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

Hundred and Twenty-Ninth Session of Progromme Committee

Hundred and Eighty-Third Session of Finance Committee

Closing Remarks

Dr. QU Dongyu, Director-General, FAO

17:00 (Rome Time) 13 November 2020

As delivered



Thank you, Chairperson.

Distinguished Members of the Programme and Finance Committees,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


  1. Good evening!

  2. At the end of this Session of the Joint Meeting, I would like to thank you all for your contributions.

  3. I would also like to express my appreciation for your professionalism, your deep thinking, your way of running business.

  4. I listened to your views and feedbacks, looking at the same issues from different angles.

  5. I think it is a good way to change the business model and to support for the transformative agenda I have introduced.

  6. Mr. Chairman, Hans, you are from Europe. You have asked for transparency for so many years. I had already started three dimensional transparency in FAO. Now, it comes the time for you to be transparent.

  7. You have already spent 7 hours. I think it is a worthy way to do so. It is a real way of getting your true thinking from your heart, not just from your head.

  8. I appreciate your support for the transparent manner with which we are going about the renewal of FAO.

  9. Your positive reactions and comments on the new Strategic Framework are well received.

  10. I know it is just a start. It is a living document. First, we have a strategic design. Then, we will have action plans for implementations. We just start a long journey. However, a good beginning is a half success.

  11. I was also pleased to hear the equally positive feedback on the new Strategy for Private Sector Engagement.

  12. Your contributions help us re-energize the private sector engagement. The previous version of this strategy was endorsed in 2013, about 8 years ago and its preparation started even 10 years ago. During the past 10 years, tremendous changes have taken place outside of FAO.

  13. We have to catch up with the new scenario, new atmosphere, new way of doing business, which have been happening outside of FAO. We have to transform FAO through taking small steps in a continuous manner. We cannot make changes happen in a great leap. Members help us take three quick small steps instead of one big leap.

  14. Different Members have different judgements and various preferences. At first, some developing countries are concerned about it. Now, some developed nations are concerned about it. However, no matter it is a developing or developed country, I will build One FAO to deliver more to the Members.

  15. I am very satisfied to hear many professional proposals and recommendations from you about these two documents. They are big gifts for the upcoming Session of Council. This is a solid partnership.

  16. I always welcome the constructive and critical ideas. If your suggestions are not critical, they are not good enough. If they are only critical, but not constructive, they are also not good enough.  Constructive and critical suggestions will challenge my colleagues. I need you to challenge them. Today, I think it is a good lesson for all the senior managers here.

  17. Let me assure you that we will continue this consultative process in the same transparent way.

  18. It is not a one-time solution. We will keep you updated when it is necessary, on a regular and irregular basis.

  19. During the past 15 months, we organized so many informal and formal consultations. That is a way to build three dimensional transparency. 

  20. And we will keep you informed on their implementation all along.

  21. Meanwhile, we also have to be realistic.

  22. During the past months since lockdown, my colleagues of core leadership including myself, we organized and participated in so many meetings to improve FAO’s visibility and expand FAO’s engagement.

  23. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, once we finished a travel to attend one meeting, at least we could have several days to re-think and re-charge. Now, the meetings are becoming highly intensive.

  24. During the lunch time today, I had a signing ceremony with the GCF, who just approved three projects. Originally, GCF only approved two projects. I pushed them to approve more projects submitted by FAO. Now, they approved three projects, about 160 million USD in total.

  25. We are not lazy.

  26. You mentioned that documents in all UN languages should be ready two weeks before the meeting.

  27. Because of the pandemic, our previous PC/FC meeting was delayed, then we organized all the regional conferences smoothly.

  28. I really appreciate all my senior managers’ hard work, cooperation, commitment and industriousness.

  29. We have to be realistic because of the current challenges we are facing.

  30. I want to take this opportunity to share with you some of my ideas on solidarity, development and inclusiveness.

  31. Solidarity starts with a willingness. First, you should have a willingness to cooperate with others. Place yourself in other people’s position. I always think what the challenges will be for my DDGs, Chiefs and Directors when I assign them relevant tasks. I also think what the challenges will be for the Permanent Representatives here in Rome. If I don’t think in your shoes, in your position, there will be no empathy. Then, we need constructiveness. If you are honest enough and constructive enough, you will make business much more smoothly and understand each other from heart to heart.

  32. Then, we need transparency. I have created so many transparency. During the previous Joint Meeting of PC and FC, we discussed a lot on reporting lines. I sensed that at that time nobody believed that I would do more than what you had expected. Actually, I designed it in a professional and holistic manner. It was not a flashing idea crossing my mind all of sudden. Transparency does not mean that we will open everything to you in small pieces. When you come to my house for the Chinese food, I can offer you not only tailor-made individual vegetables, but also can cook a special flavor for you.

  33. As for the Private Sector Strategy, it takes Beth Bechdol so much effort. And all the other members of the core leadership also provided their comments and suggestions. We are really building a collective core leadership management. We aim at reaching consensus in the core leadership.

  34. Consensus means to agree with disagree. Flexibility does not mean you lost your battlefield. UN is a consensus building culture. It is not a win-or-lose game. We only have a way out with consensus, compromise and agree to disagree. That is a way to build a universal solidarity among all FAO Members, between Members and the Secretariat, and among FAO staff. That’s a way I am managing FAO so far.

  35. Development is not just for developing countries. It should be for all the Members, even including the richest Member. That is why we have the largest consensus on SDGs 2030, no matter you are a rich, vulnerable or middle-income country. SDGs were widely adopted by UN in 2015. That is the first layer of consensus on development being endorsed at the widest level.

  36. We need three dimensions for development: social, economic and environmental.

  37. We need holistic and coherent design, across the Members and within a Member for different sectors and different sub-national levels.

  38. We should help Members, not matter you are from OECD, or developing, or LDC, or small-island states. You need enabling policies to help farmers to achieve rural development. You need responsible investment. You need innovation. You need capacity development of human capital.

  39. Although different countries have different development levels and stages, all of us will have to follow this strategy framework.

  40. Inclusiveness.

  41. Narrow down the gap between the rich and the poor. Narrow down the gap between the urban and the rural. We need to reduce the gap between the male and female: gender inequality. 

  42. These three gaps exist all over the world. No matter you are a rich country or a poor country.

  43. We need inclusive policy. Then, we should be guided by the common benchmark. We need the global benchmark. Then, we can have differentiate treatments. Then, we need a big heart with passion. Finally, we can really build up a humanity for a peaceful and better world.

  44. FAO is a big family.

  45. Your contribution is not only for yourself and your own country, but is also for this big family.

  46. Our planet is a small village. We have to take care of this small village. We have to take the risks facing this small village together.

  47. It is time to understand each other, take care of each other, for a better world.

  48. Let’s us roll up our sleeves and get work done first.

  49. For a dynamic, inclusive, innovative and effective FAO!

Thank you.