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Director-General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General urges commitment to bring the hunger numbers down

Members commend efforts to bring down administrative costs while keeping close tabs on delivery

FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva addressing the FAO Council today.

7 December 2017, Rome - As the 158th Session of the FAO Council drew to a close today, the FAO Director-General, Jose Graziano da Silva urged member countries to renew their commitment to bringing the numbers of hungry down again. “This commitment is needed from us all,” he said.

World hunger is on the rise as the estimated number of undernourished people increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016 as published in the FAO’s the State of Food Insecurity this year.

Consensus prevailed during the week of deliberations that saw the FAO Council approve the Organization’s financial carry over and adjustments to its 2018-19 Programme of Work and Budget while welcoming efficiencies and savings achieved, particularly in areas of general administration and travel. 

Ongoing measures to improve the delivery of FAO’s strategic programmes through the strengthening of programme coordination and management of its technical capacity also received praise. Although member countries were warned to make good on payment of their assessed contributions or otherwise risk an adverse situation that would undoubtedly compromise delivery to those in need.

Member countries reiterated their appreciation for the introduction of recruitment policies that are more consistent and in line with recommendations stemming from a recent independent assessment of FAO’s technical capacity. FAO currently employs some 2000 consultants who have recently been subject to a competitive process to continue under contract with the Organization.

Support for the Organization’s work in climate change encouraged partnerships with other main actors, to include other UN agencies as well as public private collaboration in the next biennium while continuing the focus on helping those countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Collaboration between FAO and the Rome-based agencies (FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD and World Food Programme, WFP), was recognised as having reached an all-time high in its commitment to focussing on synergies and complementarity between them, especially those that would include South-South and Triangular Cooperation mechanisms. The Council commended recent progress and encouraged continuation in the same vein, particularly at country level where implementation of the Agenda 2030 to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is most crucial.

The Council is the executive arm of FAO's top-level governing body, the Conference. Made of up 49 member countries, the Council convenes between sessions of the main Conference to provide advice and oversight related to programmatic and budgetary matters.