Media Center

Press Release


  September 19, 2006

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), aimed at promoting health and prosperity in the rural communities of the Americas.

The accord of strategic cooperation among the two inter-American agencies is aimed at improving health and rural life in the member states of both organizations and also establishes a framework and legal basis for future agreements arising from shared concerns.

OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, who participated as a witness during the ceremony said that both organizations “play critical, complementary roles of technical leadership in the areas of health and agricultural development, which I hope will be deepened through this renewed commitment to collaborate on health and prosperity programs for the rural communities in the Americas.”

Insulza noted that the OPS and the IICA are focusing efforts in rural communities “given the negative impact on these areas of the constant flow of people migrating from the countryside to the cities”, reflected on the national budgets that “should allocate more resources to address the social problems plaguing cities, and the growing social and political insecurity in many societies due to urban-rural imbalances.”

The Director General of IICA, Dr. Chelston W. D. Brathwaite, explained that the signed instrument defines areas for joint cooperation in coming years and allows for continuing collaboration which began with the first agreement signed in 1993. Brathwaite underscored that “it is impossible to have agricultural development without rural health,” adding that this initiative responds to the needs and priorities of the hemisphere.

By her part, the Director of PAHO, Mirta Roses Periago, said that “hunger in the region is very much related to rural population, to indigenous people, to afro-descendents that are minorities in many countries,” indicating that through cooperation with IICA, they will work towards the elimination of hunger, one of the first goals of the millennium

The IICA is the specialized agency for agriculture of the inter-American system. Its mission is to support the member states in their pursuit of progress and prosperity in the hemisphere through the modernization of the rural sector, promotion of food security, and development of an agricultural sector that is competitive, technologically prepared, environmentally managed, and socially equitable for the people of the Americas.

The PAHO is an international public health agency working to improve health and living standards of the countries of the hemisphere. It serves as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization and enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system.

Reference: E-194/06