8/03/2023, Nadi/Apia – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This will enhance their collaboration in promoting sustainable natural resources utilisation and management, biodiversity mainstreaming, ecosystem services, environmental planning and assessment and environmental protection and rehabilitation for transforming agrifood systems to be more resilient, efficient and inclusive in the Pacific region. The MOU was signed by FAO Deputy Director-General, Laurent Thomas, and SPREP Director-General, Sefanaia Nawadra, during a ceremony held on 8 March 2023 in Nadi, Fiji.
Through this MOU, the two organisations will work closely together to address the common challenges and opportunities facing the Pacific region, including climate change, natural resource management, food security and nutrition, and sustainable livelihoods. FAO and SPREP will also promote knowledge-sharing, capacity development, and joint programming to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other regional and international agreements.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Thomas, said:
"Recognising multiple challenges that the Pacific Island countries face, including the still ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and increase in prices of food, feed, fuel, and fertiliser and difficult access to finance – known collectively as the 5F crisis, FAO is committed to supporting Pacific countries in achieving their sustainable development goals, particularly in the areas of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. This MOU with SPREP is an important step towards strengthening our partnership and enhancing our collective efforts to address the challenges facing the region. Together, we can build more sustainable and resilient food systems and contribute to a more sustainable future for all."
SPREP Director-General, Nawadra, added:
"The Pacific region is home to some of the world's most diverse and fragile ecosystems, as well as some of the most vulnerable communities. SPREP as the premier regional environment agency is committed to working with our partners to address environmental and developmental challenges as well as the impacts of climate change facing our region, and to promote sustainable and resilient development pathways. This MOU with FAO is an important milestone in our partnership, and we look forward to working together to achieve our shared goals for a resilient Blue Pacific. For SPREP, this signing is also important as we commemorate 30 years since SPREP was formally established in 1993."
Under the MOU, FAO and SPREP will collaborate on a range of activities, including policy and technical advice, capacity development, knowledge-sharing, and joint programming. The two organisations will also explore opportunities to leverage funding and resources from other partners to support their joint initiatives.
Present at the ceremony were Honorable Dickson Panakitasi Mua, Minister of Forest and Research, Dr Vaeno Vigulu, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Forestry and Research and Lottie Vaisekavea, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of in Solomon Islands, a trusted Member Nation and partner for both FAO and SPREP. While witnessing the signing, Hon Mua noted:
“We are excited to see FAO and SPREP working together to address the common challenges facing the Pacific region, including climate change and food security. As a member country of both organisations, we look forward to benefiting from their joint efforts and supporting their initiatives to build more resilient food systems and sustainable environment for development.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO’s goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is the regional organisation established by the Governments and Administrations of the Pacific charged with protecting and managing the environment and natural resources of the Pacific.