Director General  QU Dongyu
Declaración del Director General de la FAO Qu Dongyu
Solo es auténtico el texto pronunciado

New York, 22 September 2019


Building a Resilient Future Day event


Since I was a professor, I am so happy to be here to share my views. And I just listened to the previous speakers, especially the president of New School.

I just listened to the previous speakers, including the president of New School. That reminds me of what the real “new” is for us. I think the most important is “new thinking”. Let’s unleash our mindset: how to treat agriculture and food, how to treat environmental issues and how to treat multilateral organizations.

What is the real meaning and value for us? That’s something I really ask the audience here and others to rethink.

I always told my students when I was a professor: think three times by yourself and then you will find your own solution, at least three times. Some really good students think five times, and then they find solutions that are really beyond the professor’s expectations.

I am from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It is a professional organization. I am pleased to have been in this post since 1st of August.

We have to value the food and agriculture systems for people, for farmers, for consumers in the city. Because by the year 2050, we will have more than 10 billion people, and 70% at least will live in cities. So consumer-driven agriculture and food will become realistic.

And environmental issues surround agriculture. Because the agriculture we are talking about includes aquaculture, fisheries, marine resources, forestry and also biodiversity. When a lot of people talk about food and agriculture, they think FAO is only about crops. No. Here, agriculture includes all agricultural sectors.

So for myself, I am willing to cooperate with you to find out the problem. I participate in so many meetings - international, regional and national - but how do we think in a holistic way, across borders, across continents? That’s why I think it is a new focus - a “zooming in area” - for multilateral corporation.

And also, if you want to become a famous internationally recognized university, as Columbia University is already famous for classic subjects, I expect you can create your international reputation in new subjects and cross-subjects. That’s what I really expect. 

Education comes first. You should not only educate young people, you should offer a platform - especially here in New York, which is a UN city - to educate all the key players, all society. And then we can really get a consensus; the consensus that all people should be included.

Secondly, we need investment. Investment from rich countries, and also investment for family farmers. Because all family farmers are key players and the last implementers to deal with the environment in a positive way or a negative way. We have to educate family farmers, no matter big farmers in America or smallholders, who are the majority. 84% of farmers all over the world are smallholder farmers. Family farmers are the last quality controllers. So investment should be down to the road, down to the field. Politicians talk a lot of advancing things, but the family farmer should be able follow and implement. Education is not only for students but for whole sectors.

Third, technology. Because we have to rethink how post-industry technology is good for our global village. Not only for agriculture, but for others. Technology is key.

Four is people. We are the most complicated animal on this planet. On the one hand, we create a lot of welfare, on the other hand, in my opinion, we are really destroying ourselves. Not only our generation, but we are destroying the generations to come. That’s why we have to be really wise and intelligent human-beings.

We have to rethink from three hundred years how much we have destroyed, and how much we should recreate by ourselves before it is too late.

At FAO, we are willing to cooperate with you, with ministries of agriculture of course, and food, and ministries of forestry, ministries of rural development, ministries of technology and ministries of industry. Because on the one hand, agriculture and food is suffering, on the other hand it is also a buffer. And finally, it should be a contributor.

Thank you. Thank you for your attention.