FAO focuses on small islands in new programme

Fiji, SIDS in Australasia

ROME -  A new United Nations global action programme launched today at FAO seeks to address pressing challenges related to food security, nutrition and the impacts of climate change facing the world's Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

 SIDS, due to their small size and isolation, are especially at risk of natural disasters and the impacts of climate change, with rising ocean levels and extreme weather events such as tsunamis, storms, floods and droughts. According to the press release on the FAO’s website, “many have limited arable agricultural land and are dependent on small-scale agriculture, ocean resources and high priced imports.”

 The aims of the Global Action Programme are: i) to create enabling environments for food security and nutrition; ii) to promote sustainable, resilient nutrition-sensitive food systems; and, iii) to empower people and communities for improved food security and nutrition.

 FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva stated: “"The impacts of climate change are particularly worrisome. They affect everything that we plan to do in the SIDS countries," The initiative is the result of several meetings in SIDS regions regarding food security and nutrition, climate change, the health of oceans, land degradation, social inclusion education and gender equality.”

 UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson, also Fiji's Permanent Representative to the UN, said that the launch of the programme "represents an important step towards implementation of the (SDG) Sustainable Development Goals targets as related to the SIDS for addressing poverty, health, water, sanitation, economic development, inequalities, climate change, and of course the oceans".

 FAO released a document in 2014 which lists the support it offers SIDS: “policy advice, analysis and technical assistance in agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, natural resources management and food security in its commitment to support resilient livelihoods and enhance food security.” The entire document, which breaks down exactly what the institution does in each island, is available online here: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3984e.pdf .

 FAO has since promised to increase economic benefits to SIDS countries last month during the Ocean Conference in New York, using $16 million of funding from the FAO's budget. \