Blue Pacific Food Dialogue works toward global impact
As Pacific countries continue to grapple with recovery and revival emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, food and food systems have come to the forefront of efforts to build a more resilient future for their people and communities. The Pacific makes significant contributions to the global food system – for example more 50 percent of the world’s tuna comes from its waters. Yet, its geography of small, remote states and territories and its recent relationship with agriculture, nutrition and food chains have resulted in significant challenges for its countries to garner equitable benefits from the global food system. Climate change and climate related disasters intensify these challenges, adding to this vulnerability.
SPC, Pacific governments and a diverse array of partners are taking steps to meet these challenges through the Blue Pacific Food Systems Regional Dialogue, a gathering held on May 20, 2021 that will cast a critical eye on the current state of Pacific food systems and propose game-changing solutions that will emanate beyond the region.
Pacific countries and communities are on the frontlines of climate change and its impacts, and regional food system solutions can inform a global audience of leaders and changemakers. Outcomes of the Regional Dialogue will be presented at the United Nations Food Systems Summit, to be held in September 2021 an UN Headquarters in New York. The UN Summit seeks to launch bold new actions, solutions and strategies to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, each of which relies on healthier, more sustainable and more equitable food systems.
The Pacific Dialogue will feed into other regional and independent dialogues that build a foundation for action at the Summit. As a region with unique challenges and a unique culture and history with food, the Pacific will take three key messages to the global gathering -
- The Pacific makes a significant, but under-recognized contribution to global food systems.
- Pacific countries face unique challenges in realizing equitable benefits in the global food system, with implications for the health and livelihoods of Pacific people and the economic development of the region.
- Urgent global and local action is needed to manage climate change and other risks, including for the most vulnerable, to ensure no one is left behind.
Blue Pacific Dialogue outcomes will provide a compelling narrative for the global community to ensure Pacific peoples’ voices are heard, and that innovation and advances in the region contribute to the global food conversation and SDG achievement. As Pacific communities revisit their traditional and indigenous knowledge and methods that have helped food systems thrive for generations while also welcoming new energy through its expanding youth population, food and nutrition challenges will be addressed with a composite of knowledge, heritage, progressiveness, and cultivation of an expansive food ethic.
SPC is leading the Dialogue as another step in efforts to engage Pacific peoples in diversifying and renewing Pacific food systems. Previous steps include an evidence brief and a food systems webinar that focused on the narrative of a typical day in the life of a community member through interaction with a local food system. SPC will continue to guide Pacific’s contribution to the Global Summit through its collaborative efforts with UN and leading crop agencies.