PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR COOPERATION ON AGRICULTURE (IICA) TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is undergoing a broad process of institutional transformation, with a view to meeting current and future requests for cooperation from the countries of the hemisphere.
The Institute structures and delivers its participatory technical cooperation actions in accordance with the guidelines established in the 1994-1998 Medium Term Plan.
IICA is steadfast in its commitment to link agricultural modernization with democracy in the Americas. Consequently, it supports the actions of the countries by focusing its activities on bringing about changes in four fundamental aspects of agriculture: production, trade, institutions and people.
The Institutes technical cooperation is also aimed at implementation of the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas, as well as those initiatives undertaken since then and which fall within its area of competence. Specifically, actions of support and cooperation being carried out in eight of the 23 points into which the four major topics of Bald Plan is divided.
II. IICA ACTIONS IN SUPPORT OF THE PLAN OF ACTION OF THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
The principal actions being carried out by IICA are:
Topic 1: Preserving and strengthening the democracies of the Americas.
Point 3: Strengthening society and community participation
In an effort to promote sustainable rural development. a methodology and instruments are applied to specific geographic areas and to conditions in the small and medium-scale agricultural sector. This methodology has been tested and validated in two areas of Chile and Peru. The methodology focuses on political institutional, socioeconomic, production technology and ecological issues and calls for the active participation of all actors in the sector, which strengthens democracy in these areas.
IICA supports the pacification process in and the economic and democratic development of border areas. In collaboration with the Organization of the American States (OAS), support is being provided for border area development in Central America through the execution of three projects the Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras border area (Trifinio Project); the border between Costa Rica and Panama; and the Atlantic border between Guatemala and Honduras.
IICA technical support to the Government of Guatemala, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has made it possible to initiate and continue a broad process of consultation with civil society in that country. This successful effort, which has lasted two and one-half years, involves some four million people organized into thirteen production subsector commissions and bilateral groups, all of which are representative of these people and include the presidents of federations and confederations in the country, cooperatives, different associations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
From the beginning, IICAs support consisted of technical, methodological and organizational support for this process. At the present time, IICA continues its support, especially in the establishment, of the National Agricultural Council and in the execution of projects in support of the dairy and meat subsector, financed by the National Agricultural Fund, created as a result of the consultation and organization process.
This experience will soon be shared with and replicated, in other Central American countries such as, El Salvador and Costa, Rica, where IICA is also providing technical support.
Three IICA projects in Haiti contain integrated elements of democracy training based upon the, principle of delivering democratic concepts through technical cooperation in agricultural production.
The Pwoje Plants Kafe (PPK-USAID) project works with 18,000 small coffee producers in southern Haiti. They select their extension agents and assure technical accountability via regular meetings to discuss problems and plan strategies together.
The Teknologi Organizasyon Kredit (TOK) project uses this same methodology with a focus on producing neem, a plant known for its natural insecticide qualities.
The Zoutiy-Kanada project also incorporates democratic principles as communities organize the equitable distribution of agricultural tools donated by the Government of Canada.
Under a general cooperation agreement with the International Rural Youth Advisory Council (CAJIR), IICA is taking actions designed to develop a project to strengthen institutions that support youth enterprises in the Americas.
In 1994, with a donation from the Kellogg Foundation, IICA conducted four case studies on the situation of rural youth and organized four regional meetings (in the Andean, Caribbean, South and Central Regions). In January 1995, IICA held a meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica entitled the Inter-American Consultation on Rural Youth. All this contributed to strengthening IICAs support or for the governmental nongovernmental institutions that support youth organizations in the member countries, enabling them to participate in the definition of IICAs strategies and agenda.
Other international institutions that took part in the Consultation subsequently hold a meeting to coordinate their efforts. These were the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), CAJIR, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Tropical Agriculture Research and Training Center (CATIE), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the European Commission for Central America, the Earth Council, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Radio Nederland Training Center, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A Kellogg-IICA meeting will be held in November of this year to agree on now joint actions.
The Institute is strengthening its relations with the nongovernmental organizations working toward the development of rural areas. In addition to the work being carried out by the Technical Cooperation Agencies in conjunction with national and international NGOs in each of the countries of the hemisphere, the AgriFutura Foundation has been created as an instrument to facilitate IICA's links with the NGOs and other agents.
In particular, IICA is maintaining and strengthening its cooperation links with two foundations: the Latin American Association of Promotion Organizations (ALOP), an umbrella organization of 36 NGOs, and with 26 western-hemisphere development foundations organized under the banner of the Council of Foundations, "Solidarios." This joint collaboration covers different levels, ranging from the joint execution of seminars, workshops and publications, to joint technical cooperation actions.
IICA created and continues to support the Cooperative Program for Rural Agroindustrial Development (PRODAR) in order to lay the economic groundwork for facilitating a sustainable process of democratization and participation. Three regional networks have been created, in Central America and the Caribbean, the Andean Region, and the Southern Region. These are made up of 15 national networks of institutions, NGOs and universities.
The most important of the latter are the University of Buenos Aires, the Catholic University of Chile, the La Moline National Agrarian University in Peru, the Ambato Technical University in Ecuador, the Central University of Venezuela. the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, the University of San Carlos in Guatemala and the Autonomous University of Nicaragua.
As well as ensuring a real self-sustaining and participatory process, these actions allow for the decentralization of and autonomy in the decisions taken by the actors themselves.
Topic 11: Promoting prosperity through economic integration and free trade
Point 9: Free trade in the Americas
IICA participated in the joint meeting of the Advisory Group (OAS/IDB/ECLAC) of the OAS Special Commission on Trade and the Secretariats of the Regional and Subregional Integration and Cooperation Agencies, which was held on March 13-14, 1995 in Washington, D.C. Also, we participated in the Hemispheric Trade and Commerce Forum, hold in Denver, Colorado an July 1-2, 1995, which followed the Ministerial Meeting on Trade of the Summit of the Americas, held on June 30, 1995.
Since then, we have established contact with the appropriate authorities in the countries and offered technical cooperation to the governments responsible for the following working groups: Market Access (El Salvador); Subsidies, Anti-dumping and Compensatory Duties (Argentina); and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (Mexico). To date, we have developed work plans with the latter group, as described below.
During the first meeting of this working group (September 18-19, 1995, Mexico City), it was agreed that IICA would collaborate with this group, through the Government of Mexico. in the following items an its, agenda: i) analysis and dissemination of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the WTO, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); ii) preparation of and inventory of sanitary and phytosanitary measures; iii) analysis of and recommendations for certification procedures and regulatory infrastructure; iv) analysis of animal and plant health risks; and v) preparation of an inventory of existing animal and plant health infrastructure.
On October 4-5, IICA officials met with the Chairman of Working Group on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Mr. Marco Antonio Carrion and his collaborators. On that occasion, a work plan was drawn up for IICA's collaboration in the Group's Plan for Immediate Action, and the results of the program that will be presented to the Ministerial Meeting in Cartagena in March 1996 were identified.
Also, IICA agreed to submit three documents: i) A comparative analysis of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the WTO, and the NAFTA; ii) Risk analysis methods and techniques; and iii) Criteria and measures for making sanitary and phytosanitary regulations transparent.
The decentralization of IICA is closely linked to the integration of the Americas. Evidence of this is the creation of the following five regional centers: Northern (member countries of NAFTA), Central (member countries of Central American Common Market (CACIVID, Caribbean (member countries of CARICOM and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)), Andean (member countries of the Cartagena Agreement) and Southern (member countries of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and Chile).
Each Regional Center was assigned one or more regional projects in the areas of policy, trade and investments. In the case of the CACM, a joint IICA-SIECA (Permanent Secretariat of the General Treaty on Central American Economic Integration) project, headquartered in Guatemala. and a project for the Technical Secretariat of the Regional Council for Agricultural Cooperation in Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic (CORECA), headquartered in Costa Rica, were defined. As for CARICOM and the OECS, a regional project, headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, was defined. As for the countries of the Cartagena Agreement, a regional project headquartered in Venezuela is being implemented. In the case of MERCOSUR and Chile, a project was defined that supported the creation of the Advisory Council for Agricultural Cooperation in the Countries of the Southern Cone (CONASUR) and the G8 of MERCOSUR, which operated first in Argentina and then moved to Uruguay.
IICA has promoted CORECA and provided it with technical support since it was founded. The Institute serves as the Technical Secretariat of CORECA and carries out many of its technical activities, such as: the training of trade negotiators in the integration processes, analyses of the competitiveness of food products of importance to the region, and studies on the tariff quota for beef exported to the United States of America, established in the General Agreement an Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994.
Direct support is provided for modernizing domestic marketing practices through instruments such as the agricultural commodity exchanges in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and, more recently, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.
Support has also been provided in articulating the agricultural exchanges of Colombia and Ecuador and in linking the agricultural exchanges of Central America.
IICA also collaborates with the Technical Secretariat of the Pan American Association of Exchanges, which brings together all the countries mentioned above, plus the United States of America (Chicago Board of Trade), Brazil (three exchanges: Sao Paulo, Rio do Janeiro and Brasilia) and Argentina (three exchanges: Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Bahia Blanca).
Together with the French Cooperation Agency, IICA is providing support in the characterization and analysis of food chains, and in making them more competitive and identifying opportunities for investment in the countries of Central America and Panama for the principal staple commodities (rice, sugar, milk, beef cattle and the corn-sorghum-concentrates complex.
Point 10: Development and Liberalization of Capital Markets
The Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP) of Chile, the Agricultural Bank of Colombia and the Agricultural Bank of the Dominican Republic are receiving support in modernizing their operations in the area of funding for agriculture.
IICA is an active member of the Latin American Committee on Funding for Agriculture, coordinated by the Latin American Association of Development Finance Institutions (ALIDE), which is working to reach consensus on mechanisms and alternatives for funding agriculture.
Point 13: Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure
Public and private institutions are receiving support to develop information systems on agricultural markets and prices, and apply them in market intelligence activities. In Colombia, such technical support is being given to Acoabastos, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Cooperacion Colombiana Internacional; in Panama, to the Agricultural Marketing Institute; in Brazil, to the Economic Institute of the Getulio Vargas Foundation; and in Chile, to INDAP.
Through the use of INTERNET and with the collaboration of the National Network of Internet (CRNET) in Costa Rica, a mechanism is being developed to exchange agricultural information among the countries of the Americas (AGRIFORO).
Point 14: Cooperation in Science and Technology
As part of its efforts to promote technological innovation, IICA provides administrative and technical support to the Cooperative Regional Programs for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer. At present, they consist of the Cooperative Program for the Development of Agricultural Technology in the Southern Cone (PROCISUR), which brings together the agricultural research centers of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay; the Cooperative Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer Program for the Andean Subregion (PROCIANDINO), which includes the institutes of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela; and the Cooperative Research and Technology Transfer Program for the South American Tropics (PROCITROPICOS), comprising the tropical countries of the Amazon basin.
Also, IICA supports the Cooperative Program for the Protection and Modernization of Coffee Cultivation in Mexico, Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic (PROMECAFE), which groups the private coffee-producing sectors of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Mexico.
IICA, working with the institutions of the countries and through strategic alliance, is focusing its efforts on supporting the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of genetic resources, for agriculture, agroindustry and food production.
Thus, the Institute's actions are aimed at upgrading institutional capabilities in the member countries by supporting efforts to coordinate the various actors cancer with the conservation and rational use of genetic resources, with a view to contributing to sustainable agricultural development in the Americas and the Caribbean.
During the 1990s, IICA has established important strategic alliances with International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), Tropical Agriculture Research and Training Center (CATIE), German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ), FAO, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Center for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research tot Development (CIRAD), the University of Amsterdam, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canada, the Government of Sweden, national institutions and universities, and reciprocal cooperation programs and networks, such as PROCIANDINO, PROCITROPICOS, PROCISUR, and PROMECAFE. These joint efforts have resulted in significant achievements: (a) the gathering of data on the situation of genetic resources in the countries of LAC; (b) the creation of subregional horizontal reciprocal cooperation research and transfer networks; and (c) the establishment of priorities for joint actions and a policy framework for the conservation and sustainable use of animal genetic resources.
IICA is currently supporting the FAO International Conference and Program on Plant Genetic Resources, to be hold in Germany In 1996, through (1) the preparation of national reports for the Caribbean and the subregional summary of phytogenetic resources; (2) preparation and presentation of the document "Situation of interinstitutional Cooperation and Policy Aspects related to Genetic Resources in the Americas and the Caribbean," and (3) support in organizing and holding the subregional meeting for Central America and the Caribbean.
With a view to improving advanced agricultural education in LAC, a general cooperation agreement was signed with the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (OUI), which is headquartered in Quebec, Canada, and has a network linking 23 universities of the Americas.
IICA is also providing support in the organization of the Andean System of Post-Graduate Agricultural Studies (SAPOA), the objective of which is to upgrade the countries capabilities for developing agricultural science and technology.
In addition, exchange and reciprocal collaboration agreements were signed with universities in the United States of America, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, specifically with the following universities in the United States of America: Florida State University, Iowa State University, Texas A & M University, the University of Georgia, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and the University of Florida.
As regards universities in other countries, the following are worthy of mention: in Chile, the University of Chile: in the Dominican Republic, the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo and the Pedro Enriquez U. National University; in Ecuador, the Eloy Alfaro University in the city of Manta; in Bolivia, the Gabriel Rene Moreno Autonomous University in Santa Cruz do la Sierra; in El Salvador, the University of El Salvador and the Central American University of El Salvador; in Nicaragua, the National Agrarian University and the Schools of Agronomy of Rivas and Esteli; and in Panama, the National University of Panama and the Catholic University of Santa Maria.
An agreement was signed with the Zamorano School to develop joint agricultural development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. One specific technical action was a joint training event described later herein.
Topic III: The eradication of poverty and discrimination in our hemisphere
Point 18: Strengthening womens role in society
The topic of rural women has been systematically incorporated into projects to modernize small-scale production in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
In collaboration with the IDS, an initiative of the First Ladies of the hemisphere was conducted in 12 countries to determine and quantify women's participation in agricultural production.
As a result of this initiative, four regional documents for the Southern, Central, Caribbean and Andean zones will be produced, as well as 12 national publications with important indicators that, in addition to placing IICA at the forefront in this field, will contribute to the formulation of policies for the inclusion of women as key players in national rural development programs. It will also be possible to establish strategic alliances with organizations such as the Inter-American Commission of Women (IACW) and to carry out decentralized actions and programs in the field.
Point 19: Fostering Microenterprises and small Businesses
Together with PRODAR, support is provided to agroindustry as a production sector that enables farmers to add value to their production, increases incomes and creates jobs. In addition to the establishment and development of four regional and 15 national networks, specific projects in 12 of these countries receive support.
Within the framework of the border development projects mentioned earlier. support is provided for the establishment and strengthening of microenterprises and the creation of productive and remunerated employment that will provide broad sectors of the population in these regions with a better quality of life.
Topic IV: Ensuring sustainable development and environmental conservation for future generations
Point 22: The Alliance for Biodiversity
Technical and administrative support are provided to actions aiming to conserve and make rational use of biodiversity. This includes organization and management of the Mesoamerican Network of Plant Genetic Resources (REMERFI), with CATIE, IPGRI and GTZ; as well as the following networks: TROPIGEN (Phytogenatic Resources Network for the South American Tropics) in the Amazon basin; REDARFIT (Andean Phytogenetic Resources Network) in the Andean subregion; and the Genetic Resources Subprogram. in the Southern Cons. Support has also been provided to regional meetings on genetic resources in Central America/the Caribbean and South America, held in advance of the FAO International Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, to be held in 1996. Also, the Institute is working to establish the Inter-American System to Support Genetic Resources.
IICA also provides technical and administrative support to the project "Study of Forestry Policy in Central America," together with FAO, the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Finnish International Development Agency (FINNIDA), the Central American Forestry Council and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), one of the objectives of which is the sound use and conservation of forests and their biodiversity.
In the area of cooperation for sustainable development, the Institute is involved in important actions aimed at developing the concept of sustainable development. With the Inter-American Group for Sustainable Development, IICA products and supports the distribution of strategic documents on the topic. Moreover, with the cooperation of GTZ, it is preparing indicators of the sustainability and quality of land that will make it possible to develop instruments for evaluating and following up on the actions of the countries.
In a joint effort with CATIE, IICA fosters and promotes the establishment of collaborative ties and joint strategy development among the ministries at agriculture, environment, natural resources and planning in CATIE's member countries, within the context of sustainable development in tropical America. This activity includes support in the preparation of a basic document for the ministers and the organization of Meeting of Ministers on August 3-4, 1995.
In close coordination with the Earth Council, IICA participated in the process of developing the Central American Alliance for Sustainable Development, until it was signed as a regional commitment. This alliance has received the support of other countries, such as the Central America-United States Agreement (CONCAUSA).
Seminars, meetings, conferences and other events
Finally, it is worth mentioning that most of these IICA actions are preceded and accompanied by meetings, seminars, conferences, round tables, discussion fora and communication and training events that are executed at the hemispheric, regional, subregional and national levels, and in which a large number of public and private national and international organizations participate.
IICA maintains a policy of active participation in the most important technical events related to its areas of competence. In many of these events, the Institute acts primarily as a co-sponsor, in several instances as the organizer, and in others simply as a participant. By way of example, the following is a summary of some of the most important events in which IICA has played an active role this year.
IICA and the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium (IATRC), with collaboration from the USDA and Agriculture and Food Canada, hold a conference on "Economic Integration in the Western Hemisphere" on June 7-9, 1995.
The Institute contributed technical and secretarial support in the workshop on Agribusinesses in the Free Trade Area of the Americas of the "Hemispheric Trade and Commerce Forum" held in Denver, Colorado, in June 1995.
It also participated in a meeting hold in Miami on August 25, 1995, at the request of the Federation of Private Entities of Central America and Panama (FEDEPRICAP), during which the Entrepreneurial Forum for Hemispheric Integration was founded. This event was attended by representatives of 17 countries and regional and subregional associations of entrepreneurs.
Together with FAO and the National Agriculture Society of Chile, a technical meeting of entrepreneurial organizations was held on September 5-6, 1995.
In collaboration with Caribbean/Latin American Action (C/LAA), IICA will cosponsor in December of this year the Second Hemispheric Conference on Agribusiness in the Americas. The general slogan of the Miami Conference, and of the Agribusiness Conference, is: "Transforming the Summit into Business."
The previous Agribusiness Conference, hold in 1994, was attended by 356 entrepreneurs from North, Central and South America. A larger number of people is expected to attend this year, and in addition to the lectures and round tables on trade and trade disciplines in the context of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (IFTAA), there will be an exhibition of products, technologies and services for the agri-food sector.
Likewise, IICA, with support from the WTO, the United States Trade Representation (USTR) and the United States Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, is planning to organize a seminar or workshop on "the importance and correct application of mechanisms for resolving differences in order to facilitate hemispheric trade." This activity is scheduled for the first quarter of 1996.
Together with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), IICA co-sponsored and participated in a workshop entitled "2020 vision for food, agriculture and the environment," which was held in March 1995 in Cali, Colombia. IICA also attended the international conference of the same name, which was held in Washington in June 1995.
With financial support from the IDS, IICA organized a seminar to define, together with the countries, the work plan for the IDB/IICA project relating to the identification of priorities for the allocation of resources to agricultural research. This event was held at IICA Headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica in June 1995. In addition to the IDB, IFPRI and CIAT, the event was attended by the agricultural research institutes of most of the Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Together with the IDS and the agricultural research institutes of the countries, IICA sponsored a meeting in Bogota. Colombia in June 1995 to discuss the organization of the Agricultural Research Fund, in which the Government of that country also participated.
IICA and FAO cosponsored a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean countries on genetic resources in San Jose, Costa Rica in August 1995. This meeting was hold in preparation for the FAO International Conference on Phytogenetic Resources that will be hold in 1996 in Leiptz, Germany.
The Institute also co-sponsored a consultation meeting with the national agricultural research systems of the countries and the international agricultural research centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Rw4march (CGIAR). This meeting took place in Lima, Peru in March 1995, and its purpose was to discuss a common agenda for work among them.
In a joint effort with CATIE, IICA sponsored a Meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning of the CATIE member countries, plus Brazil and Mexico, in Turrialba, Costa Rica in August 1995, to discuss a strategy and joint actions for the sustainable development of agriculture.
Together with the International Livestock Research institute (ILRI) and the International Development Research Centre (IORC), IICA sponsored a Regional Consultation on Sustainable Livestock Production that was attended by the livestock research centers of more than 15 western hemisphere countries and institutions such as CIAT from Colombia, the National Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Research of Mexico (INIFAP), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the National Agricultural Technology Institute of Argentina and the Brazilian Institute of Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA).
In October 1995, the Institute co-sponsored, with the Council of American Development Foundations, "Solidarios," the seminar on Sustainable Rural Development and the Role of the NGOs, at which IICA was asked to renew its links with "Solidarios."
The University of Chile, Washington State University and IICA offered a course on the Science and Technology of Fats and Oils for the countries of the Southern and Andean Regions. This event has been taking place over the past two months in Santiago, Chile.
Together with the Zamorano School, a seminar was held on the training of agricultural professionals in the twenty-first century, in the Zamorano, Honduras. Another seminar will be taking place in November on the impact of agricultural communications in the year 2000.
Also, IICA has hold some twenty training seminars and courses this year for more than 500 participants from the private sector on the agreements of the WTO and other free-trade and economic integration agreements in the Americas.
Lastly, IICA organized the Ministerial Forum "The Agriculture of the Americas on the Eve of the Twenty-first Century: the Role of Agriculture in Integration and Economic Opening." The participants included most of the Ministers of Agriculture of the hemisphere and the President of Costa Rica, who acted as the Chairman of the event. This event took place at IICA Headquarters in September 1996 as part of the Eighth Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture.
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