Speech to the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Nadi, Fiji

  • Hon Meka Whaitiri

Speech to the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Nadi, Fiji

  • To our Fijian hosts – Bula vanaka. Tēnā koutou.


  • Director General, Ministerial colleagues, Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen – warm Pacific greetings.


  • The 34th session provides us all an excellent opportunity to share our views on the key issues facing the Asia Pacific region.


  • New Zealand is pleased with the increasing focus and attention to issues that have relevance and interest particularly for the small island states of the Pacific.


  • The FAO has a very important role to play in assisting the small island developing states of the Pacific to deal with the real challenges around climate change, sustainable resource management, small scale agriculture, food security and nutrition.


  • We acknowledge the important role played by women in agriculture, and support the greater recognition of this in FAO programmes and activities.


Climate Change


  • New Zealand recognises the Pacific region’s unique vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.


  • We are supporting countries towards low carbon development through our renewable energy programme and by providing assistance to prepare proposals for the Green Climate Fund.


  • We are also providing assistance for adaptation and resilience-building initiatives across the region.  We are on track to meeting our commitment to provide NZ$200 million climate-related support – targeted mainly to the Pacific.


  • Globally, New Zealand is working with other countries to find ways of reducing global agricultural emissions, while increasing production to feed an expanding global population.


  • The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, is a key vehicle for this. The Alliance has 49 members, including a number of the countries present here today.


  • Within New Zealand climate change is a key priority of the government and action is being taken across the board, including through an afforestation programme – of planting One Billion Trees, over the next 10 years.


Food Security and Nutrition


  • New Zealand recognises and supports the call for urgent and concerted action, to address the challenges of food security and nutrition, in Small Island Developing States.


  • Promoting sustainable development of Pacific agriculture and fisheries resources and improving national regulatory frameworks for food safety, will be critical to this.


  • Well-coordinated and evidence based actions are needed across the region, to address underlying issues and promote tangible improvements, in food consumption patterns and nutritional quality.


  • This morning, I listened carefully to the President’s comments – and agree – that indigenous people producing and eating our own food, is something we should promote.


  • I’d like to acknowledge the important work of Codex in promoting food safety for health protection and trade.


New Zealand’s Pacific Reset


  • The New Zealand Government is a progressive government, and is focused on building an inclusive and diverse economy for all.  It is on this platform, we intend to support our relationships with our Pacific neighbours.


  • Our region faces a growing array of challenges. The strategic environment is changing and becoming more contested. Recognising these trends, New Zealand has recently announced a Reset of our strategic approach within the Pacific region.


  • The Reset and its core elements, were set out in a recent speech by the New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Rt Hon Winston Peters.


  • The refreshed approach includes building deeper partnerships with Pacific Island countries, and in doing so, applying the following principles to our work in the Pacific: understanding, friendship, mutual benefit, collective ambition, and sustainability.


  • The core elements of the Reset were highlighted during the recent Pacific Mission by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, which visited a number of Pacific nations.


  • We are looking forward to continuing to work with our neighbours and being active members of FAO, to address the issues we are discussing today.


Thank you. Vinaka.