FAO requires renewed digital push in Small Island Developing States battered by COVID-19

FAO requires renewed digital push in Small Island Developing States battered by COVID-19

QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General; Josaia V. Bainimarama, Fiji’s Prime Minister; Abdulla Shahid, President, 76th Session of the UN General Assembly Innovation within the SIDS; Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator; Walton Webson, Chair of AOSIS; Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General; Taneti Maamau, President of Kiribati; David Kabua, President of the Republic of Marshall Islands; Surangel S. Whipps Jr., President of the Republic of Palau; Mark Brown, Prime Minister of Cook Islands; Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, Prime Minister of Samoa. SIDS Solutions Forum, 30-31 August 2021.

31/08/2021 Rome/Suva

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, at the moment known as on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to foster the facility of innovation and digitalization to speed up the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), significantly SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (No starvation) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities).

Qu spoke on the opening of the two-day digital SIDS Solutions Forum (30-31 August), co-hosted by FAO and the Government of Fiji. Heads of State and Government from 9 Pacific Island international locations attended or have been represented on the high-level occasion, in addition to authorities ministers holding key portfolios associated to agriculture, meals, diet, surroundings, well being, and data and communications expertise. African and Caribbean nations have been additionally represented.

FAO is dedicated to constructing a world free from starvation and malnutrition, “the place nobody is left behind no matter land dimension, inhabitants and geographic location,” Qu stated in an deal with to the opening session. Today’s assembly is an “instance of how innovation and digitalization convey alternatives within the face of challenges.”

 “Advances in digital innovation have seen the huge oceans that separate us give option to huge potentialities. Alone, we’re small islands. Together, we’re one related continent sure by a spirit of progressive resilience,” stated Josaia V. Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji. “Our 39 states, from the South Pacific, to the Caribbean, to the Indian Ocean, are house to unimaginable minds, innovative innovation and deep conventional information.” 

The President of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Maldives, delivered the Forum’s keynote speech, noting it was the primary of its sort and was going down throughout difficult instances.

“The SIDS Solutions Forum is exclusive. In the midst of a world pandemic, the digital nature of the convention advantages SIDS throughout the globe which were badly affected by geographical isolation, journey restrictions and border lockdowns,” stated Shahid. “The improvements, options and concepts to be shared at this discussion board ought to assist SIDS to leapfrog via expanded digitalization and improvements to speed up the achievement of the agriculture, meals and diet associated SDGs.”  

The particular case for a SIDS Solutions Forum

Dotted throughout the globe, small in dimension and inhabitants, greater than three-dozen Small Island Developing States have been badly affected by COVID-19 on a lot of fronts – health-wise, nutritionally and economically. SIDS within the Pacific have been hit particularly exhausting due to their reliance on tourism, with the closure of borders ensuing within the lack of essential income.

Even earlier than COVID-19 battered their economies, Pacific SIDS have been already coping with different challenges resembling frequent pure disasters, the consequences of local weather change, restricted arable land, dependence on small-scale agriculture, high-priced imports, and a excessive prevalence of non-communicable ailments, resembling coronary heart illness and Type 2 Diabetes. All of those points have hampered their progress towards reaching the 2030 SDG targets.

The SIDS Solutions Forum has created an area for presidency leaders, improvement companions, farmers, fishers, group improvement practitioners and leaders, entrepreneurs, girls and youth to debate, share, promote and encourage homegrown and imported options to reply to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and several other of people who pre-existed the pandemic. The final objective is to speed up the achievement of agriculture, meals and nutrition-related SDGs.

The two-day digital summit, which passed off forward of the United Nations General Assembly in September in New York, was organized in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It was additionally attended by representatives from the non-public sector, civil society, UN organizations, worldwide and regional improvement companies, inter-governmental entities and others, making this a very world occasion. The goal of the SIDS Solutions Forum was to look at workable and replicable options that may result in higher manufacturing, higher diet, a greater surroundings and a greater life for the individuals of SIDS in all places.

Digitalization and innovation – a brand new platform for SIDS to share information and options

Digital applied sciences are reworking agri-food techniques. While this is a crucial improvement in all places, it’s of nice significance to distant areas resembling SIDS. The growth of cell applied sciences, remote-sensing providers and distributed computing are already bettering smallholders’ entry to data, inputs and markets, rising manufacturing and productiveness, streamlining provide chains, decreasing operational prices, and consequently enabling farmers to achieve extra economically

Robotics and synthetic intelligence are examples of how digital innovation helps farmers within the administration of herds and crops. While presently SIDS might discover themselves distant from these superior applied sciences, they could be concerned with studying about such developments. Digital innovation holds the potential to unlock employment alternatives, bridge the agricultural divide and empower youth and girls to entry data, expertise and markets. Sharing these quickly evolving digital improvements will even speed up progress towards reaching the SDGs in SIDS.

To this impact, the FAO Director-General launched the SIDS Solutions Platform in the course of the opening session of the Forum. The platform will enable SIDS to share the various options and improvements which might be both homegrown or generated from related conditions elsewhere and which have the potential to be scaled up.

Such a software ought to assist SIDS “improve the advantages of digital agriculture and leapfrog by studying from their friends, whereas addressing potential considerations,” Qu stated. “We want science, expertise and innovation for the transformation to extra environment friendly, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food techniques.”

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