Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

2020 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 

Side Event: “Urgent Action on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development –
Update on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework with a focus on how biodiversity contributes to Planetary and Human Health”


Remarks by Dr. QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General 

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

As delivered


Ladies and Gentlemen, 


1. As the world faces an unprecedented pandemic, we must recognize and value the deep connection between people and planet. 

2. While our immediate priority is to tackle the public health emergency and ensure continued food supply, our long-term response must address the underlying causes of pandemics. The loss and degradation of biodiversity is increasing the risk and exposure of people to emerging diseases. 

3. Over the past years, FAO has made good progress to mainstream biodiversity across agricultural sectors.

  • FAO launched its flagship report on The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, which highlights the need to protect our natural resources, including biodiversity, and the need to conserve and use genetic resources to increase productivity. 
  • FAO adopted its Strategy on Mainstreaming Biodiversity across Agricultural Sectors, a strategy that ultimately aims to reduce the negative impacts of agricultural practices on biodiversity and to promote sustainable agricultural practices. As far as I am aware, we are the first UN Organization with such Strategy. Our Members are now guiding us on the Action Plan to implement the Strategy over the next 3 years. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

4. Restoring the links between people and nature is vital to feed the world in a sustainable manner. We all agree that business as usual is not an option. We know that despite all our technological advances we are dependent on healthy ecosystems for our health and food.

5. Our corporate Strategy on biodiversity is also driving our engagement in the development of the post-2020 biodiversity framework since the beginning. We support our sister Organization, the CBD, for example we hosted the 2nd Open-ended Working Group for its development. 

6. We are also a member of an inter-agency task force in support of the preparation of the forthcoming Biodiversity Summit, and I note that the agenda of this meeting looks similar to that of the Summit. FAO will play an active role to make the Summit a success and ensure that agricultural sectors will transform into better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all from the sufferers to the contributors in long term.

7. In the HLPF, our Members have stressed the importance of maintaining the integrity of the 2030 Agenda. FAO council had very successful virtual meeting last Friday with approval of establishment of new Office of SDGs in FAO new structure reform. 

8. As a forum of global governance in the food and agriculture sectors and as UN custodian agency of more than 20 SDG indicators, many of them relevant to agriculture at large, and biodiversity, I can assure you that biodiversity will have a prominent role in FAO’s new Strategic Framework starting from 2022, which will be even more aligned to the SDGs. 

9. FAO therefore stands ready to become a custodian agency for those targets and indicators of the Global Biodiversity Framework that fall within our mandate. 

10. I have just established new Offices and Centers on cross-sectoral matters. Biodiversity, zoonoses and food safety are on the top priority. Lets’ strengthen and scale up integrated approaches like biodiversity, food diversity, climate change and One Health, which address the dynamics of the human-animal-ecosystem interface. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

11. All sectors and the whole of society and government need to collaborate on our path to transformation. 

12. Now, more than ever, we must work together to build a better future, better manage and conserve our precious biodiversity for food diversity in sustainable food systems and healthy food for all.

13. You can count on FAO to be your partner in these efforts!

Thank you!