Some 40 countries of the Asia-Pacific region have called for increased action in the area of agriculture to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a focus tackling the effects of climate change.
A Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Nadi, Fiji brought together governments, technical officials, and industry members who emphasised the importance of the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework in guiding future actions for agriculture, food security and nutrition in the face of climate change.
“To win the fight against hunger, we must address climate change,” said FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva. “I am grateful the conference has recognized that we must promote the adaptation of agriculture to climate change, especially in relation to poor family farmers, fisher folks and pastoralists.”
Graziano da Silva pointed out that, in order to achieve this, developing countries in particular must take advantage of available international funding bodies such as the Green Climate Fund to promote adaptation measures.
The FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific is convened every two years to seek guidance from Member Nations on FAO’s program of work for the next two years.
This year, member countries supported FAO’s efforts to help family farmers build more resilience against climate change and to improve statistics that can guide policies and actions.
One of the primary objectives of the conference was to look into how to reduce the contribution of agriculture to greenhouse emissions, and to integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation into strategies for agriculture and rural development.
The conference was hosted by the Government of Fiji, a small island state that has acutely felt the impacts of climate change.
Changing weather extremes threaten the livelihoods of the Fijian people—implicating the island’s ecosystems. Saltwater intrusion from coastal flooding destroys farmland, disrupting the supply of staples in the Fijian economy and forcing communities to migrate to safer ground.
The member countries of the 34th Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific also put out a call for action to make progress on the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda, including the improvement of nutrition and the eradication of all forms of hunger.
Director-General Graziano da Silva, had earlier called upon the FAO Member Nations of Asia-Pacific to step up their actions in the fight against hunger, given that the region still has 490 million hungry people in their midst, “more than any other region,” he said.
“It is encouraging to see that the conference has agreed that we need to bring about sustainable intensification of agriculture in order to feed the region’s growing populations,” said the FAO Director-General.
More work and stronger partnerships are necessary if the region – indeed the world – is to meet the 2030 Agenda of achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 13, taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.