FAO Commits $140m to Ocean Health, Aquatic Food Systems

Gilbert Ekugbe

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has stated that it has committed more than $140 million to boost ocean health and transform aquatic food systems.

FAO also underlined the importance of aquatic food systems for food security and poverty eradication.

The Director General of FAO, Mr. QU Dongyu, in his opening remarks at the “Blue Talks” organised by the Permanent Representations of Kenya and Portugal to the Rome-based UN agencies, said that the FAO has already submitted 12 voluntary commitments to the UN Ocean Conference scheduled to take place from 27 June to July 1, 2022, and co-hosted by Kenya and Portugal.

Donqyu, however, stated that the global impacts of the climate crisis, conflicts and humanitarian emergencies, the COVID-19 pandemic and soaring food and fuel prices are hitting the poorest the hardest – increasing the number of hungry people and putting livelihoods at risk. 

He said: “To address these challenges, we need to urgently transform our agri-food systems to be more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable,” adding that “sustainable aquatic food systems are a vital part of this transformation.”  

The FAO director general said that the significant roles the aquatic food system could play in food security, nutrition and poverty eradication are at the core of FAO’s Programme Priority Area on “Blue Transformation,” which aimed to make healthy, nutritional aquatic food available to all.

 He said that the delivery of the FAO’s strategic framework 2022-31 Blue Transformation is focused on responsible and sustainable use of aquatic resources while protecting the environment.

According to him, the Blue Transformation would contribute directly to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and supports members to integrate aquatic foods in food security and nutritional strategies at national and global level. 

The key segment of the event was a roundtable on “Scaling up ocean action” to raise awareness and mobilise high-level participation at the United Nations Ocean Conference.

Dongyu said that the FAO has been closely supporting the UN Ocean Conference as it represented an important opportunity to promote the transformation of aquatic food systems. 

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