AOSIS Statement delivered by

Ms Farzana Zahir, Deputy Permanent Representative

on Agriculture Development, Food Security and Nutrition

12 October 2018

Mr. Chair,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (aosis). We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.   

We thank the Secretary General for his Report on this agenda item. The world hunger is on the rise, and unless we bring a course correction immediately, there is a risk that we might not eradicate hunger by 2030. The sg’s Report has identified climate change as one of the primary causes of hunger. According to the Report, climate change multiplies existing threats to food security and nutrition, making food production, including fisheries extremely vulnerable.  

Food security and nutrition in the small island developing States are under severe threat from climate change, environmental degradation, including declining ocean health, and global economic crises. For sids, the nexus between food security, climate action and sustainable ocean becomes more enhanced due to our vulnerability to external shocks and limited resource.   

Rapid changes in temperatures and increasing levels of flooding or drought, can contribute to reduced agricultural yields in the small island developing States, reducing our limited capacity for local food production. Rising sea levels results in salt water encroachment, threatening coastal farmland and fresh water supply. The few sids with coastal farmland also face threats from increasingly intense and frequent natural disasters, which destroy crops, and damage production, and transport infrastructure.   

Similarly, as ocean health declines, so do the opportunities for sids communities to access safe, nutritious food. Marine pollution, with increasing ocean acidification, further exacerbated by high temperatures, and the illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, all threaten marine resources, and as such, we continue to call for sustainable use and management of oceans and seas. Many sids are net food importing countries, and highly vulnerable to the volatility of commodity prices and global supply, as well as high import costs. These imported foods also have a negative impact, contributing to increasing patterns of poor nutrition, with increasing instances of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other conditions.  

Prevalence of obesity and ncds associated with poor quality diets, in many sids, are among the highest in the world. This is an issue that goes way beyond just the treatment of the disease. For the people of sids, unless there is increased resilience, low disaster risk, improved ocean health, and reversal in climate change; food and nutrition challenges will continue to be a major concern. sids are working on initiatives to address these related challenges, including through the fao led Global Action Programme, intended to provide policy guidance to help sids build more sustainable and resilient food systems. We encourage full engagement with this initiative as lack of financing remains a significant obstacle to moving forward.   

There needs to be continued mainstreaming of the different agendas to increasingly appreciate how they are interlinked. Agriculture cannot be addressed in a silo without considering health systems, water security, climate change, declining ocean health due to our reliance on ocean ecosystems for food, the high costs of imported foods and crops, high volatility of commodity markets, and remoteness – they are interrelated and as we are working with our governments to improve understanding of these relationships and connections, we similarly ask our development partners to do the same.   

We continue to prioritize this issue and hope we can work with others to see progress.

I thank you.