FAO, EU and Cuba sign food security program

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the European Union (EU) and Cuba signed a food security program, a statement from the parties read on Wednesday.

The press release distributed by FAO in Havana states that the program seeks to support the development of resilient and sustainable food systems.

The document was signed on Tuesday in Havana, referring to the new joint program between the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG) and the EU, accompanied by FAO and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

This program will be developed through 2025 in six municipalities of Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara, and at the central level, with total funding of 19,950,000 euros.

It includes three projects, focused on strengthening local self-sufficiency for sustainable and healthy food.

It also addresses management capacity for decision processes, policy formulation, and the Integrated Knowledge Management System for food security in Cuba, the two latter executed by FAO.

FAO representative in Cuba Marcelo Resende said the projects will help provide people with healthy food, a right recognized in the new Constitution of the Republic.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Maury Echevarria explained that the development of the agri-food sector is a strategic priority for the country, and thanked the EU and the United Nations agencies for contributing to that purpose.

In addition to MINAG, the Ministry of Food Industry, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment (MINCEX), Ministry of Domestic Trade, Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Public Health, and the Ministry of Economy and Planning are involved in the plan.

The Cuban government and the EU agreed the financing agreement for the Strategic Support for Sustainable Food Security in Cuba in April, within the framework of the Multi-annual Indicative Programme for Cuba 2014-2020.

The signing took place during a workshop in Havana, in which Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Cuba, Consuelo Vidal-Bruce, and UNDP resident representative Maribel Gutierrez also participated.

Carlos Fidel Martin, director of International Economic Organizations at MINCEX, was also present.

  • Published in Cuba

EU, Cuba Make “Substantial Progress” Toward Accord

The European Union and Cuba have made “substantial progress” in the second round of negotiations toward a bilateral accord and they will hold a third round at the end of this year, the EU’s top diplomat for the Americas said on Thursday.

“We have met with a very well-prepared Cuban team who came to Brussels with a constructive spirit of compromise, something that allowed us to make substantial progress in narrowing our positions to arrive at a common vision on how the chapter of cooperation should be,” said Christian Leffler.

“We have a clear conviction of what the general structure must be … the different areas of dialogue on policies and interaction and those (where) potential compromise (can be achieved),” he said at a press conference following two days of talks.

The Cuban government, meanwhile, said in a communique that the negotiation process was evolving “normally” and that the exchanges with the EU “developed in a constructive manner.”

Cooperation is one of the three pillars that will comprise the first bilateral agreement between Cuba and the EU, along with political and institutional matters and trade.

The European negotiators on Thursday made a presentation on what the main areas of trade cooperation and investment facilitation might be, a point that Leffler said will not be the most complex area in which to find agreement.

He said that this matter will be discussed again, along with “more sensitive political questions,” in the third round of talks, which will be held in Havana toward the end of the year, although the issues that will be discussed still have not been agreed upon.

Until them, both parties will maintain their informal technical contacts to continue moving forward on the agreement.

“The Cuban side is clear and in agreement that the accord must facilitate cooperation among all the actors of Cuba and the EU, including civil society,” Leffler said.

  • Published in Cuba
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