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

Tenth Anniversary of the Global Food Security Cluster 

11 November 2020

FAO Director-General Statement

As prepared


Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. In the ten years since its founding, the Global Food Security Cluster has fully demonstrated its value on global efforts to fight acute food insecurity. 

2. At a cost of around 50 cents for every 100 US Dollars of food security intervention, the Cluster is bringing greater coherence to interventions in humanitarian crises across the world.

3. Today, the Cluster is active in 33 countriesbringing together 51 partners on average in each of these contexts.

4. The Cluster plays a critical role in amplifying the voices and priorities of local responders who are on the frontlines. 

5. Last year, the Food Security Cluster cooperated with 1 000 partners at country level.

6. And the Cluster’s leadership has come even more to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

7. From the very outset of the pandemic, the Cluster has provided technical support and guidance to help partners on the ground adapt to a deeply uncertain and rapidly changing operating environment. 

8. The Cluster’s COVID-19 technical working group involves 106 people from 38 organizations.

9. FAO is proud to co-lead the Cluster with our sister agency, WFP, and to work with such a diverse range of partners to aim that no one is left behind.

10. It is through our collective efforts that we can achieve more and better. Thanks to a united call to meet the growing food needs of millions and to stabilize food supply chains, FAO and WFP have ensured that food security became one of the cornerstones of the global response to the pandemic and peace building up.

11. In many ways, the Cluster represents three of my key principles as a leaderbreaking down silosincreasing the exchange of expertise and sharing information.

12. There has never been a greater need to break down silos than today, as we face a global crisis of unprecedented proportions that is pushing millions towards hunger and malnutrition. 

13. For FAO, 2020 has been a year of reform and efficiency; and our role within the Cluster is part of these. 

14. Together with you, the Cluster partners, we are greatly enhancing services of data and information sharing, reducing duplication of efforts on the ground, working through active learning, and collaborating more proactively.

15. We are deeply committed to partnership and our most impactful collaboration is at the country level. 

16. For example, the number of joint FAO-WFP programmes has almost doubled since 2017, reaching more than 50 countries today.

17. In today’s uncertain and fast-changing environment, the Cluster is helping to bridge immediate humanitarian response and longer-term resilience, including as an active member of the Global Network Against Food Crises. 

18. Reflecting a key principle of FAO, the Cluster places governments and national systems at the forefront, complementing and reinforcing existing systems to ensure local ownership and strengthen local capacity, especially in high-risk contexts. 

19. For example, the current Desert Locust response in East Africa, where FAO supports national authorities that are leading control operations, with many local partners and NGOs involved in raising community awareness, flagging locust infestations, and safeguarding livelihoods. 

20. The Cluster is also leading efforts to hold us all accountable – to our Members, to our donors and above all, to the people we serve. 

21. Through strong monitoring and evaluation systems, and active sharing of data and information, the Cluster plays a pivotal role in ensuring our joint delivery of timely assistance, without gaps or duplication.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

22. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are adding to conflict, extreme weather events, pest outbreaks, and economic turbulence in increasing the number of people in high levels of acute food insecurity.

23. Maintaining the status quo is simply not viable if we are to effectively address and prevent food crises and reduce the number of people in need. 

24. That is what our Members expect from us: to move forward and innovateto produce results by adapting new challenges.

25. FAO is committed to continuing its engagement with all of you in seeking new ways to improve and refine the Cluster and its work in order to ensure that it remains fit for purpose in a fast-changing world. 

26. Thank you.