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

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding between FAO and Argentina

Speech of the Director-General

As delivered


Your Excellency, President Fernández,

  1. First of all, I would like to express my deep condolences on the passing away of Mr Diego Armando Maradona, a memory of the history and our times.
  2. Ten months ago, I had the special privilege of welcoming you to FAO during your visit to Rome.
  3. Last Friday, I had the special chance of having audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. We had a good discussion about Argentina, about yourself, and about Her Majesty the Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.
  4. On Sunday, you stated your concerns about Marginalization and Modernization during the G20 Leaders’ Summit, which I participated as well. I listened carefully to your instructions, your concerns and your hopes. On behalf of FAO, I will try my best to bring attention to Argentina, to understand your concerns and try to solve them as part of my agenda of FAO Director-General.
  5. We agreed then, that we would join forces to fight hunger and food insecurity in Argentina.  
  6. You also expressed your interest in FAO’s technical assistance to transform your agri-food systems to make them more environmentally sustainable and more inclusive of small and medium-scale family farmers.  
  7. We shared a common vision of Argentina, expanding its important role as a leading producer of nutritious foods for the world’s growing population.
  8. I have just told my colleagues: Argentina has full potential not only for Argentinian people, not only for your region, but for the global food security. As FAO Director-General, we should contribute our efforts together with you, to make this long strategy become a reality. Furthermore, I should mention one special report to you. You really have selected a good Ambassador for me. We have built a very close relationship to work on the common agenda together.  
  9. We have achieved a lot together in these ten months. 
  10. Your government has advanced in the implementation of the Argentina without Hunger plan. 
  11. FAO is behind you in this important initiative, providing analysis and technical assistance on the social protection components, and on improving the participation of small-scale farmers. 
  12. We are confident that with this Plan and with your leadership, Argentina can and will defeat hunger and restore its food and nutrition security, not only for Argentina, as I said, but also for the world. If we can manage that together, it will be one of the biggest ambitions so far to feed 400 million people in the world. It is not only your own business; it should be a global agenda.
  13. Just a few days ago, together we secured 82 million dollars from the Green Climate Fund to mitigate climate change by protecting, restoring and sustainably using your forests, supporting the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and livestock producers. I personally pushed the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund to support Argentina. We have succeeded to get that project, but it is just the start. We need to work together to implement this new program.
  14. We are also starting the implementation of a new GEF project to combat soil desertification, and we are expanding our collaboration, which also involves the private sector, to reduce food losses and waste.
  15. In all this work, we collaborate with at least three of your ministers: of Agriculture, of Environment, and of Social Development. 
  16. Importantly, we have established a firm and fruitful partnership with First Lady Fabiola Yañez, who is an active regional champion to support the rights of rural women. 
  17. I thank her for her important work and her partnership with us.

    Dear Mr. President,  

  18. When you came to FAO in February, you proposed that we be concrete in our actions. 
  19. As you can see, we have kept our promise. Our staff in Buenos Aires, in the Regional Office in Chile, and in Rome, are all working to support Argentina. We think big, and we do concrete. 
  20. However, when we met in early February, we did not yet imagine the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic and its health, economic and social impacts. 
  21. Therefore, we need to do more, and to do better.
  22. You are a firm believer in multilateralism, and this is very important to defeat the pandemic, achieve the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement.  
  23. Argentina is a very important agricultural producer and exporter at the global level. 
  24. I propose that FAO and Argentina join forces to promote the necessary changes in the global food systems, for better production, better nutrition, better environment, and better lives. 
  25. We need the commitment and, even more, the leadership of countries such as yours, because the pandemic has reminded us in a very dramatic manner that transformative change to our agri-food systems is the answer. 
  26. While recovering from the pandemic, we need to build better agri-food systems, making them more innovative, productive and competitive, but also more inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and climate-friendly. 
  27. You can count on FAO to continue being your trusted partner in this endeavor.
  28. Because of what we have done in less than one year of working together, and because there is so much more joint work in front of us, it is an honor for me to sign this important Memorandum of Understanding that cements the bond between Argentina and FAO.
  29. Let us walk the talk. I will lead a group of experts to visit your beautiful country when the condition allows me to do so, in order to holistically look at your country’s big potentials with so many advantages and how to assist you to accomplish your mission. Thank You.

Thank you.