The Cook Islands has joined in a call for global action to make agrifood systems more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable.
The call was made ahead of the 43rd biennial Ministerial
Conference for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
(FAO) in Rome, where Cook Islands Ministry of Agriculture Secretary Temarama
Anguna-Kamana is representing the county.
The conference – which began on Saturday and runs until
Friday – was proceeded by a gathering of Small Island Developing States, Least
Developed Countries, and Landlocked Developing Countries.
Discussions surrounded "harnessing the potential"
of the nations most affected by climate change to achieve the United Nations'
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the FAO said in a statement.
The nations "urge the world to join them in taking
urgent action to help island states transform their agrifood systems, to mitigate
the negative effects of climate change and resolve nutritional deficiencies
faced by their island inhabitants," the FAO said.
Agrifood refers to the agricultural food chain.
"The pressing issue of climate change took centre
stage, as the participants explored ways to transform agrifood systems in
response to a changing climate.
"The Pacific Island countries, well aware of the
increasing incidences and intensity of extreme weather events, presented
innovative practices, methodologies, and technologies to adapt and mitigate the
adverse effects of climate change."
As well as the Cook Islands, representatives from Fiji,
Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Tonga took
part in the high-level ministerial meeting.
"Despite the modest size of these countries, their
voices hold great significance in the global discussions on agrifood
systems," the FAO said.
"The Pacific Island countries have faced more than
their fair share of challenges, particularly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic
and increasingly devastating weather-related events.
"They have experienced rising prices and disruptions to
their agrifood systems, highlighting the need for their voices to be heard and
their specific challenges to be addressed in the global dialogue."
FAO Pacific Islands subregional coordinator Xiangjun Yao
said Pacific voices were "frequently marginalized in global dialogues and
"The voices and perspectives of the Pacific Islands
carry significant worth and should be integrated into the global
discourse," Yao said.
"By actively engaging in events such as this high-level
meeting, we can bridge this gap and strive to address their unique challenges
and foster inclusive and sustainable agrifood systems for all.”
FAO said it also worked closely with Pacific nations through
programmes such as the SIDS Solutions Platform, the Hand-in-Hand Initiative,
One Country One Priority Product (OCOP), and Digital Village Initiatives (DVI)
to "support their efforts in transforming their agrifood systems, building
resilience, and achieving the 2030 Agenda".