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Pacific Food Security Cluster has important role

The inaugural Regional Pacific Food Security Cluster Forum will increase collaboration between all stakeholders in their efforts in preparing for, and responding to, natural disasters.

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Jitendra Singh, says there will be strengthened efforts in sharing information and innovative knowledge and improving capacity building.

Speaking at the official opening of the three-day forum in Nadi last week, Singh said the Regional Pacific Food Security Cluster works hand-in-hand with the Ministries of Agriculture in the Pacific Island countries, who lead coordination at the country level, to strengthen these capacities for coordination between government and non-government humanitarian actors.

“This is specifically intended to improve collective efforts in preparing for, and responding to, natural disasters.”

“This event brings together these efforts at a regional level. The Regional Cluster has adopted a demand-driven and feedback-friendly approach, which allows Pacific country representatives to advise it on what our needs are, and where we best feel we need its resources in helping build national capacity.”

Singh told participants from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, that there are already coordination gaps at the country level and these gaps become even more pronounced at the regional level.

He said by bringing together the Pacific Islanders to discuss the need for better and more productive food security coordination in this event, the Regional Cluster is also opening up opportunities for learning that surpasses country boundaries and that, strategically, provides Pacific Island countries with a platform and a forum to discuss, network and raise visibility for their work in the food security sector.

Singh said the forum will not only increase collaboration and networking between regional and country cluster members, but is consequently remembered as the pioneering start of many such annual events – that will be known for their visionary, tenacious problem solvers, with a primary focus on innovative knowledge transfer.

He said the Pacific region is one that is highly vulnerable to the threat posed by natural disasters such as tropical cyclones and tsunamis.

 In the past few years there have been two category five cyclones, as well as the El Nino drought, which were devastating in the Pacific region in terms of lives lost, infrastructure damaged, and significant impacts on food security.

Food Security Clusters across the Pacific region have coordinated the efforts of partners across the spectrum and have been instrumental in leading assessments to measure the impacts of these events and to inform action.
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