environmental component.
“We must prevent damage to or impacts on our interests that affect the agro-productive fabric on how to achieve the sustainability of agrifood systems, demonstrating it based on science. This means not only thinking about strategies at the national level, but also at the regional level, and to that end, both FAO and IICA are essential platforms for building coordination among our countries and a position for Latin America and the Caribbean at the discussion on the geopolitics of food”, commented Cherniak.
Lovenberg dived deeper into the EU’s Green Deal and its farm-to-table strategy.
“In Europe we see the green transformation as the center of our public action, it is a roadmap that, together with digital transformation, forms the basis of our growth strategy. We are allied with the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. We believe firmly in rules-based multilateral action to end poverty, hunger and malnutrition, leaving no one behind”, she argued.
In turn, Guelar emphasized the need to foster regional integration, which is important for overcoming the overlapping crises, including COVID-19, the war in Eastern Europe and its implications on the agriculture sector, and climate change. He weighed, in the case of the southern region, leveraging the Mercosur mechanism and taking advantage of free trade agreements with the EU, the United States and China, whose regulatory basis and lines of action would enable implementation in the short term.
“This is a great challenge that we have before us, which is to effectively build regional integration based on unity to open up to the world”, he said.
Institutional Communication Division.