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Healthy foods are clear priority for Small Island Developing States

FAO Director-General emphasizes commitment to SAMOA pathway to support vulnerable nations

27 September 2019, New York - Food security and nutrition must be a priority in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which can count on FAO's support in taking "better coordinated and more coherent actions" towards that goal, Director-General Qu Dongyu said on Friday.

Climate change, vulnerability, resilience, disaster risk reduction, isolation, insufficient land resources and dietary changes that favour obesity, are all particular challenges for SIDS, he said at a high-level meeting to review progress along the "SAMOA Pathway", which stands for a broader SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action framework.

Working together is imperative as "there is much to do," Qu said. He called for stepping up efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to accelerate implementation of the SAMOA Pathway.

He pointed to ongoing FAO initiatives such as the Global Action Programme on Food Security and Nutrition in SIDS, and regional efforts in the Pacific and Caribbean regions, as well as work with local partners to reduce illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

FAO is also committed to further bolstering North-South and South-South cooperation, the Director-General said, highlighting how the Organization's new Hand-in-Hand Initiative will benefit more-vulnerable SIDS with better-targeted investments.

According to FAO's 2019 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, the prevalence of undernourishment - or hunger - is around 17.5 percent in SIDS, compared to a 10.7 percent global average. Adult obesity is also around 60 percent higher than for the world as a whole.

The SAMOA Pathway was established in 2014 and lasts through 2042, with more than 300 multi-stakeholder partnerships announced so far. The high-level review was aimed at leveraging the strongest synergies with broader agendas including the Sustainable Development Goals and the pursuit of climate solutions.

Photo: ©FAO/Roberto Schmidt
FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu.