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CATIE strengthens alliances after visit to Panama

  • Muhammad Ibrahim, Director General of the Centre, held meetings to strengthen cooperation with entities such as MIDA, UN Environment, FAO and IDIAP

January 29, 2020. On January 23 and 24, CATIE's Director General, Muhammad Ibrahim, paid an official visit to Panama, accompanied by Elvin Britton, the Center's representative in Panama, in order to strengthen cooperation alliances with key institutions in the country.

Initially, they held a meeting at the offices of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA, its Spanish acronym) with Augusto Valderrama, Minister of that portfolio, and Jorge Luis Acosta, Vice Minister of MiAmbiente, with whom they discussed CATIE's cooperation, focused on the strategic plan of Panama's national government.

It was agreed that the three entities will work together on key issues such as actions to reduce deforestation, reforestation and sustainable production, climate change and water.  To make this agreement viable, CATIE, MIDA and MiAmbiente will be developing a work plan that includes resource management and capacity building for the staff of national institutions.

Minister Valderrama thanked CATIE for its cooperation and the possibility of supporting capacity building and providing technologies for the agricultural sector. Likewise, Vice-Minister Acosta emphasized the importance of working on the issue of forest management, water and climate change.

The Director-General and Britton also met with Gustavo Mañe, UN Environment's climate change coordinator in Panama, and Marta Moneo, a climate change specialist. They discussed issues related to cooperation in implementing joint proposals to the Green Fund and the Climate Adaptation Fund.

The meeting in turn included issues of common interest related to the forests and coasts of the Caribbean. Similarly, UN Environment shared the status of the project for the Central American Dry Corridor, to which they have applied, indicating that there is an opportunity for CATIE to support the initiative because of its experiences in water management and its knowledge of the territory.

Also, within the framework of the visit to Panama, CATIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) resumed a joint work agenda. This followed a meeting between Ibrahim, Britton, Adoniran Sanches Peraci, FAO subregional coordinator for Mesoamerica, and Guillermo Navarro, FAO forestry specialist.

This meeting highlighted CATIE's support, through its master's students, in various forestry issues in several countries of the region. It also addressed the issue of FAO management to support CATIE in maintaining its international collections of cocoa, coffee and other materials, as well as in generating applied research on these materials in the face of climate change.

"Other relevant issues in which both organizations identified potential for cooperation are related to water management in dry areas, low-emission livestock and food and nutritional security," said Britton.

According to Adoniram, CATIE's research and experience in projects in the region is an opportunity to build innovative proposals like those required by environmental funds.

Finally, CATIE visited the Institute of Agricultural Research of Panama (IDIAP, its Spanish acronym), where Ibrahim and Britton were attended by Marcelino Jaén, deputy director of the institute, and other members such as Próspero Aguirre, from international cooperation, and Candice Herrera, secretary general.

Following the visit, immediate work topics were identified, for example, the development of a statistics course for IDIAP researchers and the development of a work plan within the framework of the agreement between the two parties. Similarly, joint proposals were proposed for strengthening the capacities of the Institute's researchers, the National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT) and the Institute for Training and Use of Human Resources (IFAHRU).

The deputy director of IDIAP said that the work done with CATIE for many years has been positive, especially that now many of its researchers are taking doctorates at the institution or are managing scholarships for them.

"For CATIE, research institutions such as IDIAP are highly valuable for their contribution to the development of countries," concluded Ibrahim.

Panama is one of CATIE's member countries, so the Center seeks to support its key institutions in responding to the country's needs and demands.



More information:

Elvin Britton
CATIE in Panama
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Written by:

Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication
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