REGIONAL co-operation and support was critical to helping Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) face complex challenges like food security, climate change, urbanisation and rising sea levels.
This was the message from the Minister for Primary Industries Joketani Cokanasiga to ministers and heads of Agriculture and Forestry from 19 PICTs that attended the third Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry regional meeting in Nadi on Friday.
"The challenge on all of us is how we can manage the threats from rising food security imported food prices and shrinking food production, from climate change and the threat that rising sea temperatures and sea levels pose to our forest resource and food production systems," Mr Cokanasiga said.
"And from urbanisation, the challenges that poses to the management of our agriculture and forestry resources and the health of our populations," he said.
Mr Cokanasiga lauded the strong regional leadership role played by the Secretariat for Pacific Communities in facilitating the required co-ordination and providing much needed capacity building in the region.
"Therefore, we, the Pacific, should appreciate and support the SPC so that it continues to play a leading role and continues to be at the forefront of cutting edge research into agriculture and forestry issues in the Pacific," he said.
SPC director general Jimmie Rodgers said while the regional organisation was focussed on ensuring development of PICTs, it was important that resources were sustainably managed.
"It is important so that sustainable contributions to food and nutrition security remains key for all PICTs in such a way that they promote sustainable livelihoods," Mr Rodgers said in his address at the meeting yesterday morning.
Among key issues Mr Rodgers discussed at the MOAF meeting were food and nutrition security and the importance of indigenous knowledge on agriculture and forestry.