As millions of farmers regionally and globally struggle to overcome the impacts of a global health crisis, economic slowdown, and unprecedented weather shocks, Pacific leaders met yesterday to call for a regional alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture.
The ‘Pacific Climate Smart Agriculture Regional Food Systems Dialogue’ prompted Pacific leaders to collaborate on research and development investments to improve regional food systems in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Dialogue is one in a series of gatherings in the Pacific that will contribute to the United Nations Food Systems Summit, to be held in New York in September this year.
Hosted by the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA), the dialogue brought together food system experts and policy makers to address sustainable development challenges affecting Pacific food systems and explore innovative approaches that can shape resilient agriculture in the region.
“Shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic are an opportunity for change in our food systems which requires identifying and building on local strengths and innovations,” said Dr Paula Vivili, Deputy Director General for SPC in his keynote address. “We must work together to share innovative ideas and models of development that have the potential to respond effectively to disasters and crisis.”
H.E. Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, said the implementation of adaptative measures for a resilient agri-food system is critical to avoid economic losses in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
“What we need to do now is to show solidarity through our joint actions within the context of COVID-19, and food insecurity. That’s why this initiative can make a difference in the region, especially for the livelihoods of people, for economic growth, sustainable agriculture and our Blue Economy.”
The dialogue mobilized a diverse group of agriculture related contributors, including government officials, policy research institutions, farmer organizations, agri-business and agricultural financiers. Outcomes from the dialogue will be integrated with outcomes from two additional Pacific dialogues on holistic Pacific food systems and Pacific organics held earlier this year to inform the forthcoming UN Food Systems Summit and the annual UN Climate Change Conference (or COP26) in November 2021.