At the UN climate summit, the agriculture sector of the Americas aims to ratify its key role as a guarantor of global food and environmental security.
San José, 27 October 2022 (IICA) – The Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Manuel Otero, stated that the next Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27), which will take place on November 6 in Egypt, must be the COP of agriculture and the COP of effective climate action, and insisted that the agriculture sector must become a strategic pillar and a relevant actor for climate negotiations.
“I have no doubt that this will be the COP of sustainable agriculture, the COP of action; because the issue of climate change is here, and it is happening now”, said Otero before his participation in the Conference that will take place this year in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheik.
“The countries that make up IICA are suffering the consequences of climate change: droughts and floods are now common in a scenario dominated by more intense and frequent extreme weather events. Faced with this, the only option is sustainable agriculture, and we have already embarked in this transition”, affirmed the head of the hemispheric organization specializing in agriculture and rurality.
Along these lines, Otero highlighted the efforts made by the regional agricultural sector, under the coordination of IICA, with a focus on tackling a problem that requires effective and immediate action, and for which the hemisphere will be presenting a consolidated position at the COP.
“The Ministers of Agriculture (of the Americas) have defined a process of coordination, and have found points in common around a series of guiding principles; this shows that there is a clear link between sustainable agriculture and sustainable development”, he said in reference to the messages that the hemisphere will present as a bloc, which highlight the importance of agriculture as part of the solution in the fight against climate change, and its essential role for food security.
This strong regional consensus was reached by the Ministers and Secretaries of Agriculture of 32 countries of the Americas, and establishes that climate actions to achieve a more sustainable agriculture must be based on science in order to protect and increase productivity and not aggravate the already serious current food crisis.
Dissemination of sustainable agricultural practices
The Director General of IICA also underscored that the COP 27 in Egypt, which will take place from November 6 to 18, will be a great opportunity to spread the word on agriculture. The Institute, together with its 34 Member States, farmer organizations from the Americas, the private sector and other regional agricultural actors, will be present at the “Home of Sustainable Agriculture in the Americas” pavilion, under the motto “Feeding the world, nurturing the planet”, at the Sharm-El-Sheikh Convention Center.
In this space, nearly 60 high-level political and technical events will take place, and examples of good practices, experiences, and lessons learned in the Americas will be shared. These include direct seeding; the implementation of agrosilvopastoral production systems; the system of rice intensification; better management of natural grasslands; reduction of waste from agricultural chains; among other issues.
“In these 60 sessions, we will address the different topics with a self-critical lens, knowing that agri-food systems have room for improvement, but that they are never failed systems”, added Otero.
“We will be presenting a document entitled ‘Sustainable Agriculture Milestones in the Americas’, which outlines the importance of direct seeding for agriculture, especially in the Pampas region, in the United States and Canada. Additionally, we will discuss the agrosilvopastoral systems in our subtropical areas; the management of natural grasslands; the system of rice intensification in various countries of the Andean and Central American region; the progress made in reducing waste in strategic chains of Mesoamerica, such as the coffee chain; and the advances in agriculture in the Caribbean. All of these achievements show that there is no turning back in this definitive shift towards sustainable agriculture in the Americas”, he added.
Otero concluded by explaining that, similarly to the objectives established for the UN Food Systems Summit that took place in September 2021 in New York, the intention for COP 27 is to revalidate three fundamental principles that IICA has promoted in favor of agriculture.
“The farmers are at the center of all negotiations, as they are the ones who give life, meaning and a notion of the future to our rural areas; science and innovation are the basic input to continue improving performance and the impact of sectoral policies; and our sector is part of the solution and not of the problem, given the clear and substantive contributions to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change”, explained the Director General of the agency specializing in agricultural and rural development of the Inter-American system.
Institutional Communication Division.