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

FAO High–Level Event to Commemorate 
the Fifth Anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

The role of the agricultural sectors in achieving the Paris Agreement 
and building back better

Speaking points for the Director-General

14 December 2020 

As prepared


Distinguished Guests, 

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

1. I welcome you to this commemorative event for the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, co-organized by FAO and France. 

2. We are honored to be joined by Ms Laurence Tubiana, the High-Level Climate champion who brought COP21 to a success, with the adoption of the Paris Agreement.

3. Professor Tubiana is also a friend of sustainable development and matters related to food and agriculture. 

4. The Paris Agreement promises to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius – preferably below 1.5 degrees – and to accelerate and intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. 

5. The agreement also recognizes the "fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the impacts of climate change”.

6. The world’s population is growing and we must use our planet’s finite natural resources more efficiently and avoid that millions continue to join the ranks of the hungry.

7. Therefore, we need to urgently transform the way we grow our food for people and the planet.

8. Business as usual is not an option, especially as we must also face the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

9. We need to interact differently with our environment; we need to enact approaches for land use that increase productivity while avoiding soil degradation and pollution.

10. This can only be done through a radical transformation of our agri-food systems as part of the climate commitments of countries, also known as Nationally Determined Contributions. 

11. Countries have recognized the role of agriculture in climate change ever since the adoption of the Koronivia Decision at COP23 in 2017 in Germany under the Presidency of Fiji. 

12. Since then, FAO has considerably stepped up its support to develop and implement national plans and commitments.

13. FAO strongly advocates for the adoption of production practices that harness the power of innovation and digital technologies to reduce food loss and waste and restore the productivity of degraded agricultural lands.  

14. Through our Hand-in-Hand Initiative, we aim to accelerate this agricultural transformation.  

15. For instance, the Hand-in-Hand Geospatial Data Platform and the complementary Earth Map developed with Google, provide Members with valuable real-time data that support strategic decision-making.

16. And today, we are launching the FAO Climate Change Knowledge Hub to help countries adapt to the impact of climate change in agriculture. 

17. The Hub will be presented later and I would like to thank the Government of Germany for its support. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

18. FAO supports its Members in building capacity to help them fulfil and scale-up their commitments under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

19. Under the NDC Partnership, FAO facilitates the Thematic Working Group on Agriculture, Food Security and Land Use to share knowledge, experiences and solutions. 

20. FAO helps countries access climate financeOur portfolio under the Green Climate Fund currently has 13 projects worth almost USD 800 million.

21. To strengthen rural-urban linkages in September, FAO launched the Green Cities Initiative to help make cities more resilient to climate impacts and promote sustainable resources management.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

22. As 2020 comes to a close, we must commit to a recovery that can lift people out of hunger and poverty while protecting our planet. 

23. Looking forward to 2021, I would like to acknowledge the United Kingdom for its UN Climate Change COP26 Presidency and Italy for leading the Pre-COP and for its G20 Presidency

24. FAO stands ready to work with you all in the framework of these major international events. 

25. We will continue to assist countries in raising their climate ambitions for a better future through better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.

26. Let us show nature the reverence it deserves and prepare ourselves to set the table for 10 billion people with healthy diets!

Thank you.