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

75th Anniversary of FAO (World Food Day 2020)

Brussels Celebration

Opening Remarks by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

16 October (Friday) 2020, 10:00 AM Rome Time

As delivered


Honourable Vice President of the European Parliament,

Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture,

Dear colleagues and friends,

1. It is my pleasure, on this morning of 40th anniversary observance on World Food Day since 16th of October ,1981, to be here with our valued partners from the European Union and others.

2. On this 2020, we, celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of FAO UN, have a very special meaning – for FAO and for the global fight against hunger and malnutrition.

3. 75 years ago today, at the end of the Second World War, millions of people starved to death. Farming was devastated. The world needed to restart agriculture and meet the most basic of human needs. Nations came together and FAO was established first.

4. In 75 years, FAO has helped to grow, nourish, and sustain the bounty of our soils, forests and oceans, and the people who depend on them. This would not have been possible without the support of our partners and expertise all over the world, especially from Europe.

5. I would like to thank the European Union and its Member States for the excellent partnership and collaboration throughout the years.

6. Let me also thank the European Parliamentarians and Members of the European Parliamentary Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition who are hosting today’s event. Their continued efforts to ensure that the issues of food and nutrition remain high on our political agenda are paramount for global food security.

7. Clearly, our work is not done yet. Together with all key stakeholders, we are working to find long-term solutions and address the key drivers of food crises.

8. Last week, World Food Programme established in 1961 as FAO's subsidiary agency was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize. This well-deserved recognition brings new attention to our common and urgent mission. It highlights the continued need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation for the millions of people who remain vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition in all its forms.

9. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly revealed the fragility of our agri-food systems and added to the challenges that lie ahead.

10. We are addressing these challenges with the help of FAO’s comprehensive COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme. It focuses on enhancing data collection, social protection and poverty-reduction, trade and food safety standards, and preparedness against the risk of the next zoonotic pandemic. Building back better, 4 betters e.g. better production, better nutrition, better environment and a better life for all.

11. But we will need a radical transformation of global agri-food systems to bring us closer to a hunger-free world.

12. With new FAO, we are building more transparent, more accountable and more collaborative on our partnerships with governments, academia, civil society and the private sector. We are in constant pursuit of innovation to better serve Members. And we need your adequate assistance and win-win cooperation to do these.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
13. In closing, let me thank the other high-level speakers at this virtual event, and their organizations, for the continued support provided to FAO in fulfilling our mandate.

14. With your continued commitment, working together, we can make real and sustainable change in people’s lives worldwide.

15. Tomorrow begins today. Let us aim high and take more concrete actions, until a World Food Day comes when we can look back and say: Mission Accomplished!

Thank you!