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

High-Level Launch of the FAO-UNDP-UNEP Report

 A MULTI-BILLION-DOLLAR OPPORTUNITY: Repurposing agricultural support to transform food systems

 Opening Remarks

By

Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

 As delivered

14 September 2021

 

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

1.         Our agri-food systems are facing difficult challenges, and need our collective commitment.

 

2.         Current trends show we are not providing the necessary support for transformation of agri-food systems to be MORE efficient,inclusive,resilient and sustainable.

 

3.         It is time to rethink, repurpose,reform and restart.

 

4.         Today’s report clearly points out that we have at hand a -trillion-dollar-opportunity to repurpose government support together with private sector to agri-food systems.

 

5.         For Better Production, Better Nutrition,a Better Environment and a Better Life for all – leaving no one behind!

 

6.         This is also at the core of FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031.

 

7.         About 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020 – as many as 161 million more than in 2019 – and nearly 2.37 billion people did not have access to adequate foods.

 

8.         Healthy diets are out of reach for around 3 billion people.

 

9.         We are clearly not on track to achieve SDG2 and SDG1 by 2030!

 

10.       And we only have nine seasons in which to do so.

 

11.       At the same time, with the pandemic still hitting us hard, and with the continued devastating impacts of the climate crisis, achieving all the SDGs has become even more daunting.

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

12.       Agri-food systems are essential to achieving the SDGs. 

 

13.       But this cannot be accomplished without their transformation to address today’s realities.

 

14.       There are several entry points for this transformation, and agri-food policies are key.

 

15.       Agri-food systems feed and nourish us all, and are the source of livelihood for billions of people.

 

16.       Yet, the current agri-food support policies are steering us away from ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

 

17.       Globally, about 540 billion US Dollars are spent per year supporting agri-food systems, at a time when many countries’ public finances are constrained in the face of the pandemic.

 

18.       It is unacceptable that more than one-half of this support contributes to distorted prices, and unsustainable production with negative effects on the environment.

 

19.       Furthermore, many small farmers do not have access to a financial lifeline,

 

20.       And billions of dollars are not being invested for supporting the production and post harvest handling of nutritious foods for healthy diets.

 

21.       We must find better ways to repurpose this support!

 

22.       These resources must be diverted towards investment in public goods and services for agri-food systems, such as infrastructure,  research and development,and assistance to young farmers.

 

23.       Repurposing  means not only spending more, but also financing better.

 

24.       We must eliminate bottlenecks that are holding back potential, by increasing institutional coordination and up-skilling civil servants to better implement projects.

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

25.       There is a momentous opportunity before us: a trillion-dollar opportunity to improve the lives of people, and the planet!

 

26.       How do we do that?

 

27.       The report sets out six concrete steps for governments to implement a repurposing strategy with all stakeholders.

 

28.       With the UN Food Systems Summit around the corner, it is the perfect opportunity for the world to commit to bolder actions.

 

29.       FAO is committed to supporting its Members and working closely with all partners to transform our agri-food systems for a better world with no Hunger and no extreme poverty!

 

30.       Thank you.

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