San Jose, 21 July 2022 (IICA) – The President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Agnes Kalibata, told senior officials from more than 20 countries in the Americas that the two continents are working together to “produce more and better-quality food” at a time when the global situation poses a threat to food security.
Kalibata, former Minister of Agriculture of Rwanda and the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit, addressed the ministers, secretaries, and other representatives of more than 20 countries in the Americas taking part in this year’s meeting of the Executive Committee of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in Costa Rica.
Next week, the head of AGRA will also participate in the first Summit of Africa and the Americas on Agrifood Systems, the aim of which is to strengthen cooperation between the two continents in the face of the global threats to food security.
The forum is being organized by IICA, the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The partners are convinced that the two continents face similar challenges in achieving agrifood system transformation and will benefit from the deepening of discussions and the sharing of experiences designed to foster mutual collaboration within the framework of South-South Cooperation.
The ministerial meeting will be inaugurated on 27 July by the President of AGRA, the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, and the Chief Executive Officer of AUDA-NEPAD, Nardos Bekele-Thomas.
“In January of this year, the agriculture ministers of Africa and the Americas agreed to work together. We agreed to share ideas about nutrition, people’s health needs, and the need to produce more and better-quality food. After that meeting, it was proposed that a Ministerial Summit be held to make further headway with food assistance. The summit will take place 27-29 July in Costa Rica. IICA, AGRA, and the African Union Development Agency are working together to support our member states, to get the most out of this Summit,” the former minister remarked.
“I know that in recent times the countries of the Americas have faced similar challenges to the African countries. Amidst the challenges, African scientists have made great strides in developing high-yielding, highly nutritious, drought-tolerant crop varieties. We have also seen scientists from the Americas make great strides in productivity,” she added.
“Given the progress made and the challenges posed by climate change, we will only achieve sustainability and success more quickly by identifying and building on our different strengths. I therefore ask you to join me in developing stronger food systems for people, the planet and prosperity,” Kalibata urged.
The Africa-Americas Summit will be taking place at a time when the war in Eastern Europe has destabilized world commodity markets and global trade flows, triggering surges in the prices of food and raw materials around the world.
The situation in Eastern Europe is also negatively impacting recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and the Americas, where food security has worsened in many countries and is expected to continue deteriorating.
The face-to-face meeting, which will also include contributions from online participants, will be the most important event to be held so far as part of the joint efforts that leaders in Africa and the Americas have been making to align their priorities based on productive, environmental, cultural, and historical similarities and shared challenges related to agrifood systems.
The Summit is expected to provide a clear understanding of the role that Africa and the Americas can play in shaping future global food and environmental security; and open up opportunities for cooperation in the areas of science, technology, and innovation, with a view to building sustainable and resilient agricultural systems.
The Summit will be used to identify areas of joint work between the two regions and specific topics for cooperation, as well as the operational and financial mechanisms required to mobilize the necessary resources. The ministers and officials taking part will focus on five cross-cutting issues that are regarded as key to increasing the productivity, inclusiveness, and sustainability of agrifood systems:
- Science, technology, and innovation, including biotechnology
- Climate change and resilience
- Digital agriculture
- Institutional innovations and policies for social inclusion, safety nets, health and nutrition, and the recovery of degraded natural resources
- Fostering of a fairer and more transparent international food trade system
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