Secretary of State Kerry and the Western Hemisphere Focus: A Missing Sector

Posted by on May 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments »


By Edona Dervisholli, Policy Intern

John KerryOn Tuesday, May 8th, Secretary of State John Kerry gave remarks at the Council of the Americas’ 44th Conference on the Americas on the transformation he has witnessed in the Western Hemisphere. As a Secretary of State, Kerry has had opportunity to travel to many regions, and recently coming from a visit to Africa, he profoundly expressed how much opportunity the world is experiencing, at such a remarkable pace of change.

The Western Hemisphere has been in news headlines for political oppression, violence, and challenges of drug and human trafficking. But the region is also experiencing growth across all sectors of the economy that has lifted the lives of many of the region’s citizens. When leaders and institutions are able to surpass their differences, they are able to provide greater stability and open up new markets and opportunity with trade agreements.

The progress throughout the Western Hemisphere continues. New ways to sustain growth need to be developed, which means that news investments need to occur. These investments should include education, bolstering trade agreements through real economic integration, and securing energy responsibly and sustainably as the world is impacted by climate change. Though the final investment should be in good governance, the investments mentioned above will not take hold if good governance is not present.


All the investment areas Secretary Kerry mentioned are important to achieve a more prosperous Western Hemisphere that can bring benefits to the rest of the world.  But notably, Secretary Kerry did not include investing in agriculture and sustainable market-driven value chains in this region to meet local and global challenges of food security and food availability.

With one-third of the world’s fresh water resources and 28 percent of the world’s land identified as medium to high potential for sustainable agriculture, Latin America is poised to become the next global breadbasket.  This is perhaps the greatest opportunity area for productive investment for Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean, and how to achieve this potential is the subject of a major new report  and partnership launched by the Global Harvest Initiative and the Inter-American Development Bank.  Joined by over 30 partners from the private sector, development NGO’s, regional organizations, Fair Trade groups, universities and cooperatives, this campaign will aim to ensure that a new focus on agriculture will be front and center of the development agenda!

Watch the video from May 13 at the National Press Club to learn more.

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