Solomon Islands is calling on industrialized countries to take greater global action to reduce the impacts of climate change.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) Ethel Frances made the call during the Thirty-fifth Asia and Pacific Regional Conference (APRC 35th) of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that convened virtually from 1st-4th September 2020.

The Permanent Secretary delivered the Country Statement on Thursday 3rd September on behalf of the Minister of MAL who was not able to attend due to other official commitment.

Bringing the issue of climate change to the forefront of the APRC 35th ministerial meeting, PS Frances said the severity that climate change has on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Solomon Islands and other SIDS requires joint effort from global leaders.

“…our countries are now experiencing increased incidents and intensity of natural disasters destroying our people’s livelihood, loss of many lives and destroying our ability to grow our economies.

“If no drastic measures are taken by our industrialised developed countries our Small Islands States will continue to live with these ugly impacts and bear the costs of adaptation and lag behind in delivering our SDG goals,” Ms Frances said.

“Solomon Islands therefore calls on FAO to advocate aggressively for greater global actions to reduce impacts and call on developed countries with high fossil fuel consumption to support our countries adaptation efforts.”

PS Frances also used the opportunity and calls on FAO to continue strengthen the resilience of food systems and to continue to recognise importance of enhanced climate action in the agriculture sector as core elements in its Nationally Determined Contributions and implementation plans under the 2030 Agenda.

"Suffice to say that effective implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures depends very much on availability of financial and technical resources in a timely manner.

“The growing rate of malnutrition, obesity and overweight in the region is a grave concern.

“The top ten countries with high incidents are all from the Pacific Islands. Our National Hospital records three to six deaths every single day related to non-communicable disease. Solomon Islands therefore call on FAO to do more in supporting our region cope.

“Solomon Islands is tracking behind in attaining its Sustainable Development Goals on ending poverty, zero hunger, and access to clean water and sanitation plus others and the current impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will retract any moderate progress made over the years and we fear worsening of situation in the years ahead.

“Solomon Islands faced many challenges in ensuring sustainable food supply for our growing population because of our remoteness and geographical isolations, vulnerability to natural disasters, a fast growing population and excessive dependence on international trade and support.

“These existing challenges are augmented by increase in spread of pests and diseases,” the Permanent Secretary emphasized.

Solomon Islands delegates who attended the zoom (virtual) conference held at the ICTSU facility comprised of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ethel Frances, Undersecretary Technical (Acting), Michael Ho’ota, David Fatai and Rosalie Masu from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and FAO country Representatives, Jimi Saelea and Nichol Nonga.

The APRC35 was hosted virtually by the Royal Government of Bhutan.

Representatives from 46 countries participated in the virtual conference on examining the present situation of the region's food security, with heavy emphasis on implications linked to the spread of the Covid-19 and its impact on food systems region-wide.

More than 400 delegates from the Asia-Pacific region participated in the meeting, including representatives from the private sector, civil society, academia and technical experts in the food and agriculture sectors.

The Regional conference, which takes place every two years, is an official forum where Ministers of Agriculture and other high officials from member states in the Asia-Pacific region meet to debate challenges related to food security and agriculture promoting regional coherence.

The meeting provide recommendations and further guidance to FAO’s global conference on FAO’s work in the vast Asia-Pacific region.

Source: Press Release