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

AP-in-FAO General Assembly 

Statement by the Director-General

Thursday, 25 March 2021

As prepared



Dear Colleagues,

1. The wellbeing of all employees and improved working conditions have been a priority of mine since day one.

2. I am pleased to see how our concrete actions of the past 20 months have made a real difference in that respect.

3. I am proud to see that FAO has become a better place to work.

4. Concrete actions make a difference: such as extending maternity leave, improving insurance conditions, solving the Break-in-Service matter for short-term employees, establishing a Workplace Integrity Task Force and many more.

5. And our focus on transparency and accountability at all levels created a new enabling work environment.

6. This included building a relation of trust and respect with the Staff Representative Bodies.

7. The commitment to work with you in a constructive dialogue became even more important during these difficult times when we need to collaborate to ensure the safety of all of us.

8. From the start of the COVID-19 emergency, we maintained an open and regular channel of communication with the Staff Representative Bodies to ensure rapid dissemination of information and timely updates on the evolving situation.

9. I am pleased to see that this commitment has now become the operating practice.

10. The role of the Crisis Management Team (CMT) has been critical in keeping FAO employees around the world safe, while at the same time facilitating their ability to deliver on the Organization’s mandate under exceptionally challenging circumstances.

11. Internal communication has been unprecedented over the past year to keep employees informed and engaged.

12. HR policy guidelines on the management of all personnel was issued only a few days after the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy, to provide guidance and ensure all employees knew what they needed to do.

13. As the situation evolved, the guidelines were adjusted and updated, and we are now at its seventh version.

14. I am pleased with the feedback received from the survey launched in December 2020, which shows that FAO has taken the required duty of care for its employees during this pandemic.


Dear Colleagues,

15. We still have many challenging issues to work on in 2021, such as building a new and better “normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic, and adapting business continuity to this new reality for an effective and efficient delivery of FAO’s mandate. 

16. I look forward to continuing to work together with the Staff Representative Bodies, and through the Staff-Management Consultative Committee, as constructive partners in addressing the challenges ahead and finding effective and innovative solutions during this complex phase.

17. I thank all FAO employees, in all locations, for their hard work to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis and continue delivering.

18. I urge you to continue to keep safe in these challenging circumstances.

19. Let us continue working with dedication and commitment for FAO’s noble mission of fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

20. Thank you.