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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Increasing support to Pacific island countries in the context of climate change

Oceans, fisheries and climate change focus talks with Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Meg Taylor, Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat Secretary General

17 January 2017, Rome – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today met Meg Taylor, Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat Secretary General, for talks that focused on sustainable fisheries, food security and nutrition and disaster risk reduction in the Pacific island countries in the context of climate change.

“Climate change is very much a priority for us in the region. It poses existential threats to population in the pacific islands. We also face food security issues and nutrition issues,” said Taylor in remarks following the meeting.

FAO, which is a strong advocate of the small island developing states (SIDS), provides technical knowledge and assistance in support of Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) through and in collaboration with the regional organizations, including PIF.

“I’m very impressed with the knowledge and the sincerity of the people I’ve meet with,” she added following a round of meetings and contacts with FAO officers and experts. “The FAO works with other organizations in the South Pacific community, such as the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency based in the Solomon Islands, and it had in the past very good relationship with the PIF Secretariat, which I head. After today, we would really like to renew the relationship with FAO to make sure there is transfer of knowledge particularly in the policy and technical side,” she added.

Oceans as a priority

FAO Director-General also expressed FAO’s willingness to assist Pacific Island countries (PICs) in implementing the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), a ground-breaking international accord aimed at stamping out illegal fishing.

Pacific parties to the agreement include Tonga, Vanuatu and Palau. Samoa is also a signatory but has still to accede to the agreement.

FAO has increased its political relationship with the Pacific, as four countries - Samoa, Fiji, Palau, and Vanuatu- have nominated Permanent Representatives to FAO from their Embassies in Brussels. Samoa has assigned a Deputy PermRep as the first delegate from the Pacific small island developing states who is based in Rome.

Watch Meg Taylor's remarks: