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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Strengthened cooperation with Samoa

With a Permanent Representative in Brussels and a Rome-based delegate, more active participation at FAO is expected

FAO Director-General and the Samoan delegation.

4 December 2015, Rome - FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva and Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture, Le Mamea Ropati, celebrated the strengthening of the mutual relations as the first Permanent Representative of Samoa to FAO, Ambassador Fatumanava III Dr Pa’olelei Luteru, presented his credentials.

Following the ceremony on the sidelines of the 153rd session of the FAO Council, Ambassador Luteru, who is based in Brussels, appointed his Alternate Permanent Representative, Giovanni Caffarelli, as the first-ever FAO delegate from a Pacific Island country to be based in Rome.

“I welcome this historical decision of the Government of Samoa and encourage other Pacific countries to follow a similar initiative so they can increase their participation in the Organization”, said Graziano da Silva.

The relationship between FAO and the Pacific countries has built momentum since last June, when unprecedentedly all the Member Countries from the region attended the 39th session of the FAO Conference in Rome.  Minister Ropati chaired the session, marking the first time it was ever chaired by a Pacific representative.

Samoa is now the third Pacific island member to have a Permanent Representative to FAO – Fiji and Tonga formally cover FAO matters from Brussels and London, respectively.

FAO's Subregional Office for the Pacific islands was established in 1996 in Appia, Samoa, to coordinate the work of the Organization in the region.

Food security for Small Island Developing States

At the meeting, FAO Director-General presented the Minister a roadmap to implement an action plan for food security, nutrition and sustainable development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This covers areas such as sustainable agriculture, marine and coastal ecosystems, small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, freshwaters, forests and mangroves, and land management.

The plan is a joint initiative led by FAO in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA) and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the SIDS (OHRLLS).

Climate change impact on small island states

In remarks following the meeting, Samoa’s minister stressed the threat climate change poses for his country and other small island developing states. “A lot of our land is now lost because of the rising sea. Climate change also has a deep impact on a lot of our crops and things happening in the islands, but particularly it’s the erosion of the soil,” he said. “Our islands are getting smaller and smaller and a lot of our people are now moving inland, and in the flat coral islands there is nowhere to go, because there are no mountains,” he added.  

“The sea is very important to us, because our livelihoods depend on seafood and fish. A lot of corals have been damaged due to acidification of the sea caused by absorption of carbon dioxide, which kills the corals, a habitat for a lot of fish and other sea creatures, so it’s really important to us,” he stressed.