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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Director-General strengthens FAO’s commitment to small island developing states

High-level talks focus on food security, small-scale fisheries and nutrition in the SIDS

4 September 2014, Apia, Samoa - FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva has reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to address food and nutritional insecurity and sustainable livelihood programs in the Small Island Developing States in a series of high-level bilateral meetings on the margins of the SIDS Conference, held in Apia, Samoa.

During talks with heads of state, government leaders and other top officials, the FAO Director-General also stressed the need to tackle issues such as the high level of food imports by SIDS and the rising obesity rates in some island states.

In this context, Graziano da Silva renewed an invitation to the Ministers of Agriculture and other government leaders of the SIDS to take part in the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), to be held in Rome in November.

Another recurrent theme in the meetings was FAO’s technical expertise in small-scale fisheries, broadening opportunities for fishermen and local food production - including a feasibility study in seaweed farming - and finding the right balance with industrial fisheries. In particular, it was stressed how FAO’s Blue Growth Initiative assists SIDS to sustainably use their aquatic resources.

SIDS leaders welcomed FAO’s initiatives as they received a brochure highlighting some activities undertaken by the organization in the SIDS

“All of those activities are not isolated efforts, but are part of the strategic framework that guides FAO action as defined by our Members and that focuses on food security, sustainability, reducing rural poverty, improving markets and building resilience,” Graziano da Silva said.

The FAO Director-General  met the Presidents of Micronesia and Seychelles, the Prime Ministers of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Barbados, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Mauritius; the Ministers of Agriculture of Samoa and Tonga; the Ministers of Environment of Dominica, Nauru and Palau and representatives from Papua New Guinea and Marshall Islands, as well as the Secretary-General of CARICOM and the Director-General of the Organization of the East Caribbean States (OECS).