Samoa among seven Pacific states at symposium

By Gutu Faasau 04 October 2022, 1:00PM

Pacific is set to be well represented in the FAO Asia-Pacific Symposium on Agrifood Systems Transformation with delegations from the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu.

The symposium is one of the biggest FAO events in the Asia-Pacific region in 2022 and is the world’s first follow-up to 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, states a statement released by the FAO.

A year after the UNFSS, the Asia-Pacific region is significantly off track and, only expected to achieve the SDGs by 2065-three-and-a-half decades behind schedule. In many cases, unsafe or unsustainable food systems are part of the problem.

Some of the Pacific countries are even further behind in achieving targets SDG targets, according to the FAO statement, with scarcity of critical, paralysing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, chronic diet-related diseases, remoteness, and vulnerability to climate change-induced natural disasters some of the challenges the Pacific countries have to face while pursuing their national food systems transformation agendas within the framework of the UN Secretary General’s leadership to improve global food security.

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific is convening a three-day 5–7 October special symposium to unpack the economic, environmental and social elements and impacts of agrifood systems transformation and explore how innovations, technologies and digitalization can contribute to accelerating the progress of leaving no one behind across the Asia-Pacific region.

Pacific delegations are set to be part of various plenary sessions and side events, raising the voice of the Pacific countries and its people and putting the challenges and solutions at the heart of the discussions and event outcomes.

On 6 October at 8-9.30 (Bangkok time) or 2pm-3.30pm (Samoa time), the Symposium will also feature a dedicated plenary session “Spotlighting the Pacific Context of Agrifood Systems.” 

The plenary will highlight the unfolding impacts of the 5F (food, feed, fuel, fertilizer and finance) crisis on agrifood systems in the Pacific region within the context of its historical challenges and exchange the experiences that the Pacific countries are undertaking along their implementation of national food system pathways.

Among the Pacific speakers and panelists are: Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forests (MAFF), the Kingdom of Tonga; Augustine Maeue Auga, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Solomon Islands; La’auli Leuatea Schmidt, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Samoa; Elina P. Akinaga, Secretary, FSM Department of Resources & Development, Federated States of Micronesia; Michael Tapaholoiesi Hoóta, Deputy Secretary Technical, Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock, Solomon Islands; Marissa Derime Cook, Director of Agriculture, National Convenor, Nauru; Antoine Ravo, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vanuatu; Anuradha Gupta, Land Use Planning Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and the Environment, Palau.

The Symposium will also be joined by representatives of several Pacific-based UN agencies (Simona Marinescu, Resident Coordinator of the UN multi-country office in Samoa, and Xiangjun Yao, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands) and other development partners, such as Alisi Tuqa, Food Systems Programme Lead at the Pacific Community (SPC).

By Gutu Faasau 04 October 2022, 1:00PM
Samoa Observer

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