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

Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 
Virtual High-level Pledging Event: “A fund for all, by all” 

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Intervention by Dr QU Dongyu

Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

As delivered


Dear Mark,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I start to commend the OCHA and CERF for your extraordinary jobs you have led in this extraordinary year. And also to generous donors for your timely and flexible supports.

2. A once-in-a-generation desert locust upsurge has swept across the Horn of Africa and threatened livelihoods far beyond, into Asia and West Africa. 

3. A global pandemic has brought lives and livelihoods to a sudden halt, pushed millions into unemployment and poverty and worsened already high levels of acute hunger. 

4. The shocks of 2020 will reverberate long into 2021

5. I am deeply concerned by rising number of people facing Emergency levels of acute food insecurity in the vulnerable. 

6. Unless we act now, and act at scale

7. When people begin to move from crisis to emergency and from emergency to catastrophe levels of acute hunger a key driving factor is the irreversible depletion of their livelihoods. 

8. And that is why FAO is advocating so strongly to invest in emergency agriculture interventions. Early warning and early action help to minimize the impacts. Hand in Hand Initiative Geospatial platform driving by Big Data offered deliverable service to vulnerable members.

9. Four out of five people living in food crisis contexts rely on some form of agriculture for their survival. 

10. Rescuing those livelihoods not only saves their lives today but gives them hope for tomorrow!

11. CERF has been instrumental in supporting livelihood-saving interventions in 2020, providing almost USD 44 million to this end, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership. 

12. In 2020, CERF took the first step to moving early action from a much-discussed but ultimately small-scale activity to a broader scale. 

13. This genuinely anticipated and reduced the impact of crises in contexts like Bangladesh and Somalia. Donors can count on CERF and they are able to deliver tangible results for most vulnerable.

14. CERF support was also critical in catalysing funding for the desert locust control operations that have protected over 2.5 million tonnes of food in the Horn of Africa and Yemen alone, enough to feed more than 16.5 million people for a year. 

15. FAO counts on CERF to continue upscaling this support to anticipatory action and to saving livelihoods so we can avert the worst effects of crises and protect the lives of millions of people.

Thank you. Over to you, Mark.