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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Director-General hails “historic” participation by all Pacific island states in FAO Conference

Graziano da Silva sets priorities with the heads of delegation from the region

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva meeting with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) countries, Fao headquarters

7 June 2015, Rome – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today praised the first ever participation by representatives from all 13 Pacific island countries at a meeting of FAO’s governing Conference.

“I would like to convey my gratitude for this historic participation, which is a clear demonstration of the engagement of your countries in the work of FAO,” Graziano da Silva said.

He made the remarks during a meeting with the heads of delegation from the 13 Pacific island states  - the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu - who are attending the 39th  FAO Conference being held this week in Rome.

Graziano da Silva also noted the setting of another precedent in FAO’s history, with the Conference chaired by a representative from the Pacific - a role played by the Minister of Agriculture of Samoa, Le Mamea Ropati.

Today’s meeting offered an opportunity for representatives of the 13 Pacific island states to explore how to improve communications and other exchanges with FAO. Proposals discussed included the extension of FAO’s work to cover the Northern islands, an additional seat for the region at the FAO Council, and the accreditation of officials based in Brussels or New York as Permanent Representatives to FAO.

Graziano da Silva underlined FAO’s priorities for the region, in particular building resilience to tackle the impact of global warming, with special emphasis on the newly established Trust Fund for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on Climate Change.

The Director-General also highlighted that direct communication between FAO and all island states should continue, as more substantive issues could be discussed at the next session of the FAO Conference scheduled for 2017.

The representatives from the Pacific island states warmly congratulated Graziano da Silvia on his re-election for the top FAO post, and assured him of their countries’ support for his efforts during his next four years in office.

“We, from the Pacific islands, are proud to have you as the re-elected Director-General and look forward to continuing the work with you during your second term,” said Minister Le Mamea Ropati.

High Level Panel on FAO and SIDS

On Saturday the Pacific island states representatives joined the discussions of the High Level Panel on FAO and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), a side event to the Conference that focused on the mandate of FAO in the context of the food security and climate change challenges facing the region.

“A global effort against climate change is essential for the development of small island states as it is perhaps the most dramatic issue faced by them. Climate change is a life-changer, it is at the top of the international agenda and it is central to sustainable development,” Graziano da Silva said.