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Press Release 99/12

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES PLEDGES TO HELP FOSTER DEVELOPMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO SECURE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY IN THE ISLAND STATES


Rome, 12 March --- Countries attending the Special Ministerial Conference on Agriculture in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today, have adopted a declaration pledging "to support the sustainable development in small island developing states "and to address their particular needs."

The declaration said, "Reaffirming our common determination and strong commitment, expressed during the World Food Summit, we pledge to pursue our efforts towards the achievement of food security and to implement development policies and programmes which secure the sustainability of agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors in small island developing states."

The declaration also recognized "the important role played by FAO in assisting Small Island Developing States in the development of national capacity through FAO's complementary normative and field programs in agriculture, forestry and fisheries."

The Conference considered a draft Plan of Action on Agriculture in Small Island Developing States, which is an umbrella program aimed at helping some 30* SIDS countries and four low-lying coastal states,** "as the basis for further consideration by appropriate bodies of FAO and other relevant bodies of the United Nations system."

The draft Plan of Action would help implement programs focusing on five major areas: agricultural trade; intensification and diversification of  agriculture; meeting fisheries needs; sustainable management of land, water and forestry resources and environmental protection; and, strengthening national institutions.

The Special Ministerial Conference called on FAO to finalize the draft Plan of Action in consultation with its member countries and submit it to the FAO Council, the Organization's interim-governing body, in June. The Conference also requested FAO to submit the plan, once adopted, as FAO's contribution to the UN General Assembly Special Session on SIDS, meeting in New York in September 1999.

* * * * *

*Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cook Islands, Cuba, Cyprus, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu.

**Belize, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana and Suriname.

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Please visit the special Small Island Developing States Web Site at: http://www.fao.org/sids

For further information contact:

John Riddle
Telephone: (00 39) 06 5705 3259 or,
Cell Phone (00 39) 0 348 - 23 41 145 (The zero is dropped when dialing from outside Italy)
E-mail: john.riddle@fao.org


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