Lisa Singh, who’s the UN Resident Coordinator in Mauritius and Seychelles, was talking forward of the UN Food Systems Summit +2 which is going down in Italy from 24 to 26 July.
“This can be a notably compelling time to be the Resident Coordinator for a small island state like Mauritius. Since my arrival right here in 2022, I’ve skilled examples of utmost climate circumstances reminiscent of flooding and cyclones on the one hand and water shortages on the opposite.
This seen impact of local weather change mixed with our geographical remoteness, small scale of economies, and excessive import prices have grave penalties for our island’s meals safety. It has gained higher momentum for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine war-related provide and commodity shocks, elevating robust preoccupations with meals safety as a key to the sustainable financial transformation agenda.
Meals techniques have emerged not solely as an agricultural problem however as a game-changer to catalyse outcomes throughout a number of SDGs. The upcoming occasion in Italy offers a possibility for the 2 international locations to deal with the best way ahead to speed up the transformative energy of meals techniques.
Meals manufacturing have to be seen throughout sectors and never in isolation. Water and vitality are direct inputs in any respect phases of the meals worth chain, whereas pure sources, ecosystems, and their providers underpin the safety of those inputs. Agriculture accounts for 30 per cent of water use in Mauritius alone. Globally, one third of the world’s accessible vitality is consumed by the meals manufacturing worth chain.
Taking holisitic strategy
Addressing water shortage and investing in renewable vitality is crucial to meals safety. Mauritius imports three quarters of its vitality with renewable vitality, accounting for twenty-four per cent of its present vitality combine. It imports over 77 per cent of its meals necessities with households below pressure as meals costs on staple items reminiscent of bread, black lentils, powdered milk, and cooking oil proceed to rise. Our reliance on imports reminiscent of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, know-how, and tools depart it weak to worldwide commodity and provide disruptions.
Remodeling meals techniques can play a key function in international locations’ local weather change mitigation and adaptation methods. As an example, consistent with its nationally decided contributions, Mauritius has re-affirmed its commitments to cut back greenhouse fuel emissions from the agricultural sector. The nation has additionally recognized agriculture as a precedence sector for local weather change adaptation with a lot deal with environment friendly irrigation strategies and climate-smart agriculture.
Clearly for the UN crew, supporting a holistic techniques strategy to handle the interlinkages between meals, local weather, water, vitality, and gender is crucial.
Energy of partnerships
We’re taking a twin focus. There’s the institutional engagement to tell the methods, insurance policies, and budgets mandatory to remodel meals techniques in addition to influencing finances allocations.
We additionally intention at strengthening group resilience, leveraging the ability of partnerships, digital platforms, private-public modalities, and knowledge, with the inclusion of ladies and youth on the centre.
For international locations like Mauritius, the place tourism is a big supply of GDP earnings, the affect of local weather change poses a sustainability threat given its uncommon but fragile pure ecosystems.
Lives and livelihoods of communities, notably in coastal areas, are immediately impacted. Coral bleaching and human air pollution is placing strain on the lagoon ecosystem affecting our artisanal fishers like Nazma and her household.
She has been an artisanal fisher for over 30 years alongside together with her husband and a number of other of her kids. This can be a sustainable approach of fishing, as solely traces are used not like in industrial fishing. Moreover, a lot of the fish caught by them are for consumption in Mauritius versus export.
Nazma says that she loves every thing about fishing. It’s a ardour that has develop into her job. However, she emphasizes that life is dear, gasoline is dear, and there are fewer fish within the lagoon.
The UN, in collaboration with the European Union by the Ecofish mission, is utilizing improvements in know-how to empower artisanal fishers to maneuver out of over-exploited lagoons.
Nurturing ‘good’ agriculture
By enhancing the financial resilience of those conventional fisher communities, meals safety might be strengthened by better-managed marine sources.
In Rodrigues, which is a part of the archipelago of Mauritius, we’re working with eight girls who’ve fashioned the Rodrigues Turmeric Producers Affiliation to develop and course of turmeric into powder on the market.
Addressing the vitality inputs into agriculture, one of many affiliation members, Marie-Anne, says that with monetary backing from the Small Grants Programme (SGP) of the UN-supported World Atmosphere Facility (GEF), she and her friends have been capable of purchase a photo voltaic dryer to interchange an electrical one which consumed lots of vitality and value some huge cash.
Her colleague and buddy, Perrine, explains how the enterprise permits girls to emancipate themselves. It should additionally allow their grandchildren to proceed this work as a result of turmeric will all the time be there.
There are different revolutionary sustainable meals techniques options being piloted by UN companies in Mauritius. The UN Growth Programme (UNDP), along with the Meals and Agriculture Group (FAO) and UN Women below the Joint SDG Fund, are selling low-cost biofertilizers made domestically from seaweed.
With solely seven years left to ship on the 2030 Agenda our UN Country Team in Mauritius will proceed its efforts to help the diversification of the financial system, strengthen the round financial system, and put money into human capital to fight provide shocks.
Working in partnership to additional local weather motion and foster resilient pathways is vital to defending the way forward for Mauritius for our individuals, planet, prosperity, and peace.”
UN Resident Coordinator
- The UN Resident Coordinator, generally referred to as the RC, is the highest-ranking consultant of the UN development system on the nation stage.
- On this occasional sequence, UN Information is inviting RCs to weblog on points necessary to the UN and the nation the place they serve.
- Be taught extra in regards to the work of the UN in Mauritius here.
- Discover out extra in regards to the UN Growth Coordination Workplace here.