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Fiji partners with FAO and the European Union to build resilient and food secure communities 1

Flooded land in Fiji. Like the other Pacific Islands, Fiji is vulnerable to cyclones and other extreme weather events.

18 April 2018, Nadi, Fiji – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Fiji have agreed to collaborate on a project to strengthen the resilience of communities vulnerable to extreme weather events and climate change.

The agreement on ‘Strengthening climate resilience of communities for food and nutrition security’ was signed on the side lines of last week’s FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, in Nadi by the Fiji Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Development and Meteorological Services, Inia Seruiratu, and FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, in the presence of Sujiro Seam, Ambassador of France to Fiji.

Ambassador Seam, speaking on behalf of the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, said: “This project, funded by the European Union, is another concrete commitment to help Fiji in its efforts to build resilience to climate change driven disasters. The Ministry of Agriculture will benefit from, and contribute to, the mobilization of FAO expertise. This support will help the authorities to further engage with farmer communities whose livelihoods have been threatened in these last weeks by flooding. Soon the same farmers might be confronted by drought. It is therefore essential to promote mitigation techniques that can reduce this vulnerability.”

Graziano da Silva said: ”Climate change threatens countries’ abilities to ensure food security, eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.  With the frequent destructive weather events affecting Fiji, it is the hope of FAO that this project will strengthen the agro-ecological and social resilience of vulnerable communities in Fiji from extreme weather conditions.”

The Director-General noted that the European Union is one of FAO’s main partners and both organizations have a long-standing collaboration for improving food security and nutrition in the Asia-Pacific region.  FAO and the European Union have been providing policy and technical assistance support to Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu through the FAO-EU Partnership Programme; FIRST policy assistance facility.

Minister Inia Seruiratu said: “We are doing our best in terms of our mitigation message to lower green-house gas emissions and, at the same time, we are advocating on it particularly for adaptation and resilience. It’s not only in the terms of infrastructure and human capacity development but most importantly building resilience in the agriculture sector”.

The Minister added that Fiji values such partnerships, and the technical assistance that will be provided by FAO, and thanked the European Union for its commitment and leadership in the fight against Climate Change.

FAO’s Fiji Country Office will work with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that farmers and communities will benefit from climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive agriculture programmes such as training in water harvesting, irrigation and food processing.

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