Press release

SIDS Ministerial Meeting on Food Security and Climate Adaptation in Small Island Developing States

October 18, 2015

A Ministerial Meeting of Small Island Developing States concluded its three-day deliberations at the Expo Milan 2015 today by adopting the Milan Declaration on enhancing Food Security and Climate Adaptation in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in the framework of the SAMOA Pathway. It set the context of the UN Expo Milano 2015 theme “Feeding the planet – energy for life”.

The Milan Declaration recognises the meeting as an important start towards implementing the relevant provisions of the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in terms of enhancing Food Security and Climate Adaptation of SIDS. It will thus help to elaborate specific actions needed in achieving this objective.

One of the key highlights of the Milan Declaration is that it recognises the integrated nature of food security, and that progress in food security needs to also address other areas of development. It emphasises that the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) should be responsible to develop an action programme based on the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, social and environment), through a wide consultative process and i partnership with other partners.

The Milan Declaration affirms the dangerous impact of climate change on food security and calls for the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris to adopt an ambitious, legally binding and comprehensive international agreement on climate change.

The Milan Declaration calls for a number of actions in addressing the plethora of challenges affecting food security and nutrition in Small Island Developing States, including but not limited to:

· It states that the multilateral trading system must play a critical role in addressing food security , underscoring in particular the designations of “small, vulnerable economies”, and “the net food-importing developing countries”, to continue beyond the Doha round.

· Similarly, it states that trade policies should not have a negative impact on local food production and should bear in mind the vulnerability and resilience of SIDS.

· That it is essential to promote healthy living in SIDS through more nutritious and sustainable food systems, sustainably strengthening agriculture and fisheries, increase local production and availability of safe and nutritious food

· In the field of oceans, which is the subject of goal 14 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, it calls for a series of bold actions, to preserve the safety and health of oceans, including combating ocean acidification through scientific cooperation; fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; preventing and significantly reducing marine pollution; sustainable management and protection of coastal ecosystems; and enhancing capacity of SIDS to use their natural resources enabling them maximise the benefits from the oceans and seas.

· It reaffirms the importance of the means of implementation including partnerships, the technology facilitation mechanism and financing to address and support the challenges relating to the sustainable development priorities of SIDS.

The Ministerial meeting was organised and hosted by the Government of Italy in close collaboration with the United Nations and the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The Government of Italy announced the possible establishment of a Trust Fund to finance development projects in eligible SIDS through loans on favourable conditions, made a substantial contribution to the FAO Climate Fund for SIDS, as well as announced an increase of its annual budgetary contribution towards Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The Seychelles delegation comprising of Ambassador Barry Faure, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Ms. Wendy Isnard, Second Secretary in the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Seychelles to the United Nations, also attended at Expo Milan the celebrations commemorating “World Food Day 2015”, on the theme of “Social Protection and Agriculture – Breaking the cycle of rural poverty,” before moving to Vienna to observe innovative practices in addressing sea level rise.