“Fortifying and creating partnerships” is essential for development, says IFAD President on the eve of the Small Islands Developing States Conference
Samoa, 1 September 2014 – Strong private and public sector partnerships are essential to the future survival of small island developing states, that is the message the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is presenting at the International Conference on Small Island Developing States, which began today in Apia, Samoa.
“Fortifying and creating partnerships with small island developing states supports their resilience to climate change, contributes to food security and poverty reduction,” said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze in the lead up to the conference. “At IFAD, we work with the rural women and men who are at the forefront of efforts to address these pressing global issues through innovation and use of traditional knowledge. People who live in small island developing states are no exception.”
Small island developing states are a distinct group of developing countries with specific social, economic, environmental, food and nutrition-related vulnerabilitiesdirectly linked to their small size and island geographies. They are especially distinguished by their vulnerability to climate change and persistent exposure to disasters and weather-related risks.
“IFAD’s approach to development in small island states respects the uniqueness of these places,” said Périn Saint Ange, IFAD Regional Director of East and Southern Africa, who also originates from a small island state – the Seychelles.
Saint Ange said small island developing states like the Seychelles are the first to be afflicted by limited natural resources, scarce agricultural land and remoteness from major markets. Because of this, it’s difficult for them to build economies based on any single industry.
“But the right partnership can compensate for these limitations,” he added.
Saint Ange and others will be discussing the need for strong partnerships in sustainable agriculture during a side event on Tuesday, 2 September in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Government of Grenada, and the Cooperative for Export and Market of Quality Cocoa. At the event, IFAD will present its recently released publication IFAD’s approach in Small Island Developing States.
IFAD has invested a total of US$476 million in 23 small island developing states since its inception and is currently implementing 19 projects in 14 countries, for a total of US$139 million benefiting more than 5 million people, including smallholder farmers, rural dwellers and fishers in the Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea, Caribbean and Pacific regions.