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Climate change to top Pacific leaders' agenda at FAO meeting in Rome

Discussion comes ahead of visit to Bonn for UN Climate Change Summit

9 November 2017, Rome - Leaders of several states in the Pacific and other top officials from the region will gather at FAO in Rome on 10 November to discuss their region's food security and nutrition challenges, the impact of climate change, disaster risk reduction and the building of resilient livelihoods.

The high-level meeting to be chaired by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva will take place ahead of the Pacific leaders' participation at the UN Climate Conference COP23 in Bonn. While in Rome, the Pacific leaders will also meet Pope Francis and the Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

Like many other people living in Small Island Developing States, Pacific islanders' lives are severely affected by the impacts of climate change and frequent natural disasters. At the same time many also face chronic malnutrition and other problems associated with poor diets including rising obesity. Poor diets, in turn, are influenced by existing food systems that determine availability, affordability, convenience and desirability of various foods across the regions.

Pacific states also face other threats to their food security and nutrition stemming from factors such as rapid urban population growth, land degradation and decreasing food production, erosion of crop genetic diversity, coastal and coral degradation and declining productivity of fisheries. These problems are often compounded by breakdowns in traditional social safety nets.

Participants of the High-level Pacific leaders' meeting with FAO include:

  • José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO
  • Taneti Maamau, President, Republic of Kiribati
  • Baron Waqa, President, Republic of Nauru
  • Hilda Heine, President, Republic of Marshall Islands
  • Yosiwo P. George, Vice President, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Henry Puna, Prime Minister, Cook Islands
  • Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas, Prime Minister, Republic of Vanuatu
  • Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Deputy Prime Minister, Samoa
  • Joshua Kalinoe, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea
  • James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change, New Zealand
  • Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples, New Zealand
  • Édouard Fritch, President, French Polynesia
  • Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General, Secretariat of the Pacific Community
  • Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary-General, Pacific Islands Forum
  • James Movick, Director-General, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency

Photo: ©FAO/Sue Price
Pacific states are severely affected by the impacts of climate change and frequent natural disasters.

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