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Pacific nations participate in food and agriculture forum

Wednesday 23 February 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, National

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Pacific nations participate in food and agriculture forum
In Rarotonga, Ministry of Agriculture crop technician Victor Mataora, demonstrates plant care techniques to students. PHOTO: CI NEWS/21061721

High-level delegations from Australia, New Zealand and 14 other Pacific Island nations are expected to join government Ministers and officials from 30 other Asia-Pacific countries next month to address the damage done to economies and livelihoods in the food and agriculture sectors caused by the global pandemic.

Other pressing issues include ecosystem responses in the Pacific Islands and addressing animal and crop diseases, and the ongoing disruption resulting from the climate crisis.

Advancing the application of innovation, science and digitalization to help an agrifood systems transformation in the world’s biggest and hungriest region is among the main points for consideration.

The 36th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (#APRC36), convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), will be hosted by the Government of Bangladesh, in the capital Dhaka. Her Excellency, Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, will welcome delegates to the Conference, which is convened in Hybrid modality.

FAO Members from the South-West Pacific include Cook Islands, Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The Issues at Hand

While a significant focus of deliberations will be on Covid-19 recovery efforts, the ministers and officials attending will also consider responses to both emerging and ongoing issues.

On the table for discussion will be future responses to longstanding threats to livestock such as Avian Influenza, African swine fever and weakened immune responses caused by inappropriate and overuse of antimicrobials in animal production. Ecosystem responses in the Pacific Islands is among the top priorities, while ways and means to mitigate reoccurring threats to plants and crops, such as Locusts and Fall Armyworm will also be examined.

Implementing the new FAO strategy on dealing with climate change as well as opportunities that are emerging from applications of innovation, science and digitalization in the food and agriculture sectors to provide solutions will form a major part of the discussions.

Ultimately, the goal will be to reach a consensus that balances the needs of people, domestic animals, wildlife, biodiversity, and ecosystems through One Health approaches.

The Conclusions

Ultimately, the aim of the conference is to build back better, with Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life for all – leaving no one behind. The 46 Member Nations in Asia and the Pacific, as FAO’s regional Governing Body, will set in motion a two-year course of work for the FAO Regional Office and its technical specialists, through direction of a set of prioritized country and regional needs.