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Permanent Council Receives IICA Annual Report and a Presentation by the Vice Minister of Foreign Relations of Italy

  May 14, 2014

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today received the annual report of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and a presentation by the Vice Minister of Foreign Relations of Italy, during a regular meeting at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington DC.

The General Director of the IICA, Victor Villalobos, presented the Annual Report of the Institution, which will be sent to the 44th OAS General Assembly, from June 3 to 5 in Asunción, Paraguay. Director Villalobos highlighted that “the efforts of the Institute in recent years have focused on supporting its countries to achieve four strategic objectives related to the hemispheric agricultural sector: improving productivity and competitiveness; empowering the contribution of agriculture to the development of rural territories; improving the capacity of the sector to mitigate and adapt itself to climate change and better use natural resources; and improving the contribution of agriculture to food security.”

Villalobos summarized the activities of the Institution over the past year, emphasizing the strategic importance of the development of the agricultural sector in the region, in particular among the rural population. In addition, he thanked the Permanent Council and in particular the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, for their support of the Institution. In his conclusion, Director Villalobos, who began his second four-year term in January, highlighted that “our relevance is measured by the results that you yourselves know and have seen. This is the commitment that I again make to our member countries.”

On another point of the agenda, The Vice Minister of Foreign Relations of Italy, Marco Giro, made a presentation to the Council, echoing the words of Secretary General Insulza at the Canadian Foreign Ministry this week, that “the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a historic opportunity for economic transformation and sustainable development,” but that they will have to deal with “serious economic and social challenges” to take advantage of this opportunity. Along those lines, Vice Minister Giro said “Italy will continue to contribute to carrying out programs of cooperation for development and above all institutional strengthening and the exchange of best practices.”

Vice Minister Giro highlighted the historic links between his country and Latin America and noted two “comparative advantages” it maintains in the region: the large number of descendants of Italian migrants in the region, and the cultural similarity between Italy and the region. He summarized the interest of his country in continuing to contribute to programs to improve citizen security, above all in Central America, and committed to demonstrate this interest during the Presidency of Italy of the European Union in the second semester of this year. Upon concluding his address, Vice Minister Giro congratulated the General Secretariat and the Council “for having begun with determination, courage and transparency the delicate debate on the strategic vision of the OAS , which will be discussed during the upcoming General Assembly in Asunción.”

The Chief of Staff of the Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, Ambassador Hugo de Zela, speaking on behalf of the OAS leader, highlighted the importance of the visit of Vice Minister Giro, which he called “a clear demonstration of the importance of the relations between our Organization and Italy in its quality of Observer Country since 1972.” Ambassador de Zela recalled the “wide spectrum of tasks” in which Italy cooperates with the OAS, among them public security, de-mining, electoral observation, human rights, civil registration, and judicial facilitators. At the beginning of this week, Secretary General Insulza received Vice Minister Giro in his office in Washington, DC.

During the meeting the representatives of Mexico, El Salvador, United States, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Belize, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Dominica, Haiti, Colombia, Canada, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Guatemala, Chile, Grenada, Costa Rica, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador and the Permanent Observer of Italy took the floor.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event will be available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-195/14