FAO Meeting to Focus on Food and Nutrition Challenges
A draft Global Action Plan (GAP) focused on food and nutrition challenges affecting Small Island Developing States (SIDS), will be addressed in a three-day Roundtable Technical meeting facilitated by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) on November 1-3, 2016, in Suva at the Grand Pacific Hotel.
Photo credit: FAO
FAO engaged with member states and regional stakeholders in a year-long process to formulate the draft Global Action Plan in close collaboration with SID member states, the United Nations, regional inter-government bodies, development partners and non-state actors, including non-governmental and civil society institutions and the private sector.

Up to 40 representatives from the agriculture and nutrition sectors of the three SIDS regions are expected to attend the three-day meeting to review and update the draft Global Action Plan.

The three SIDS regions are: Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS); the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

The Global Action Plan was developed as a direct response to the food and nutrition challenges that resulted from the Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives adopting the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (S.A.M.O.A) Pathway in September 2014. It was the recommendation of the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway that FAO facilitates a special meeting on food and nutrition security in SIDS to develop an action programme to address the food and nutrition challenges they face.

The draft Gobal Action Plan set as its aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture while supporting SIDS in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Specifically it responds to the food and nutrition challenges faced by SIDS, including:

  • Undernourishment - The most recent data of FAO indicates that many of the SIDS Islands have achieved undernourishment levels of less than 5 percent. These include Barbados, Cuba and Dominica in the Caribbean; Fiji, Samoa and Kiribati in the Pacific
  • Access to food - Poverty and unemployment are the main constraints of access to food in SIDS. The youth unemployment rate in most SIDS is higher than the average of the world, 58.7% in Haiti.
  • Food import dependence - In SIDS countries, food imports, as opposed to national food production, are by far the largest source of food. It is estimated that in 1990, approximately 45 percent of food available in the Caribbean was imported, that changed to 60 percent in 2011.
  • Food utilization - Food utilization in SIDS has been characterized by nutritionally poor food choices. A nutrition transition has taken place in most of these Islands contributing to an increased prevalence of chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Much of the imported food available is calorie-dense, high-fat, high-sweetener food.
  • Stability of food supply and access - Instability and vulnerability constantly undermine efforts to advance food and nutrition security in SIDS that are vulnerable to natural disasters, which adversely impact not only economic sectors (agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, industry and commerce), but also social sectors (housing stock and settlements, health, education and infrastructure), and food and nutrition security.

The meeting will recommend next steps to continue support and collaboration as it moves closer to a final document.
Copyright 2016 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs