FAO in China

A Journey Together: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of FAO in China


On August 22, 2023, the Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in China was held in Beijing. About 130 representatives from government departments, international organizations, academia, civil societies, private sector, and media participated in the event, reviewing FAO’s 40 years in China and looking forward to the new journey between FAO and China.

Forty Years of Hard Work

At the Celebration, the album “FAO’s 40 Years in China” was released. The album collects milestone photos of FAO’s work in China over the past 40 years, epitomizing of the 40-year journey that FAO and China have made together.

Qu Dongyu, Director-General of FAO, wrote in the preface to the album, “after 40 years, FAO has witnessed the country’s remarkable achievements in agrifood system and rural development, highly recognized the livelihood improvement of the massive rural population, helped to transform national development paths for agriculture, and provided support for a more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood system.”

“FAO’s 40 years of experience and achievements in China have proved that through multi-stakeholder partnerships, we can help promote China’s agrifood system transformation based on China’s national conditions,” Carlos Watson, FAO Representative to China, stressed, “by working for China, with China, and from China, we contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals."

Sui Pengfei, Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) of China, congratulated on the 40th anniversary of FAO in China. He highlighted, “for over 40 years, the FAO Representation in China has witnessed China’s huge achievements since the reform and opening-up, experienced the progress of China’s agriculture and rural areas from food insecurity, to food security, to comprehensive well-off and to rural revitalization. FAO has maintained close cooperation and positive interactions with MARA and made significant contributions to China’s great cause of rural reform and agricultural development.”

“FAO actively supports China’s rural reform and agricultural development, and has implemented hundreds of projects in China. The FAO Representation in China has been extensively and directly involved in, and has carried out a number of symbolic projects to yield great economic, social and environmental benefits,” said Lu Mei, Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, who highly appreciated FAO’s work in China.

Forty Years of Achievements

China is one of the founding members of FAO. Since China resumed its legal seat in FAO in 1973, China has maintained close cooperation with FAO. In 1982, when China entered the initial stage of reform and opening-up, FAO announced the establishment of the Representation in China.

In retrospect, from 1980s to 1990s, FAO’s work in China focused on providing assistance to China, developing agricultural infrastructure, promoting advanced technologies and providing policy advice. In the 21st century, the cooperation between FAO and China has changed from unilateral aid to bilateral cooperation. China is not only a recipient country, but also an important partner of FAO.

On the one hand, FAO is still actively providing agricultural technical support to China. Since 1973, FAO has implemented a total of 508 projects in China, covering 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, with a direct investment of about US$371 million, which brought about positive changes in agricultural policy and strategy, food security and nutrition, crop intensification, fishery, forestry, livestock, environment, climate change, and sustainable natural resources management. In addition, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects managed by FAO Representation in China, have allocated co-financing resources of US$291 million. FAO, the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and other international financial institutions have jointly mobilized more than US$15 billion of investment for China’s agrifood system development and rural revitalization.

On the other hand, China has become a Strategic Partner of FAO in promoting South-South and trilateral cooperation in agriculture. Since the establishment of the FAO-China South-South Cooperation (SSC) Trust Fund in 2009, China has donated US$130 million to the fund to carry out 17 SSC national projects, 2 regional projects, 8 inter-regional/international projects and 1 trilateral cooperation project. Supporting sustainable agrifood development, these projects have made far-reaching impacts in recipient countries.

At present, FAO’s work in China is being carried out steadily in accordance with the FAO-China Country Programming Framework (CPF) (2021-2025). The goals are to provide strategic support for China to promote all-round rural revitalization, ensure food security and promote high-quality agricultural development; step up cooperation with China in global food and agricultural governance; promote the implementation of Global Development Initiative (GDI) in the agriculture sector; and share China’s progress and experience in poverty reduction, agricultural development and 2030 agenda implementation with the international community.