SIDS Solution conference closes with a call to foster and accelerate innovation to transform agrifood systems


The Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Solutions Conference concluded today with a call by the Pacific SIDS leaders to foster and accelerate innovation to transform agrifood systems.

This is outlined in a joint statement issued.

The 3-day high-level conference, was co-hosted by FAO and the Government of Samoa to provide a platform for exchange of locally-grown knowledge and innovation related to building resilient, inclusive and sustainable agrifood systems in the Pacific SIDS.

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu and Hon Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, the Prime Minister of Samoa, called on Pacific SIDS to leverage the power of innovation to regain their momentum toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“As a result of these converging crises and shocks, we have seen negative coping strategies emerging, including changes in consumer behaviour, with the price of healthy foods out of reach for some, forcing people to resort to cheaper, less healthy options,” Qu said in a video address to delegates.

“There is urgency for small island states to move forward with transformative food system approaches including government support towards building sustainable, resilient, and inclusive agrifood systems that fit our respective contexts,” noted Hon Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, the Prime Minister of Samoa.

The Pacific SIDS Solutions Forum (28-30 November) has brought together the Ministers and Senior Officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Fishery, Forestry, Natural Resources Management and Climate Change, ICT, and Health, and representatives from development partners, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders from 14 Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

They are exploring the role innovative solutions can play in addressing the disproportionate aftershocks experienced in the Pacific Islands caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, climate change, and the 5F crises (food, feed, fuel, fertilizer and finance).

The event kicked off on 28 November with exploring and showcasing Pacific-based agrifood systems innovators working to improve productivity and sustainability of their businesses and products, followed by visits to Samoa’s sites and farms, among them the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS), Samoa- China Agriculture Technical Aid Project (SCATAP) and Ah Liki Farm.

The second day featured the Ministerial opening of the Forum with countries discussing pressing issues and challenges related to the twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 5F crises (food, feed, fuel, fertilizer and finance) that have shown up structural weaknesses and the low levels of resilience in our agrifood systems of the Pacific.

The final day of the Forum gave the distinguished delegates and other participants a chance to dive deep into the existing nutrition and food security challenges and solutions to shocks related to COVID-19, climate change and the 5F crises.

Day 3 sessions provided an overview of the situation of food security and the Pacific, explored creative approaches for addressing non-communicable diseases in the region, and discussed ways to accelerate the achievement of the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway, the SDGs, the 2021 Food Systems Summit Commitments and National Food System Pathways with actions.

The Forum was closed by Laauli Leuatea Schmidt Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and Mr Jong-Jin Kim. Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.