Preparing for and responding to natural disasters as they affect access to food for millions of people in the Pacific Islands, is one of the major themes that was discussed at the first-ever meeting of the Regional Pacific Food Security Cluster in Nadi, Fiji this week.
The meeting of some 50 representatives from governments, non-governmental and UN organizations, was jointly hosted by Food Security Cluster co-lead Coordinators: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The three-day event, which concluded today, was designed to foster collaboration, coordination and the sharing of ideas and experiences amongst members. The Cluster supports the work of in-country food security coordination bodies that include Government and Non-Government actors from six regional pacific countries: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
““The South Pacific region is among the most vulnerable to the threat posed by natural disasters,” said Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Jitendra Singh, who also attended the forum as chief guest. “In the past few years there have been two category five cyclones, Pam and Winston, as well as the El Niño drought, which were devastating for our region. Food Security Clusters across the Pacific region have coordinated the efforts of partners across the spectrum and have been instrumental in leading assessments to measure the impacts of these events and to inform action. We know there are already coordination gaps at the country level and these gaps become even more pronounced at the regional level. By bringing together Fijians and other Pacific Islanders to discuss the need for better and more productive food security coordination in this event, the Regional Cluster is also opening up opportunities for learning that surpasses country boundaries and that, strategically, provides Pacific Island Nations with a platform and a forum to discuss, network, and raise visibility for their work in the food security sector.”