United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

USG Wu’s closing remarks at the
Food Security and Climate Adaptation event in Milan
(Mr. Wu is chair of closing session, but not moderator)

Your excellency Minister Fakahau, Ambassador Young, USG Acharya, Director-General José Graziano da Silva, Undersecretary Ms. Velo, Director General Mr. Cantini, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
I would like to welcome you all to this closing session of what has been a very fruitful and constructive meeting. I look forward to hearing the parting thoughts and new commitments of our gathered group and to the adoption of the SIDS Vision for a Food Secure Future.
I will now hand the floor to Mr. Gianpaolo Cantini, Director General, Italian Development Cooperation, who will moderate our session.
Mr. Cantini, you have the floor.
[Mr. Cantini moderates the closing session and will give the floor back to Mr. Wu]
Closing remarks:
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
I must say I have been honored to be a part of this meeting. Food security is at the root of development, and the participants gathered here today have afforded the topic the thoughtful and creative attention that it deserves.
This meeting is also a landmark event. It is the first event since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda last month that considers the implementation of that Agenda together with the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway. It must be the first of many, for success in one will happen only with success in the other. A hallmark of the 2030 Agenda is to leave no one behind, so SIDS development must be a priority for all. Therefore, this meeting is not an end but just a beginning.

However, implementation is by no means an easy task. Governments face a series of interlinked challenges.
First is the traditional mindset. As highlighted by many participants, SDGs cover three dimensions and all the issues including food security are interlinked. Governments need to move beyond the traditional silo mindset and think holistically.
Second is the administrative structure. Facing up to the cross-cutting challenges of sustainable development, governments must readjust, adapt and reform, wherever necessary, the existing administrative structure and strengthen coordination, including by setting up national level coordination mechanisms.
Third is the need for localising the targets so as to reflect national circumstances and development priorities. The mandated action program to address food security and nutrition challenges in SIDS must be developed in a way that takes into account this diversity among SIDS. National experiences and priorities will form the bedrock of the action program.
Fourth is the follow-up action. Governments must meet the follow-up challenge by engaging all institutions and sectors of the society, including parliaments, supreme audit institutions, businesses, civil society groups and all relevant stakeholders.
Fifth is the capacity-building. Governments must enhance capacity building support through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation. The international community must support and reinforce SIDS efforts, through capacity development and, as the distinguished Minister from Tonga reminded us, through long-term human resource development.
As is the case with SDG implementation, the implementation of a food security action program must respect national contexts without sacrificing the level of ambition. The SDGs and the SAMOA Pathway set the bar high, and the food security action program must meet that challenge.
Your excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we heard in Samoa and throughout the negotiations of the 2030 Agenda, partnerships will be critical to success. I was heartened to hear about the many examples of effective partnership in many SIDS, including in the areas of blue economy and fisheries, climate adaptation, and others. I also took note, however, of lingering shortcomings, as some partners shape projects and programs according to their own priorities and pre-conceptions rather than meeting the SIDS where they are. It is important therefore that the partnerships are genuine and durable as called for in the SAMOA Pathway.
As we commit ourselves to working tirelessly for the full implementation of the Agenda by 2030, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to contribute to the High-level Political Forum (HLPF), to the work of indicators for the goals and targets, and to those newly launched initiatives such as technology facilitation mechanism. Your active participation is crucial to the success of the framework.
Before I close I would like again to acknowledge our host, the government of Italy, who has certainly been a genuine partner to SIDS for many years. I was very impressed by the announcements of the Foreign Minister for new and expanded support directed to SIDS, and I commend the government.
Now, as the meeting draws to a close, I would like to give the floor to the Honorable Minister Fakahau of Tonga. As the ranking member of the AOSIS Bureau here today, he will present a SIDS declaration emerging from the meeting. DESA will prepare a summary of the proceedings of this meeting as well, and together these documents will constitute the outputs for the meeting.
Minister Fakahau, you have the floor.
[adoption of SIDS declaration]
Congratulations to the SIDS, and we in the UN system pledge our support to the ongoing work on the action program.
Thank you again to all participants, to our co-organizer FAO, and to our gracious host Italy.