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

FAO Director-General Opening Statement

“The role of the private sector in a sustainable food system”
Global Dairy Platform 14th Annual Meeting

Thursday, 24 September 2020

As prepared



Executive Director Donald Moore,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. It is my pleasure to address you at the Global Dairy Platform’s virtual 14th Annual Meeting.

2. The dairy sector plays a critical role in sustainable food systems and can contribute directly and indirectly to all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

3. Milk and milk products are an essential component of nutritious, healthy and diverse diets and are key to the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of farmers and pastoralists.

4. Beyond food production, dairy animals play other important economic, cultural and social roles and provide multiple functions and services, including animal traction, energy and fertilizer for crops. As an essential part of agro-ecosystems, they provide a range of important ecosystem services.

5. To meet the growing global demand, world milk production is expected to grow by 35 to 45% between 2012 and 2050.

6. This offers substantial opportunities for food security gains and improved human nutrition, while providing employment to millions of rural women and youth, improving resource-use efficiency as well as household’s livelihoods and resilience.

7. For this to happen, the productivity and income of small-scale dairy producers needs to be improved. And we need to promote sustainable and resilient production, small scale processing and proper functioning of food markets.

8. That is why I have made building strong partnerships with the private sector a priority of FAO.

9. We are eager to strengthen and deepen our engagement with the private sector, through mutually beneficial collaboration at country level to better support our Members in reaching the SDGs.

10. And let me be very clear: this is not a matter of asking the private sector to fund FAO! What we want to achieve is a solid cooperation where Members benefit from the expertise, the technological know-how and the innovative approach of the private sector on the ground.

11. And the private sector can rely on FAO as a source of science-based evidence and data.

12. The Hand-in-Hand Initiative and its newly introduced geospatial data platform offer a new business model for partnerships, combined with up-to-date information that allows for a true leap in analysis and decision-making.

13. We are also finalizing a new Private Sector Strategy that will broaden engagement to a wider geographical and thematic range of private sector actors, with special emphasis on partnering for innovation and leveraging investments into developing countries.

14. By redesigning our private sector screening and due diligence procedures, we are streamlining our engagement process for partnerships.

15. So we have the tools and the willingness to take our cooperation to a new level and work together towards a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable dairy sector, and assisting Members to maximize the sector’s contribution towards achieving the SDGs.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

16. The success of the SDGs relies to a large extent on effective monitoring, review and follow-up processes.

17. As ‘custodian’ UN agency for 21 SDG indicators and ‘contributing’ agency for five more, FAO works with the International Dairy Federation and the Global Dairy Platform to identify the SDGs and SDG indicators that the dairy sector will focus on and how the sector will monitor and report on progress.

18. FAO will continue to support the sector’s need to strengthen its work on reporting progress.

19. Many substantial challenges are between us and achieving a sustainable dairy sector: transboundary diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19, adverse effects of climate change, variable farm gate prices, disrupted transport, cooling and processing, and antimicrobial resistance.

20. Overcoming these challenges requires public and private partnerships in disease control and a well-integrated dairy sector with good communication, collaboration and relationships between the different actors.

21. Together, we have to continue supporting small-scale producers and investing in dairy sector development, especially last mile technology that will allow more smallholder producers to join the dairy market, access to vaccines and alternatives to anti-microbials, in research and innovation, including digital solutions, to build a stronger, more productive and sustainable dairy sector.

22. FAO is ready to intensify its work with you to realize the “four betters”: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.

Thank you.