Food Self-Sufficiency for Resilient Development and Economic Growth in Small Island Developing States

Monday, September 26, 2022 10:00to12:00

Join Moderator Prof. Chandra Madramootoo (Bioresource Engineering) and a panel of experts for

Food Self-Sufficiency for Resilient Development and Economic Growth in Small Island Developing States

part of the 8th edition of

Science Summit at United Nations General Assembly

organized by ISC partners of the Science Summit around the
77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77)

13-30 September, 2022


The role and contribution of science to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the central theme of the Summit. The objective is to develop and launch science collaborations to demonstrate global science mechanisms and activities to support the attainment of the UN SDGs, Agenda 2030 and Local2030. The meeting will also prepare input for the United Nations Summit of the Future, which will take place during UNGA78 beginning on 12 September 2023.

This event, part of There are 58 countries that make up small island developing states (SIDS), with 38 having membership in the UN. SIDS countries are dispersed over a vast geographical expanse in the African, Americas, Mediterranean, South East Asia and Western Pacific Regions. Their GDPs are also highly variable with one-half having a per capita GDP of less than US$ 8000. High economic disparities can be seen within a single region. For example, in the Caribbean Region (CARICOM), Gross National Income (GNI) per capita varies from a low of around US$800 to over US$30,000. All of the CARICOM countries are experiencing negative GDPs for the past few years, with the single exception of Guyana that had a growth rate of 43% in 2020. This is due primarily to its very recent petroleum production and exports.

SIDS countries are highly vulnerable to the shocks of climate change, specifically the loss of property and some life, due to severe storm events, hurricanes, cyclones, flooding, landslides, periodic droughts, earthquakes, and sea level rise. The economic impacts are severe especially to the tourism, agricultural and coastal fisheries sectors. Rebuilding from severe climate events is enormously expensive when one considers, in the CARICOM region, for example, the region’s total debt is over US$60 billion or 74% of total GDP. The generally weak economies of CARICOM countries are unable to bear the financial burdens of rebuilding. Many SIDS economies have been not been able to fully recover since the global financial crisis of 2009, and this has worsened with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway underscores the need for a more integrated approach to sustainable development as emphasized in the 2030 Agenda. It calls for strengthened international cooperation and partnerships, with adequate investment and coordinated implementation, to address and halt the persistent development challenges of SIDS.

Food security remains one of the biggest development challenges facing the SIDS. The achievement of SDG #2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture remains far from attainable in SIDS countries by 2030. The SIDS all face large food import bills and an alarming increase in obesity and malnutrition and non-communicable diseases eg. heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Cutting the food import bill and reducing food and nutrition insecurity are of high priority in the SIDS. In CARICOM, for example, the annual food import bill is in excess of US $5 billion per annum. Heads of Government have agreed to cut the important bill by 2025. Guyana is leading the regional effort, given its vast and favourable land and water resources and its ability to make the region more self sufficient in local food production. However, there is a need for agricultural diversification, strengthening local productive capacities, and opening of transportation, storage and marketing facilities, all of which require capital and private sector partnerships. Furthermore, the need to integrate food security to nutrition security to health outcomes has yet to be developed to an operational standpoint. Trade liberalization, tariff barriers and food safety regulations are all factors which require consideration. These issues are common to all the SIDS.

This session will feature government leaders, policy makers, and experts from some of the SIDS to address the issues highlighted above, to share lessons learned and to promote an open dialogue
on overcoming food and nutrition insecurity in the SIDS, so that can have a more resilient development pathway and positive growth scenario.

About the Moderator:

Chandra Madramootoo

Distinguished James McGill Professor, Bioresource Engineering | Website
Professor Madramootoo is a Distinguished James McGill Professor of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University. He is also a Visiting Faculty in Water and Food Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He  served as Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and was the Founding Director of the Brace Centre for Water Resources Management at McGill. He created the McGill Institute for Global Food Security, as well as programs in integrated water management. He is one the world’s foremost experts in water resources, agriculture and food security. He has received several national and international awards for his work in water management including being inducted to the Overholt International Drainage Hall of Fame, recipient of the World Irrigation Prize, elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and awarded the DSc (honoris causa) by the University of Guelph.
Professor Madramootoo is currently Vice Chair of the Board of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture, hosted at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He served as President of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID). He also served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) headquartered in India. He continues to advise international organizations and government agencies in Canada and abroad on issues of water resources and climate change in the water/agriculture sector.
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