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China, the Silk Road also points to small island states

With the FAO, $5 million to support agri-food systems. In strategic territories

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a new $5 million project supported by the FAO-China South-South Cooperation (SSC) program to help small island developing states (Sids) to strengthen their capabilities and face common development challenges. The reference is to countries of the Caribbean archipelago (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic), of the Indian Ocean (Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius), of the Pacific Ocean (Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian archipelagos), without excluding Singapore. De facto slowed down in plans to expand the Silk Road to the West, China is now aiming to forge ties with this myriad of islands, often located in strategic positions. It is hoped that the economic aid will not turn into blackmail to also expand Chinese military influence.

The project, announced at the Fourth Sids Solutions Dialogue held yesterday in Geneva, covers an initial period of three years, from 2022 to 2025, and will focus on areas such as innovation, digitization and knowledge exchange to assist Sids in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in the Samoa path.

“The message that resonated loudest during today's dialogue is the urgent need for investment in capacity building, adaptation strategies and increased support to transform Sids agri-food systems to become more resilient, efficient, sustainable and inclusive. This funding is timely and reaffirms the high priority FAO attaches to SIDs and the transformation of their agri-food systems to achieve better production, better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all”, he said the deputy director general of FAO Maria Helena Semedo in her speech at the Dialogue.

Fragile ecosystems, high vulnerability to climate change, natural disasters, external economic shocks, distance from global markets and high rates of all forms of malnutrition and food-related diseases are just some of the challenges hindering the development process of SIDS. Compounding this condition has been the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had a significant negative impact on rural livelihoods.

All of these factors contribute to the need for expertise and technical support, as well as financial investment in sustainable food production, distribution and consumption patterns.

The project will be coordinated by FAO's Office of Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries (LSOs), together with the South-South and Triangular Cooperation Division (PST ) of the FAO.

Projects structured to create more resilient agri-food systems, improve management of fisheries resources and strengthen sustainable rural development in Sids through shared experiences and technology exchanges with key partners, such as Member States, United Nations agencies, private sector, NGOs, universities and specific international institutions. In addition to the experience and direct support of the People's Republic of China and other cooperating partners, the program will also promote the exchange of experience among SIDS on issues related to the transformation of agri-food systems, both at an inter-regional and intra-regional level.

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EFA News - European Food Agency