Agriculture and Rural Life
As part of their commitment to promote programs for the improvement of agriculture and rural life and agro business, the countries of the hemisphere have addressed the issue of agriculture and its management at each of the Summits of the Americas:

Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2005
IV Summit of the Americas

In the
Declaration of Mar del Plata, Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their commitment to the Doha Negotiations with emphasis on the elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and providing greater access to markets for exports. With reference to the Fourth Summit theme, “Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governments”, Leaders of the Hemisphere noted that in order to promote investment in their countries, create jobs and achieve rural prosperity, Member States must design a comprehensive framework for rural and agricultural development.

The Fourth Summit Plan of Action references the Ministerial Agreement of Guayaquil on Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas and requests that Member States implement the programs set forth by the agreement. In addition, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC) are requested to develop an information system for the follow-up and evaluation of the agreement.



Monterrey, Mexico, 2004
Special Summit of the Americas

In the Declaration of Nuevo Leon of the Special Summit of the Americas, Heads of State and Government recognized that agriculture contributes to social development, rural prosperity, and food security. Governments recognized trade liberalization of agricultural products as an essential element for the development of agriculture in the countries of the Hemisphere and governments reaffirmed their commitment to trade negotiations to promote effective access to markets. Further, Leaders endorsed implementation of the "AGRO 2003-2015" Plan of Action 2003-2015", adopted at the Second Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Rural Life  on Agriculture and Rural Life, held in Panama in November of 2003.



Quebec City, Canada, 2001
Third Summit of the Americas

In the 2001 Quebec City Summit, under the section entitled Agriculture Management and Rural Development, the countries recognize that without the improvement of agricultural and rural life, implementation of the Plans of Action of the Summits of the Americas will be hindered.  That being said, the Heads of State and Government agreed to promote increased dialogue and cooperation between the various actors who support this issue, in order to elaborate national strategies for agricultural sustainability, to facilitate market access for alternative development programs and to strengthen rural enterprise.  The function of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture was also highlighted in this Action Plan area, emphasizing its role in the achievement of these agricultural goals.


Santiago, Chile, 1998
Second Summit of the Americas

At the 1998 Santiago Summit.  At Santiago, the Heads of State and Government charged the Inter-American Commission on Sustainable Development with maintaining an active follow-up to the implementation of mandates from the Santa Cruz Summit. 


Miami, Florida, USA, 1994 
First Summit of the Americas

At the 1994 Miami Summit, under the section entitled Partnership for Biodiversity, the Heads of State and Government focused on the sustainable use of biodiversity, as well as conservation, recommending that they be integrated into relevant economic development activities, including agriculture, forestry and coastal management. 

Third Summit of the Americas, Quebec City, Canada 2001

Agriculture and
Rural Life


Third Ministerial Meeting "Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas"
August 30-31, 2005, Guayaquil, Ecuador  

Agriculture and Rural Life mandates from the Third Summit of the Americas


Recognizing the fundamental importance of agriculture as a way of life for millions of rural families of the Hemisphere as well as the role it plays in the creation of prosperity as a strategic sector in our socio-economic system and taking note of the importance of developing its potential in a manner compatible with sustainable development that would ensure adequate treatment and attention to the rural sector:

  • Promote dialogue involving government ministers, parliamentarians and civil society, in particular organizations linked to rural areas as well as the scientific and academic communities, with the objective of promoting medium and long-term national strategies toward sustainable improvement in agriculture and rural life;

  • Support national efforts to strengthen rural enterprises, in particular small- and medium-sized enterprises and promote, where appropriate, a favorable environment for agri-business; encourage, in a complementary manner, the training of small- and medium-sized rural entrepreneurs as well as the modernization of training institutions in this field;

  • Encourage the development of markets in the Hemisphere for goods obtained through the sustainable use of natural resources;

  • Strive to facilitate access to markets for those goods derived from alternative development programs implemented in countries engaged in the substitution of illicit crops;

  • Instruct the Ministers of Agriculture, during the next meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture, to promote, in cooperation with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), joint action by all the actors of the agricultural sector to work towards the improvement of agricultural and rural life that enables the implementation of the Plans of Action of the Summits of the Americas;


Quebec Plan of Action (complete version):  English | Spanish | French | Portuguese



Rural Life


Third Ministerial Meeting "Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas"
August 30-31, 2005, in Guayaquil, Ecuador


The Third Ministerial Meeting "Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas", held August 30-31, 2005, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, was chaired by Pablo Rizzo P., Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Ecuador.
Mariano Ernesto Salaverría, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of El Salvador, served as a Deputy Chair.

At the meeting, the Ministers analyzed the
Report of the Secretariat on implementation of the AGRO 2003-2015 Plan, discussed topics of strategic importance for agriculture and rural life in the hemisphere, and studied the proposed ministerial agreements presented in the 2005 GRICA Report.

Based on the national reports, the report of the Secretariat describes the progress on implementation of the AGRO 2003-2015 Plan and gives details of the new hemispheric dynamic that has developed as a result of the mandates of agriculture and rural life of the Summits of the Americas. Also, in their discussions the ministers addressed: i) the potential of agrobiotechnologies (ABT) in agriculture; ii) the outlook for the agro-energy industry in the Americas; iii) reducing poverty, generating employment and promoting rural prosperity; and, iv) National Policies for implementing the AGRO 2003-2015 Plan.

Also, the Ministers approved the updates 2006-2007 Hemispheric Agenda and the Ministerial proposal to be submitted to the Fourth Summit of the Americas. The Hemispheric Agenda reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen local economic development with the support of public and private investment, based on an integrated approach to improve productivity, competitiveness and the capacity of rural areas to generate employment and improve the quality of life.

These agreements, which complement the agreement on the updating of the AGRO 2003-2015 Plan set out in the
Ministerial Agreement of Guayaquil, include actions related to: i) the implementation of, and follow-up of, the AGRO 2003-2015 Plan, in preparation of the Fourth Ministerial Meeting; ii) the development of and information system to provide follow-up to the AGRO Plan; and, iii) the presentation to the SIRG of the Ministerial Proposal on Agriculture and Rural Life, for inclusion in the Draft Declaration of Mar del Plata and the Plan of Action of the Fourth Summit of the Americas. In signing these agreements, the ministers reaffirmed and renewed their commitment to the AGRO 2003-2015 Plan, and reached consensus on actions for implementation and following up on same.

Finally, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite of Barbados was reelected by acclamation for another four-year term as Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

For additional information, please visit IICA's homepage.


Second Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Rural Life
November 11-12, 2003, Panama City, Panama



The preamble of the ministerial Plan of Action from the Second Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Rural Life demonstrates the clear link between Summit mandates and the goals of this ministerial. 

“We, the Ministers and Secretaries of Agriculture of the Americas, assembled in Panama City, Republic of Panama (November 11-12, 2003) at the Second Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Rural Life within the framework of the Summit of the Americas process, in fulfillment of the mandates on agriculture and rural life issued by the Heads of State and Government at the Third Summit of the Americas, and in follow up to the Ministerial Declaration of Bavaro, which we approved at our First Ministerial Meeting, held in the Dominican Republic in the year 2001, hereby adopt this AGRO 2003-2015 Plan of Action for Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas, including The Hemispheric Agenda 2003-2005.

We based the preparation of the Plan on a systemic concept of agriculture and rural life which encompasses rural territories, agricultural production-trade chains and the national and international context, and an approach to sustainable development which takes into account the differences amongst countries and regions in the hemisphere in production-trade, ecological-environmental, socio-cultural and human development, and political-institutional dimensions.”

The Ministerial Plan of Action was prepared during extensive consultations managed by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, a member of the Joint Summit Working Group.  The declaration begins with a shared vision of 2015 to establish common goals.  This is followed by a statement of the strategic objectives which are Rural Prosperity, Food Security, the Positioning of Agriculture in the International Scenario and Regional Integration, Agricultural Health and Food Safety and Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu.

Detailed plans for the agricultural sector are presented in a hemispheric agenda for 2003-2005.  This agenda consist of four sections: the production – trade dimension, including international trade rules and modernizing infrastructure and business development to create trading opportunities; the ecological – environmental dimension including organic farming, regulations and sustainable development; the socio-cultural and human dimension including gender and multicultural issues; and the political – institutional dimension, including mechanisms of cooperation and coordination between ministries of agriculture and international organizations. 

Ministers agreed to meet every two years to follow-up on these commitments and update their hemispheric agenda.

See for the full Plan of Action text. 


13th Inter-American Ministerial Meeting on Health and Agriculture


The 13th Inter-American Meeting, at the Ministerial Level, on Health and Agriculture (RIMSA 13) was held at the Headquarters of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, D.C., from 24 to 25 April 2003.

During the inaugural session, Dr. Roses, Director of the Pan American Sanitary Bureau (PASB) highlighted that the RIMSA meeting is a technical and political regional forum established more than 30 years ago.  Intersectoral coordination between health and agriculture, “one of the central strategies of the Declaration of Alma-Ata on primary health care” were discussed. Dr. Roses pointed out the fundamental roles played by agriculture and health in fostering public health, food security and rural development.  She also stressed the achievements made by PAHO and its Member States in the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease, the sustained elimination of human rabies and cholera, and the successful efforts to keep the Americas free of BSE.  She concluded with a call to enhance the synergism of the work of PAHO and its Member States.

His Excellency, Mr. Jorge Batlle, President of the Republic of Uruguay, addressed the assembly. He emphasized the strategic importance of achieving food security and safety for all. He stressed that the continent is only one and made a call to the responsibilities of all governments in this task.  He ended by sending a call to make quick and safe progress toward consolidating the regional integration initiative with a continental vision.

The Honorable Ann Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America delivered the keynote address, entitled “Towards the Harmonization of Food Safety and Trade in the Americas”. She stressed the vital role of intersectoral coordination between health and agriculture to achieve a safe food supply and the harmonization of science—based regulations, norms and standards to facilitate regional and global trade.

Delegates from 33 Member states participated in the Meeting, among them 25 Ministers of Health and 27 Ministers of Agriculture or their Representatives. Officers from other technical cooperation, financing and private sector agencies participated as observers—among the latter, associations of livestock producers and consumers, the food industry, non-governmental organizations and universities.

The theme of the RIMSA 13 was “Food Safety: From Production to Consumption.”  The subject was presented and discussed in different panels. Subregional country experiences were presented in the first panel where the following topics were presented: Fresh Produce, Spanish Food Agency, Caribbean Food Safety Initiative, Fisheries and Seafood Industry, and Livestock and Livestock Products.  It was stressed that the RIMSA serves as a model forum for a holistic approach to developing food safety programs involving not only agriculture and health but also all the social actors involved.

The second panel focused on International Cooperation on Food Safety and Security—Global Perspective. Presentations were made on the following topics: Food Security, Food Safety and Trade, Expanding Mandate of the International Office of Epizootics, and Report of the Evaluation of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. It was noted that increasing livestock densities in humid and warm ecologies contribute to higher frequency and exposure to animal disease agents, both endemic and epidemic, including those of zoonotic nature. The rights of governments to give priority to public health, while ensuring that unjustified barriers to trade are not imposed, were stressed. The panel also addressed the need for international organizations to provide official reports to governments, based on duly documented and credible information on the status of international animal health. The delegates underscored the need for Member States to develop scientifically sound international regulations, norms and standards for consumer health protection and fair food trade practices.

The third panel discussed “Agriculture, Health and Rural Development.” Presentations were made on the following topics: IICA/PAHO Strategic Alliance, Public and Private Goods in a Global Market, Participation and Civic Engagement in Poverty Reduction Strategy, and Human Development and Prosperity in Rural Communities. The delegates emphasized that food safety will continue to play a major role in public health and the agri-food trade, and international specialized organizations are expected to keep their roles as key components in the global food regulatory framework. It was stressed that the principal areas for joint activities between agriculture and health to generate the necessary synergy for human sustainable development and the prosperity of rural communities are: food security, food safety, animal health and prevention/control and elimination of zoonoses.  The model of healthy and productive municipalities, allied with primary health care strategy, is an excellent mechanism to achieve these goals. The delegates recognized that sustainable programs are complex and their success depends on an integrated approach involving agriculture, health and the other social sectors.

 Three special presentations were delivered and discussed: Dr. Lester Crawford (Deputy Commissioner, United States Food and Drug Administration), made a presentation on Bioterrorism—the Threat in the Western Hemisphere. He stressed the interdependence of countries and the importance of working together to prevent deliberate contamination of food by chemical, biological or nuclear agents, which can occur at any vulnerable point along the food chain, from farm to table.  Dr. Matias de Nicola, Director, National Institute of Food, Argentina (INAL) presented the Report of the Regional Meeting on Genetically Modified Food. Finally, Dr. Kaare Norum (Chair of the WHO Reference Group to the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity, and Health) presented the Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases. Dr. Norum indicated that the report stressed the need to take a strong political decision to develop multisectoral actions to ensure an adequate agricultural and livestock production to meet the needs of a healthy diet, as well as the need for community education to increase physical activity.

For more information, please visit  the IICA website.


Consultation 2001 for National Leaders


The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) has recently concluded a national consultation process with the countries of the hemisphere in order to define national medium and long-term strategies in the agricultural sector.  Each national dialogue included the participation of all actors from the agro-sector, including public and private leaders from each country.  The dialogue will serve as the basis for developing National Technical Cooperation Agendas that will indicate IICA’s work responsibilities for the future.  In this way, IICA will ensure that its activities with countries are coordinated and aligned with the Summit mandates. 

The national consultations were carried out through interviews and questionnaires referring to several issues, including agrifood chains, rural spaces, the institutional framework, the policy formulation process and the role of the ministries of agriculture.  The results from these consultations are analyzed by the “System for the Analysis of the Critical Issues of Agriculture,” from which national strategies will be formulated for the improvement of agriculture and rural life in the Americas – a key issue of the Third Summit of the Americas. 

For more information on IICA activities, please click here.


IIICA and PAHO Sign an Agreement to Fight Poverty 

On June 2, 2002, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) met in Barbados during the XXXII OAS General Assembly to sign an agreement to begin a cooperation program between the rural and agricultural sectors, in order to fight poverty in the rural areas of the Americas. The agreement was subscribed to by the Director of PAHO, Dr. George A.O. Alleyne, and the General Director of IICA, Dr. Chelston W.D. Brathwaite.

Since 1983, PAHO and IICA have had a General Cooperation Agreement of unlimited duration with the objective of contributing to the increase and better use of food production, and to improving health and rural life in their Member States. Through this new agreement, IICA and PAHO will strengthen their joint technical cooperation activities in order to give support to the countries of the Americas in the achievement of health and prosperity in their rural areas. These institutions also carry out joint actions within the framework of the Summit process, such as information exchange and participation of both organizations in preparatory activities and in the ministerial meetings of health and agriculture and rural life.


Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Rural Life 


The Ministers of Agriculture, meeting as the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), held the First Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Rural Life of the Americas in the context of the Summits of the Americas process.  In it, the Ministers considered the mandates from the Third Summit and the role of the main hemispheric ministerial forum on agriculture and rural life.  They also adopted the Declaration of Bávaro for the Improvement of Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas.  In this Declaration, Ministers noted the critical issues that need to be addressed urgently in order to improve agriculture and rural life and expressed, as well, their conviction and desire to promote a shared agenda and joint action with the institutional partners of the Summit process, international development institutions and cooperating governments. 

Among the critical issues mentioned is the need to advance significantly in food security and the reduction of rural poverty by 1) deepening the liberalization of trade in agriculture; 2) strengthening dialogue and the harmonization of strategies; 3) the construction of an institutional framework favorable to the sustainable development of agriculture and rural activities; 4) supporting rural organizations and communities in order to build their capacities; 5) the promotion of environmentally friendly agriculture; 6) giving attention to natural disasters and food emergencies; 7) increasing investment for the creation of human capital; 8) reducing gaps in knowledge, technology and information; and 9) modernizing agriculture and strengthening the support services for production and agro-food trade.

To see a copy of the approved Declaration of Bávaro, please click here (only in Spanish).  More information on the ministerial meeting can be found here, as well as a speech by the Director of the OAS Office of Summit Follow Up.



XII Inter-American Meeting, at the Ministerial Level, on Health and Agriculture


For the first time ever, Ministers of Health and Agriculture participated in the XII Inter-American Meeting on Health and Agriculture, which took place on May 2-4, 2001, in São Paulo, Brazil.  The objective of the meeting was to discuss matters of common interest for the health and agriculture sectors in the region.  The discussion included two panels: one on community participation in food protection and the other on zoonoses of importance for the economy and public health.  Participants, including delegates from 35 Member States and at the Ministerial level, also considered the implications of reforms in the livestock sector for the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease and other aspects of animal health, productive municipios and food security at the local level.  For more information on this event, please see the
Report on the XII Inter-American Meeting, at the Ministerial Level, on Health and Agriculture.





XXXIII OAS General Assembly
Santiago, Chile
June 8-10, 2003




XXXII OAS General Assembly
Bridgetown, Barbados
June 2-4, 2002





XXXI OAS General Assembly
San José, Costa Rica
June 3-5, 2001