First SIDS Solutions Forum held amid pandemic

The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization launched the first Small Islands Developing States solutions forum at Taumeasina Island Resort in Samoa.

The two-day programme was attended by local speakers and leaders including Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and a few members of the Cabinet who gathered to share thoughts with global audience.

Foreign leaders connected via zoom for the forum.

Fiame congratulated the FAO for the successful forum which its solutions seek to deliver some promises for SIDS as articulated in the Samoa pathway.

“In particular, solutions on fostering entrepreneurship and innovation; accessing appropriate, affordable and modern technologies and increasing connectivity and the use of information and communications technology for the benefit of our people,” she added.

“Our unique circumstances as small islands developing states, coupled with the current COVID19 impacts and ongoing climate change threats, call for transformational SIDS-specific homegrown solutions.

Fiame also acknowledged the pandemic situation forcing borders’ lockdown globally and state of emergency restrictions.

Key to stimulating business opportunities in e-commerce and e-services, as well as increasing productivity and growth in more traditional sectors such as agriculture and tourism is Samoa continuing to prioritize the need to invest in digital technologies and to promote a digital economy.

“We underscore how investment in innovation and digitalization for Samoa, can enable more efficient delivery of health and education; improve connectivity between rural and urban communities; advance economic empowerment for women and youth; and assist with more efficient public service delivery, Samoan PM said.

It was Fiame’s first statement as the Prime Minister of Samoa to a global audience.

A few of the key messages highlighted in her speech was putting in place an enabling business environment and investment in education, skills, and digital literacy in order to fully realize the benefits of a digital economy for Samoans.

Other key speakers of the forum comprised of Minister for Communications and Attorney General of Fiji, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, President of the Republic of Palau, Surangel S. Whipps, Jr, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, Xiangjun Yao, Prime Minister of Fiji, Voreqe Bainimarama and 24 others.

This was a significant step in Samoa’s response to COVID19 and building on the lessons learnt from the measles epidemic.


Photo supplied Caption: Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa addresses the SIDS Solutions Forum 


Talaia Mika