FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
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SIDS Solutions Forum coming soon

Improve agricultural practices by applying digital solutions
10/08/2021 Apia, SamoaPlanning for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Solutions Forum, scheduled for 30 – 31 August 2021, is underway. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has invited world leaders from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific, African, Indian Ocean and Caribbean, as well high-level participants from donor and SIDS friendly countries and heads of global organizations; many of whom will headline the forum.  Hundreds of public policy makers and practitioners, community leaders, farmers, entrepreneurs, private sector stakeholders are also invited to register. The challenges posed by COVID-19 are no secret, but they also present an opportunity for innovation and creativity in efforts to defeat hunger and malnutrition for all. This is where the SIDS Solutions Forum can play a leading role. The special case for a SIDS Solutions Forum While COVID-19 has impacted lives and livelihoods the world over, SIDS countries have been especially hit hard. Many economies that relied heavily on tourism were forced to close their borders, losing badly needed revenue. The SIDS Solutions Forum creates a space for government leaders, development partners, farmers, fishers, community development practitioners and leaders, entrepreneurs, women and youth to discuss, share, promote and encourage home-grown and imported solutions to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and several of those that pre-existing the pandemic. The ultimate goal is to accelerate the achievement of the agriculture; food and nutrition related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in SIDS. “Innovation and digitalization have, together, become an important driving force for rural and agri-food systems transformation. They’ve created new opportunities for farmers and rural people,” said Xiangjun Yao, FAO Coordinator of the Subregional Office, based in Samoa. “But our global food systems continue to face considerable challenges in being able to produce sufficient, safe, nutritious and healthy food in a sustainable manner to feed an ever-growing population. Small Island Developing States, or SIDS, in particular, share these challenges. “The good news is that digital technologies offer unique opportunities for improving food production and trade, especially to smallholder farmers, and can help to achieve food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation globally as well as for SIDS. That’s why this Forum is so important – it will provide an opportunity to learn from each other and regain momentum to reach the SGD targets by 2030,” Yao added. The Forum is being convened virtually by FAO in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The Government of Fiji is the co-host. Key speakers will be announced soon. ABOUT THE FORUM Why are innovations and digitalization so important to SIDS’ solutions? SIDS, in particular, share challenges such as frequent natural disasters, limited arable land, dependence on small-scale agriculture, and high-priced imports. The mobility of digital technologies are transforming agri-food systems, and while this is an important development for food systems everywhere, this mobility is of great importance to remote areas, such as SIDS. The spread of mobile technologies, remote-sensing services and distributed computing are already improving smallholders’ access to information, inputs and markets, increasing production and productivity, streamlining supply chains and reducing operational costs. In the real world, robotics together with artificial intelligence are examples of how digital innovation supports the farmer in the management of herds and crops while real-time information helps with water and soil needs. Digital innovation holds the potential to unlock employment opportunities, bridge the rural divide and empower youth and women to access information, technology and markets. Sharing these rapidly evolving digital innovations will accelerate progress toward achieving the SDGs in SIDS. It is within this context that the SIDS Solutions Forum will launch a knowledge exchange platform to incubate, promote, scale up and replicate locally grown ideas to accelerate the achievement of agriculture, food, nutrition, environment and health. To register for the forum please click here