Kiribati food summit dialogue outlines proposals for access to nutritious food and food security

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    The Government of Kiribati with strong support from the United Nations has completed a series of dialogues to explore how the Kiribati Food Systems should evolve during the next ten years so that they reflect the needs of people, protect the ecosystem and environment, while aligning with the principles and goals of sustainable development and climate action.

    The food system dialogues were held from 29th of June to the 2nd of July and focused on the key themes of nutrition, diet, environment, resilience and equitable livelihood, with game-changing solutions and pathways discussed on the final day.

    The participants highlighted the many challenges and concerns on the food system for Kiribati from NCDs with a focus on food/diet related diseases, blue food and green food development, sustainable management of existing food production systems, and decent work for all actors along the food chain.

    Key outcomes from the summit included proposals for direct support for farmers and food chain suppliers, and greater awareness and education to change consumer mindsets in support of healthier locally grown food.

    Proposed actions to support farmers include improving water harvesting and providing planting materials, developing the transport sector, setting competitive pricing, and introducing climate smart agricultural technologies with relevant capacity building for farmers in disaster-prone areas.

    In addition, enabling effective management of blue food production, consumption and trade, and the interconnections with green food production was one of the main outcomes of the dialogues, including the integration of blue food into decision making and food and nutrition policies and programmes.

    The dialogue also identified the need for more community outreach and the inclusion of food system education in the national curriculum so consumers have a better understanding of the importance of farming and producing local food to fight NCDs and improve health.

    Kiribati Minister of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development Ruateki Tekaiara highlighted the government’s commitment to secure healthy and affordable food. He emphasised that the sustainable food systems pathways had to be workable and practical in enhancing the physical health, environment, and wellbeing of the Kiribati people, while facilitating the achievement of national development targets and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

    “Given the special challenges posed by climate change to coral atolls like Kiribati – this is an opportune time to change how we produce and consume food and transform to sustainable and environment friendly food systems. A strong food system means everyone has access to healthy, affordable, local and nutrition food,” said UN Resident Coordinator Sanaka Samarasinha.

    “Considering the potential of blue foods in ending malnutrition and in building healthy nature-positive and resilient food systems, it is important that Kiribati embed blue foods in food-system governance and integrate it into food policy making.

    The solutions and pathways proposed from the dialogues provide key steps towards greater resilience and support climate adaptation and mitigation,” Samarasinha said.

    The dialogues brought together a diverse range of stakeholders – governmental institutions, UN and international organisations, civil society groups, faith-based organisations, community associations, public and private businesses and consumers.

    Kiribati will outline their national food systems pathways and national strategies to advance their national commitments to action during Global Food System pre-Summit in Rome this month and the Global Food System Summit in New York in September 2021.

    The Summit aims to provide a platform for ambitious new actions, innovative solutions, and plans to transform food systems and leverage these shifts to deliver progress across all of the SDGs.

    The Food System Summit dialogues are being held throughout the Pacific countries including Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Island, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Samoa, PNG, Australia, New Zealand.

    SOURCE: UNRCO/PACNEWS