Empowering African Sids |10 November 2023
Seychelles engages at FAO’s high-level event
Small island developing states (Sids) face monumental challenges due to geographic and economic constraints, heavily relying on distant markets for their food supplies. This reliance leads to substantial costs in energy, infrastructure, and transportation, posing significant obstacles to boosting local food production. Moreover, the fragile ecosystems of Sids are increasingly affected by the adverse impacts of climate change, resulting in erratic weather patterns and rising sea levels, which compromise their agricultural capabilities and ability to provide affordable, safe, and high-quality food to their citizens.
The vulnerabilities of African Sids, highly vulnerable globally, are compounded by intensified food security and nutrition challenges. With weak policies and mechanisms to address the effects of climate change, coupled with productivity issues in agriculture and multiple malnutrition burdens, these nations grapple with undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, obesity, and chronic diseases stemming from the consumption of processed, imported foods.
In response, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) established the African Small Island Developing States Programme, aligning with sustainable development goals and striving to address these challenges.
A recent high-level event held in Mauritius focused on presenting the achievements of the FAO African Sids Programme and fostering collaboration among stakeholders, ministers, FAO officials, and potential donors. Seychelles was one of six countries participating in the programme, striving to transform agrifood systems for enhanced efficiency, inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability, with a core focus on improving production, nutrition, environment, and overall quality of life for all.
To tackle the vulnerabilities, the programme initiated comprehensive interventions, including the establishment of a technical network, mapping analyses, and priority area determination for a roadmap towards implementation.
This event brought together leaders through a ministerial conclave to discuss how innovation and networking can solve common challenges. Seychelles’ Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change & Environment Flavien Joubert, who was heading the country’s delegation, played a prominent role by presenting Seychelles’ priorities and needs in terms of the Agrifood systems.
The overall priority areas agreed encompasses governance, climate-resilient agriculture, fisheries, market access, youth and women empowerment, and innovation for knowledge sharing and technology transfer.
During the event, the Seychelles delegation had the opportunity to tour the Trou aux Biches Post Centre and witness the equipment provided through the REEFISH Project. This initiative, funded by FAO in collaboration with the government of Japan, included remarkable installations like a solar-powered ice plant and a patrol vessel.
Besides Minister Joubert, the Seychelles delegation comprised the principal secretary for agriculture and FAO national correspondent, Keven Nancy; director-general for fisheries, Sheriffa Morel; FAO national expert, Dr Nelson Charles; and the ITN representative, Nelson Renaud.