13 Nov 2017

Impacts of climate change on Pacific food raised in Rome

7:03 pm on 13 November 2017
No caption

Photo: 123RF

A high-level meeting in Rome has warned that climate change poses an "alarming threat to food systems and food security in the Pacific islands."

The Food and Agriculture Organisation's director-general José Graziano da Silva expressed Pacific leaders' concerns on how climate impacts contribute to malnutrition and obesity..

The leaders elaborated on how malnutrition led to non-communicable diseases, which account for 75 per cent of adult deaths in the region.

Mr da Silva said promoting local products was essential rather than being reliant on imported foods, due to climate change.

The FAO is working with the World Health Organisation on a pilot programme in Marshall Islands, Nauru and Samoa on promoting healthy and fresh foods.

It says it hopes to spread the programme across the Pacific.

Nine countries participated in the meeting including Kiribati, Vanuatu, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Samoa, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia.

The political leaders at the high level meeting included: Taneti Maamau, President, Republic of Kiribati, Baron Waqa, President, Republic of Nauru, Hilda Heine, President, Republic of Marshall Islands, Yosiwo P. George, Vice President, Federated States of Micronesia, Henry Puna, Prime Minister, Cook Islands, Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, Prime Minister, Republic of Vanuatu, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Deputy Prime Minister, Samoa, Joshua Kalinoe, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea, James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change, New Zealand, Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples, New Zealand and Édouard Fritch, President, French Polynesia.

Other participants included: Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary-General, Pacific Islands Forum, James Movick, Director-General, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and Andrew Daka, Chief executive officer, Pan Pacific Power Association.

In the joint statement, the leaders also reiterated their anxiety about ecosystem degradation and other challenges encapsulated in the Sustainable Development Goal 14 and called upon the international community to assist in maximizing the sustainable utilization of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors for the benefit of the small island developing states.

They further recalled the endorsement of the Global Action Programme on Food Security and Nutrition in SIDS and called for immediate implementation.