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Pacific countries at the heart of FAO’s Asia-Pacific Symposium on Agrifood Systems Transformation

3/10/2022, FAO Subregional Office for the Pacific – The Pacific is set to be well represented in FAO’s Asia-Pacific Symposium on Agrifood Systems Transformation with high-level delegations from the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu joining from the region.

The Asia-Pacific Symposium on Agrifood Systems Transformation is one of the biggest FAO events in the Asia-Pacific region in 2022 andis the world’s first follow-up to 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.

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. The scarcity of critical, paralyzing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, chronic diet-related diseases, remoteness, and vulnerability to climate change-induced natural disasters are only 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 2022) 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.

WHEN: 5 – 7 October 2022

WHERE: Millennium Hilton Bangkok – Hybrid – region-wide with participation from other regions

WHO: Government Ministers from Asia and the Pacific; FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu; FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative, Jong-Jin Kim, FAO Chief Economist, Maximo Torero, private sector, civil society.

HOW TO REGISTER: Pacific media, if not present in Bangkok, can register for virtual attendance here.

Pacific Islands participation

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 October 6 at 8:00-9:30 (Bangkok time) or 14:00-15:30 (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: Hon. Lord Fohe Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forests (MAFF), the Kingdom of Tonga; Hon Augustine Maeue Auga, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Solomon Islands (tbc); Hon. Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Fosi, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Assistant CEO Planning and Policy, Samoa; H. E. 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 Co-ordinator 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).

Bringing back food and agriculture to the front and center of the global development agenda.

In September 2021, the UN Food Systems Summit set the stage for global food systems transformation to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, leaving no one behind. To build on this effort, The Nutrition for Growth Summit, held in December 2021, saw renewed policy and financial commitments from countries to end malnutrition even as fiscal resources are constrained and malnutrition rates continued to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Asia-Pacific Symposium on Agrifood Systems Transformation will build on the tremendous buy-in generated by both Summits and accelerate the implementation of actions, solutions, innovations, technologies, and financing required in this region. Countries will benefit from a common space to share lessons and innovative policies informing their National Pathways to enhance collaboration with UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, established in January 2022.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is actively working towards the achievement of food security and nutrition and supporting the necessary transformation of agrifood systems in collaboration with governments, UN agencies, and other partners at national, regional and international levels. Along with the other SIDS, the Pacific countries have been and continue to play a crucial role in its technical cooperation by the Organization.