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Action needed to help small islands meet Millennium Development Goals
Summit endorses sustainable food security to promote island resilience
24 November 2005, Rome – Seven Heads of State and Government and some 60 Agriculture Ministers and government officials representing 30 countries today issued a declaration in support of Small Island Developing States. The Rome Declaration considered the development of agriculture, forestry and fisheries to be of “vital importance” for national economic growth, social stability, environmental resilience and the elimination of poverty, hunger and malnutrition in SIDS. Following a one-day Summit at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the leaders expressed their strong belief that SIDS have a right to receive “special and differential treatment.”

The leaders called for the sixth WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong to pay greater attention to the “special needs and specificities of small states.” They said the increasing erosion of preferences, the rush to introduce high tariff reductions, and the inadequate support to domestic supply response and adjustment capacity were critical concerns for SIDS. The leaders said unless these concerns were adequately addressed, it would be difficult for SIDS to engage in any significant trade liberalization processes.

SIDS voice concern over Europe’s plan to reduce sugar prices

All the Heads of State, Ministers and senior officials present, both from sugar and non-sugar producing countries, were unified in their concern about the proposal of the European Commission to reduce the price of sugar that SIDS currently receive, which would devastate their economies and livelihoods. They also appealed for solidarity among producers and non-producers of sugar and stressed the critical situation in St. Kitts and Nevis. The consensus of the meeting was that there must be a lower cut in the price of sugar than currently proposed and that the overall cut must be phased in over a longer period of time. In addition, recognizing the support extended to EU farmers and processors, they called for comparable financial support to help SIDS adjust to the challenges facing their small economies.

The leaders noted that climate change, including more frequent extreme weather events and the long-term rise of sea-levels, has a serious impact on agriculture and SIDS survival, especially in Pacific atolls and low-lying coastal countries. They also expressed the need for continued and expanded support for institutions that assist SIDS to cope with climate change. They urged FAO to assist in building capacity to help SIDS adapt to threats, including capacity to analyze and anticipate problems and plan and manage production system models that can resist severe weather.

Need to strengthen food security programmes seen

The Rome Declaration underlined “the necessity of achieving greater socio-economic resilience, given the particular vulnerability of SIDS to climate change, frequent extreme weather events and external economic shocks that cause instability in food production and trade and can affect poverty reduction strategies, food import dependency, nutrition-related diseases and environmental degradation.” It called for strengthening food security programmes through actions aimed at enhancing capacities that would position these countries to handle better the range of daunting challenges they face today and to sustain food security in the long term. The Declaration also called for increased coherence between trade policy and national development policies.

The leaders drew attention to the need to revitalize the traditional and indigenous food systems and to promote responsible fisheries and sustainable forest management to increase economic, social and environmental resilience.

Food Security Programmes for Indian Ocean and East Atlantic SIDS supported

The leaders endeavored to address the linkages of the agricultural sector with other economic sectors, especially tourism, and committed themselves to integrating food security objectives into SIDS national poverty reduction strategies and sustainable development plans. They urged the acceleration and expansion of regional special programmes in both the Caribbean and Pacific states. They also endorsed the proposal to establish a Regional Programme for Food Security for Indian Ocean and East Atlantic SIDS.

The leaders emphasized the increasing vulnerability of SIDS to climate change and trade liberalization. They invited the international community to strengthen its partnership with SIDS and to invest in sustainable food security, nutrition and livelihood programmes. These programmes should build upon and extend the co-operation of SIDS with FAO and other partners.

Contact:
John Riddle
Information Officer, FAO
John.Riddle@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 53259

Contact:

John Riddle
Information Officer, FAO
john.riddle@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 53259
(+39) 348 257 2921

FAO/I. Balderi

FAO Summit highlights special needs of small island developing states

Audio

Director-General Jacques Diouf reiterated FAO's support for more integrated agricultural programmes in SIDS (real)

Broadcast quality (mp3)

CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington discusses trade-related issues affecting SIDS (real)

Broadcast quality (mp3)

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Action needed to help small islands meet Millennium Development Goals
Summit endorses sustainable food security to promote island resilience
24 November 2005 – Seven Heads of State and Government and some 60 Agriculture Ministers and government officials representing 30 countries today issued a declaration in support of Small Island Developing States.
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