Monday, October 17, 2011

Fiji and Niue: Food security talks at UN Convention on Land degradation

17 October 2011, Changwon Korea - Desertification, land degradation and drought and food security: Preserving the resource base for our food security was the topic of Round table 1 of the high level segment of the 10th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Korea today.

For Niue it is difficult to measure the effects of food security. 

According to the Associate Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Niue, Hon. Dalton Tagelagi explained that the low population of Niue places very little pressure on the available resource base on the island.

L - Associate Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Niue, Hon. Dalton Tagelagi

“This does not mean that it is not important, we too are taking all necessary precautions to ensure sustainable development at all levels with regards to resources we have contributing to food security in Niue.”

The Niue National Strategic Plan 2009 – 2013 addresses food security issues and the island nation currently has Food and Agriculture Organisation projects and activities on Food Security underway in Niue, spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

“We recognize the importance of preserving the resource base for food security and understand the effects of climate change together with land degradation in the agricultural sector with losses of some important plant species and the depletion of soil nutrients due to continuous burning and shifting cultivation.”

For the Fiji Permanent Secretary of Fisheries and Forest,  Mr. Viliame Naupoto after listening to the dialogue on desertification, land degradation and drought (also known as DLDD), he believes from an island viewpoint another "D" can be added to this acronym to include Disappearance of land.

“Our land is not only suffering from land degradation, but also disappearance due to the effects of climate change,” said Permanent Secretary Naupoto.

“We have some takeaway lessons here, when we hear what is happening in Africa and how they are working towards greening their bare areas of land, from Fiji’s perspective we need to make sure that we do not arrive at that stage.  Due to our small island size, we cannot afford for our land to be degraded to the extent that we are seeing in the bigger continents.”

While 41% of the earth’s land area are drylands that house two billion people, in the Pacific region only 2% is terrestrial while 98% is Ocean.  Permanent Secretary Naupoto points out that due to our land size, our ecosystems are very much interconnected from the top of the hills and mountains to our reefs and ocean.  When it comes to the issue of food security, our ecosystems play a large part.

“When we talk about food security we do not only talk about land issues we also talk about the fisheries issues as fish provides a big portion of our food security.  To combat land degradation and drought we must look at it with an ecosystem approach, what we do on land and in the hills it affects our seas.”

During day one of the High Level Segment the delegates finished the discussions of Roundtable one.  Still to be completed are Round table two and three which will continue through to the second and final day of the High level segment.

No comments:

Post a Comment