Director-General  QU Dongyu

Read-out of the bilateral meeting between FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, and H.E. Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia


14 September 2001, Rome - The FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, and the President of the Republic of Estonia met to discuss further collaboration between FAO and Estonia in transforming agri-food systems for food security, improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all.

The President mentioned that she is the first Global Advocate of the UN Secretary-General for “Every Woman Every Child”, a role focusing on reducing maternal mortality, increasing nutritional security and enhancing innovation and the use of digital solutions.

The pair also spoke about FAO’s activities in Afghanistan and the Director-General mentioned that FAO continues to operate in the country. The Director-General also referred to the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Ministerial Meeting on 13 September which convened the international community to express solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and pledge tangible support to address their critical humanitarian needs. During the meeting, the Director-General made a Call to Action for urgent assistance to help save Afghanistan's approaching winter wheat harvest, keep life-sustaining farm animals alive, and avoid a deterioration of the country's already severe humanitarian crises. FAO appeals for $36 million to urgently save rural livelihoods and avoid massive displacement.

The President mentioned that in response to the reduced cultivation and commercialization of rye products, the Government of Estonia proposed to establish an International Year of Rye in 2025, to improve production efficiencies, research and development investments and food sector linkages. The FAO Conference in June 2021 endorsed the proposal by the Government of Estonia. to establish the observance by the UN System of an “International Year of Rye” in 2025, to be adopted by the UN General Assembly.

The Director-General expressed his support to the proposed International Year of Rye by Estonia and indicated that rye is an important nutritious crop that helps combat climate change and is suitable for semi desert areas, harsh environments, winter conditions and rocky soils, capable of increasing soil drainage, soil moisture and help cleaning up the topsoil. In that regard, the Director-General noted the recently launched Global Action on One Country One Priority Product. The initiative aims to boost the value chains of special agricultural products to ensure food security, improve nutrition, increase incomes and preserve the environment.

The pair also discussed ways to help put Sustainable Development Goal 2 to achieve Zero Hunger back on track and explore landmark events for joint advocacy of FAO and the Republic of Estonia for food and nutrition security.

The President expressed her appreciation for the standard setting work of FAO, noting that the effect of climate change is visible everywhere and that more than 60 percent of the global economy is now under the climate pledge. The Director-General mentioned that he has appointed the first Chief Scientist in the history of FAO, part of an effort to improve the science-policy interface and make FAO more open, diverse and inclusive.

The pair further discussed the need for open and more sustainable agri-food systems. In that respect the Director-General mentioned FAO's new Strategic Framework 2022-2031 that seeks to support the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.