المدير العام  شو دونيو
Qu Dongyu بيانات المدير العام
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Annual Director-General Address to Staff  & 25 Year Service Medal Ceremony

13 January 2020

Dear Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

As this is the first time that I am addressing you in 2020, I want to start by wishing you, your families and your beloveds, a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

You know what I was really thinking when I presented the medals to you? First of all, I thought that I am so happy, so pleased. Secondly, I am so jealous, because in my life I will have no chance of receiving a 25 year medal at all. But I am from Asia, from China, and immediately in one second, I find my own solution. Those who have a chance to receive the medal within the next four years, the next eight years, the next years to come, you can count down your 25, 30 years. But those like myself, who do not have the chance to receive the 25 years medal, even a 20 years medal, we can work hard to make life short and thick in FAO. More contributions, more efficiency, we can spend one year to equal a normal five years. I can make my own 25, 30, even 40 years medal by myself!

Later today I am going to address the young employees, they are not your age, but they have arrived last year, in 2019. They started their FAO career in the same year as me. Like Maximo Torero here also, even he is not young anymore, he has no chance to receive the 25 years medal, but let’s do better and as I said, we can make our own.

I mention that to you because we have started to recognize and appreciate the senior staff who have spent most of their life here. 25 years, it is a quarter of a century. You can say it is short, it is maybe historically short, but for your life it is very long.

I also recognize three ladies that are much younger than they really are, even if I didn’t check their age, you know why? Because there are four kinds of ages.

You have your natural age, which I don’t know. But it looks like that your psychological age is much younger. Maybe it is 25 to 40 years old.

Then you have the social age, and of course the physical age, which you can control with good and healthy food, with good practice of exercise, and also psychologically by being friendly with your colleagues and your family members, and with your social conduct.

So, I recognize that three of the ladies sitting here are really much younger than their natural age.

Today, we are gathered here to honor our colleagues, who have dedicated 25 years of service to FAO. We are all here to express our sincere appreciation for their commitment and contribution to the Organization. Thank you for your dedication and your determination, for your engagement and your contribution!

By now, you have all witnessed my high consideration and strong belief in the staff of FAO. From the first day of my campaign for Director-General, I said the staff is my real asset to keep this organization vivid, efficient, tangible, and accountable. The numerous decisions and actions taken so far clearly demonstrate this. I am certain that our Organization is only as strong as its staff.

We need to ensure that the young learn from the senior. This is why your 25 years of experience are the wealth that we cherish and the strength that we are proud of. Before Christmas, I held a social dinner with the Independent Chairperson of the Council. He has worked for FAO for 50 years, so I think it is good for him and for our Organization.

Our Organization is a global one. I am therefore pleased to note that for the very first time, the FAO field staff who will be honored today are joining this ceremony via video conference.

I asked the photographers to make my photograph more beautiful, and you can Photoshop it with the receivers of the medals. They can make it because one gentleman from Viet Nam is an expert in digital matters. He knows how to Photoshop, so just make sure that my photo is as good as it should be, they can make the best, they will make the Photoshop together.

Because no matter where you are serving, at headquarters or in the field, your contribution is recognized, valued and appreciated. As I said, I want to build ‘One FAO’, not only among the Member Countries - they used to be split into several political groups. Each country has a different national interest, which is understandable. It is also a reality not only for FAO but for other UN Organizations. We have so-called staff, we have so-called employees, with so-called national staff, you name it, also part-time consultants; that is a complicated category created by Human Resources. But we are all working for FAO with the same mission, the same mentality, working for our people on this planet.

Of course, the rules are there and you have different arrangements. I got a contract different from the Deputy Directors-General, which is also a reality you also have to respect. Different arrangements have different rules, national staff or consultants, or even PWB, some are project-based, so there are a lot of complicated things. Each category has different rules. Of course, some rules have room to improve later but it takes time.

Our colleagues receiving the medal today come from nine countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

As I said all of you were recruited by Mr Diouf, the late Director-General, he passed away last August. Your qualifications, your contributions, you reminded me, it was his decision - and he made the right decision - to recruit you, we should appreciate him first. You have become brothers and sisters as part of the big FAO family.

Dear Colleagues, as you know, since I took office 5 months ago, I had a very dynamic and active start. This afternoon we are going to have a gathering with 242 new staff recruited in 2019, from 104 countries. So, you can see the representativeness there, because most of you in this room will not participate in this afternoon’s event. I mention this because we are really well and respectfully represented, geographically, based on merit and qualifications.

I also appreciate the professional selection and recruitment evaluation of my colleagues from Human Resources and also my senior colleagues because all the pre-selection evaluation is done by my colleagues. I respect and trust them, so I think you can see the results; 242 people from 104 countries is even beyond my own expectations. I thought there might be 80 countries.

We ended 2019 with a successful Council session, which approved the establishment of an Innovation Office, the Biodiversity Cluster and the Office for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs). The Council also endorsed the proposed adjustments to the organizational structure and the creation of the Women’s Committee and the Youth Committee.

Council also confirmed the appointment of our new Deputy Director-General, Ms Elizabeth Bechdol, and expressed strong support for the Hand in Hand Initiative. These are strong signs of trust in the new FAO and a vote of confidence for my vision of the future of our Organization.

We will continue to improve the working methods of this Organization and instill transparency and accountability, while ensuring that the voice of FAO is heard on the international stage. We are also working for the same goals, but it is really challenging.

In this respect, let me mention a few of the upcoming activities.

In a few days, I will attend the Green Week in Berlin, where we will present FAO’s vision of Digital Agriculture and our concept for a future Digital Council. This was started in 2016 together with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Ministers who came to Germany last year. They asked FAO to look at the international council on digital farming and rural development. I made a joke there, I ordered the food and now I start to pay the bill.

In the following week, I will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, where FAO will address the paramount relevance of transforming food systems for the future of our planet.

FAO should participate in all the important events to make our FAO vision more supported and more understood by others, not our own. It is like the Japanese who created the karaoke. You sing on your own, that is Karaoke. Now we must come to the stage to sing, even if I am not a singer, but last time we got a lot of good singers here.

In the coming months, we will hold the FAO Regional Conferences. This morning, I had a preparation meeting together with my colleagues. We wanted to change the business model of the Regional Conferences to get more ownership by the Members States, not the annual routine Conferences. It is a good platform to integrate our mission approved by the Council meeting to let the Member Countries take over their responsibilities, as they should. Because FAO says repeatedly that it is owned by the Member Countries. They should own responsibilities, Action Plans and also contributions. We do our best, they do their best and it makes beautiful things happen.

We will ensure that the regional perspective of our work and vision is consolidated and confirmed.

This afternoon, as I said, I will have the pleasure to meet the newcomers. I am a newcomer, so let’s work together, learn together and contribute together. As I said on the first day of August last year, I visited all the corridors and I said, work together, learn together. Not only are we learning but also among Members, among the Regional Conferences, and among the staff, it is a way of opening yourself to your neighbours. I know a lot of people working in this building do not chat with their neighbours next door because maybe they work for another division, and everyone is running and is busy with their own business. Of course, this is necessary, but you have to talk with your neighbours, to interact and learn from each other.

I also asked that during the Regional Conferences all the D1 and above should follow it, it is webcasted. I will ask you to brief us and give us your suggestions and your comments. Other regional and senior staff, you have to watch. The first one is APRC (Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific), then comes the NERC (Regional Conference for the Near East). That is a way to understand each other and learn from each other and then you can help each other.

The “seniors” are honored in the morning and the “juniors” are welcomed in the afternoon. That is my philosophy. That is a value we have to transfer from the senior to the young. No matter how old you are, you are junior, right Maximo, we are junior!

This is a new dynamic and inclusive FAO, where experienced staff share their knowledge and their lessons. Your lessons help us to avoid new lessons that we should not have. With our new colleagues who bring fresh ideas and approaches, but we should adapt it to the FAO situation. Each organization has an historic inheritance. Maybe it is good, maybe it is not good, but you have to adapt. That is evolution, evolution based on inheritance. Without inheritance, there is no evolution.

A true implementation of my motto: Let us work together, learn together and contribute together.

That is a real slogan from the way of doing business, the way of life, the way of making friends. If you do not learn from each other, you have no friends. You think that you are number one, so you know everything, no. I always consult with my Assistant Director-General, Deputy Director-General, or even some P5, P4, or P3. The other day I met a young gentleman who is a P2 and he gave me some very good suggestions. I also met one guy who is a consultant from Mali, he thought I forgot him, but I met him on his first day the 5th of August, I remember. I can not remember his name but I remember his face.

Our mission is clear and the tasks ahead of us are big. It is not my own mission, it is a mission for FAO and I hope for the world. Our motivation and dedication are bigger. We are inspired to aim higher! Let us join hands and work together towards a safer, fairer and more peaceful world. This world needs peace, it needs prosperity, and happiness.

A world without poverty and hunger, where no one is left behind. It should be the reality, not only a slogan.
Congratulations to our honorable colleagues once more and thank you for your attention and thank you for your contribution.

I am ready to work with you, listen to you and keep this FAO more dynamic for a better world.

Thank you.