Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
Official Partner of the Global Bioeconomy Summit 2020
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is the specialized agency for agriculture of the Inter-American System that supports the efforts of Member States to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being.
The Institute provides cooperation services through close and permanent work with its 34 Member States, addressing their needs in a timely manner. Without a doubt, IICA’s most valuable asset is the close relationship it maintains with the beneficiaries of its work. It has broad experience in areas such as technology and innovation for agriculture, agricultural health, food safety and quality, international agricultural trade, family farming, rural development, natural resource management and the bioeconomy.
IICA’s mission is to encourage, promote and support Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.
Its vision is to be a modern and efficient institution supported by a platform of human resources and processes that are capable of mobilizing the knowledge available in the region and around the world, with the aim of achieving a competitive, inclusive and sustainable agriculture sector that takes advantage of opportunities to contribute to economic growth and development as well as to foster greater rural well-being and sustainable management of its natural capital.
Policies of the bioeconomy in Latin America
The objective of the Bioeconomy-Socio biodiversity Program is to articulate different actors for the promotion and structuring of productive systems based on the sustainable use of socio-biodiversity, as well as the production and use of energy from renewable sources.
The program has five axes:
1. Productive structuring of extractive chains (pro-extractivism).
In October 2019, the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas was held in San José, Costa Rica. In the political declaration of the conference, the ministers highlighted the bioeconomy as an innovative way to drive sustainable rural development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
Installation of the Joint Technical Sustainability Committee of the National Competitiveness and Innovation System (SNCI) of Colombia (2019)
In December 2019, the Technical Sustainability Committee was installed, which aims to articulate the discussions on the National Bioeconomy Strategy in Colombia. In 2020, Colombia has advanced in the development of its strategy.
In January 2020, the International Symposium “The Routes of the Bioeconomy in Ecuador” was held. A high-level technical event where the guidelines of the Bioeconomy Public Policy were discussed.
The Ministry of Energy (SENER) updated the Transition Strategy to promote the use of cleaner technologies and fuels, in terms of the Energy Transition Law, whose objectives are:
- Establish the goals and the roadmap for their implementation.
- Promote the reduction of polluting emissions originated by the electrical industry.
- Reduce, under criteria of economic viability, the country’s dependence on fossil fuels as a primary source of energy.
Uruguay, through the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries (MGAP), is part of the interdisciplinary group “International Sustainable Bioeconomy Working Group” (ISBWG).
Currently, Uruguay is working from the Inter-Institutional Working Group on Sustainable Bioeconomy (GIT-BS) in coordination with FAO and other regional actors such as IICA, in the formulation of the Sustainable Bioeconomy Strategy and the action plan for the implementation of the strategy.
The Ministry of Productive Development and Plural Economy established seven strategic axes in the productive development policy. One of them is the Bioeconomy: Circular Economy and Environment, which contains the following programs:
- Circular Economy
- Production and Biodiversity
- Formation and Training
Costa Rica becomes the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to formalize its National Bioeconomy Strategy.
These are its five strategic axes:
- Bioeconomy for rural development
- Biodiversity and development
- Biorefineries of residual biomass
- Advanced bioeconomy
- Urban bioeconomy and green cities
In July 2019, in Argentina, the first Latin American Bioeconomy symposium was held. The event discussed Bioeconomy and social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Similarly, public policies and international cooperation for the implementation of the bioeconomy in the region were discussed.
The Symposium was organized by the Argentine Government Secretariat for Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, ECLAC, ILO, UNESCO, IICA and CIECTI.
Within the framework of the First Latin American Bioeconomy Symposium, the Latin American Bioeconomy Network was established.
The objectives of the network are:
- Promote the bioeconomy as a regional development strategy, generating an exchange of experiences and collaborative projects.
- To sensitize relevant actors about the bioeconomy for sustainable development, emphasizing the role of science and technology.
The INNOVAGRO Network, a space for exchanging experiences and technological advances in the agri-food sector, organized the seminar “Circular Bioeconomy and Innovation Ecosystems” in June 2019 in Córdoba, Spain.
The INNOVAGRO Network seeks in the field of bioeconomy to increase the specialization of its actors, consolidate its scientific excellence, and promote the industrial leadership of companies in the sector.
It also seeks to make visible and internationally position excellence research and innovation -especially the circular bioeconomy-, as well as to promote and strengthen the transfer of knowledge and its dissemination to society.
The First Latin American Forum of Bioeconomy 2019 (FOLABI) was held in November 2019 in San José, Costa Rica.
In FOLABI there are three thematic axes: innovation, education, and public policies. The meeting featured nearly 200 actors from the regional ecosystem.
The forum was organized by Allbiotech, a Latin American network of young leaders in biotechnology working to promote bioeconomy as a growth strategy for the region and supported by IICA.
During 2020, different international seminars have been related to the potential of the bioeconomy as a development model in the post-pandemic environment in LAC.
One of them was developed by Professor David Zilberman of UC- Berkeley together with the General Director of IICA.
For the first time, the most important academic event in Bioeconomy was held in Latinoamerica. The 24th ICABR Conference, entitled Accelerating Bioeconomy Growth Through Applied Research and Policy Change.
The main areas of discussion were:
- Policies for Bioeconomy Growth as part of COVID-19 Recovery
- Climate Change, Environment, and Bioeconomy post-COVID-19
- The new biologicals: experiences in the management and development of bio inputs
The conference was organized by the International Consortium for Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Argentina.
It is a free, totally virtual academic activity, organized by the National Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and Science, Technology and Innovation, and The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange.
The program has three levels:
- Basic (General concepts)
- Modular courses (The technological convergence, food biorefineries, sustainable production of biomass).
- Integrative (sustainability/ innovation)
The course content has been developed with the accompaniment of international experts with high experience in the formulation and implementation of strategies and policies to take advantage of the bioeconomy.
It is made up of five modules:
- Conceptual bases of the bioeconomy
- The new frontier of knowledge and technology
- Paths to exploit the bioeconomy
- The bioeconomy in LAC: comparative advantages and opportunities
- Experiences of bioeconomic use in LAC
- Challenges and institutional responses to promote the bioeconomy in LAC
An opportunity for everyone. University of Chapingo, Mexico, with the support of IICA.
Online course on the free education platform of the Mexican government, MexicoX.
The course is divided into four themes:
- Conceptual bases
- Ways of exploitation
- Advantages and opportunities
- Positive experiences
The objective of the diploma is to train human capital in the concept of Bioeconomy from the economic, ecological, biotechnological, and social dimensions, studying models and value chains of bioproducts.
The diploma has five modules:
- Analysis and form of the Bioeconomy
- Production systems in sustainable Bioeconomy and emerging technologies
- Theory and practice of innovation in the management of bioeconomic projects
- Biorefineries and alternative energies
- Bio-business development and political-intellectual regulation
The purpose of the program is to train and provide skills to professionals whose activity or specialization interest is related to the different areas of bioprocesses so that they can build and realize innovative businesses with high development potential, counting for this with adequate knowledge in market strategies and tools, business plans and project management based on this discipline.
The structure of the program is divided into five modules:
- Leveling in Bioprocess Engineering, business and business management
- Basic concepts of Biobusiness and Innovation
- Market tools and strategies
- Structure and development of the business plan in Biobusiness
- Development of projects in Biobusiness
The diploma aims to provide interdisciplinary training to know and understand the achievements obtained by laboratory professionals, and the ability to generate new products in the market from them.
It consists of six modules:
- Fundamentals of Bio-businesses
- Conceptualization of Agribusiness and Bio-businesses
- Organization, Human Resources and Value Capture
- Management of biomass
- Business Strategy in Sustainable Bio-businesses
- Sustainable Bio-Business Plans, transversal exercise
Intensive Program in Bioeconomy
A program designed for agricultural producers, advanced students, and professionals in related sciences, interested in the new opportunities that the field and agro-industry offer us through Bioeconomy.
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture. (2019). The Outlook for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Americas: A Perspective on Latin America and the Caribbean 2019-2020 (pp 88 – 104).
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United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (s.f.). South-South and Triangular Cooperation on the Bioeconomy in light of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
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Bioeconomy Institutions (selection)
EMBRAPA – Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária
The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation was founded in 1973 and is under the aegis of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply.
CIAT – International Center for Tropical Agriculture
CIAT works in collaboration with hundreds of partners to help developing countries make farming more competitive, profitable, and resilient through smarter, more sustainable natural resource management.
CR Biomed Costa Rica – Cluster Costarricense de Biotecnología, Dispositivos Médicos y Ciencias de la Vida en general
It promotes and optimizes the biotechnology, medical devices and life sciences sector in Costa Rica.