Following the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) meeting on “Improving food security and nutrition, building resilient livelihoods and promoting partnerships for sustainable development in the Pacific Islands”, the leaders made a joint statement on a number of issues affecting the livelihoods of Pacific people.
The statement represented the views of the participants and encompassed the discussions held during the event on Friday last week.
The leaders stressed the importance of using existing regional mechanisms as a means for greater “coherence” in provision of support for Pacific nations.
They also expressed alarm at the negative impact of climate change on food systems and food security in the region and called upon all countries to exceed previous commitments and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
This would reduce the adverse impacts on food security and nutrition, coastal habitats and the livelihoods of those depending on oceans.
The statement said the 1.5 degrees limit would also allow for a greater change in maintaining resilient livelihoods and promote partnerships for sustainable development in the Pacific Islands.
In recalling Pacific Finance and Health Ministers commitment to the Pacific Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Roadmap, the leaders expressed concern about the negative impacts of malnutrition as evidenced in the growing incidence of NCDs in the Pacific Island nations.
And they called for more proactive action to promote policies to tackle challenges on food insecurity, especially on issues related to obesity, stunting, wasting and NCDs.
The leaders also reiterated their anxiety about ecosystem degradation and other challenges encapsulated in Sustainable Development Goal 14, which promotes conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for development.
The leaders also called upon the international community to ensure partnerships with Pacific nations were genuine and enduring, that mutual cooperation was encouraged and that synergies were maximised to pursue and build financial resources for the Pacific Islands.
The high level meeting held in Rome, Italy was attended by six Pacific heads of states and heads of governments, vice president, deputy prime minister and ministers.
It was also attended by representatives from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Pacific Community, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries and Pacific Power Association and Rome base agencies.
Meanwhile PM Puna is now in Bonn, Germany attending the COP23 UN Conference on Climate Change.