Philippine experts to help Pacific Islands improve access to food
New South-South Cooperation agreement signed
23 February 2005, Rome - The Philippines will send 28 experts and technicians to six Pacific Island countries, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said yesterday at the signing ceremony of a new South-South Cooperation agreement.
FAO's South-South Cooperation Programme is a global initiative that aims to strengthen cooperation among developing countries at different stages of development to improve agricultural productivity and ensure access to food for all.
The initiative is part of a broader programme, the Regional Programme for Food Security in the Pacific to which the Government of Italy has committed US$4.5 million.
"The Pacific Islands' constraints are in particular their smallness, remoteness, geographic dispersion and vulnerability to natural hazards. They also depend heavily on external economic factors such as changes in the global trading environment," said Henri Carsalade, FAO Assistant Director-General, Technical Cooperation Department, during a signing ceremony at FAO headquarters in Rome.
"The project will help participating Pacific Island countries to adjust to changes in the international trade environment and to improve household food security through income generating activities," he said.
The Philippines will provide technical support for community-based microprojects to six island nations in the Pacific Islands Forum, namely: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
"It is an honour for our country to provide technical expertise to the Pacific," said H.E. Phillipe Lhuillier, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines. "The Philippines will also benefit from the exchange of technical information and we thank the Government of Italy for its financial support to the Regional Programme for Food Security," he said.
The Philippines will provide four experts in the fields of Water Control, Crop Production, Animal Diversification and Artisanal Fisheries/Aquaculture who will be based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, for a period of two years. Four technicians, qualified in various areas of expertise will be fielded to each of the six island nations, resulting in a total of 24 technicians for the same period.
Under a separate agreement, the People's Republic of China is providing assistance to the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Nauru, Niue, Tonga, Vanuatu and Samoa.
The South-South Cooperation Programme is part of FAO's Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) designed to improve lives in some of the world's poorest countries by rapidly increasing food production, improving people's access to food and reducing their vulnerability to climatic events such as drought and floods.
Today, the SPFS is present in more than 100 countries, and the South-South Cooperation Programme is being implemented in 31 countries, with over 700 experts and technicians currently working in farming communities.
Information Officer, FAO
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