Partnerships and synergies that will bring out the best in agencies dealing with food security issues was the focus of a workshop which was carried out at the Secretariat of the Pacific (SPC) in Suva, Fiji.

In his statement to the participants, SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers said that this approach would allow stakeholders to deliver the optimum results to address food security issues for Pacific Island countries and territories.

The participants at the two-day workshop were members of a multi agency Food Secure Pacific Working Group that will develop a joint implementation workplan based on the Food Security Regional Framework that was endorsed by Pacific Island Forum leaders at their meeting in August, 2010 in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

The Framework highlighted seven key areas of focus:

* leadership and cooperation;
* regulatory frameworks, enforcement and compliance, and public-private sector collaboration;
* enhanced and sustainable production, processing and trading of safe and nutritious local food;
* protection of infants and vulnerable groups;
* consumer empowerment and mobilising partners;
* food security information systems;
* land, transport, energy, education and ICT as enabling mechanisms.

'Let me also say that the Framework clearly articulates two levels of intervention, the national level and the regional level. Regional level interventions should be based on national level priorities and add value to national development outcomes. In this regard, the implementation plan we are developing should focus only on the regional interventions that enhance national level implementation of the Framework. The plan should also be fully costed so that it can provide the basis for seeking development partner assistance,' Dr Rodgers said.

'In this way we avoid the sensitive issues of where the funds go and who controls the money, and focus instead on strengthening synergies in implementation,' he added.

Dr Rodgers said collaboration and working together are vital in ensuring success.

'Over the past few months we have all worked together on a mapping exercise to establish what each of our agencies does to contribute to each of the seven key areas of the Framework.'

This work, coordinated by SPC, has resulted in a matrix that will be part of discussions in the two-day workshop.
'I hope we will further refine this matrix to feed into the ultimate implementation plan we develop.' Dr Rodgers said.