Director-General  QU Dongyu

Readout of the bilateral meetings between FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, the Vice-President and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia and the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Paraguay and Costa Rica

25/10/2021

25 October 2021, Rome – The FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, today met high-level officials of three Latin American countries: the Vice-President and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia, H.E. Marta Lucía Ramírez; the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, H.E. Euclides Acevedo Candia; and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica, H.E. Rodolfo Solano Quirós.

The Vice-President and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia highlighted the importance of defining common standards for food products to guarantee market access, mentioned the aim of her country to develop the fisheries sector and described plans to better integrate the Andean economies to increase food exports from that South-American sub-region.

The Director-General noted that Codex Alimentarius already provides guidance in terms of standards and food safety and encouraged its implementation. He suggested that Colombia should focus the increase of its fish production not by increasing fisheries but mainly by promoting aquaculture, which is very important to preserve the oceans sustainability. Regarding the potential of Andean countries, the Director-General explained how the recently launched One Country, One Priority Product initiative can help Special Agricultural Products (SAPs) – such as coffee in the case of Colombia – be integrated into local, regional, and global markets and trade. He also noted the importance of stable policies to increase investments from the private sector.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Paraguay highlighted how his country has managed to increase food production, particularly meat, in a more environmentally friendly way. He noted that Paraguay would soon open a dedicated Permanent Representation to FAO, and said that innovation and digital tools are important to fight hunger in a more intelligent way.

The Director-General noted the importance of Paraguay and other South-American countries for global food security, especially due to production of meat and soya, but also highlighted that better production means ensuring a sustainable and green environment. In this sense, he mentioned FAO’s new Strategic Framework and the vision of promoting the four betters. The Director-General encouraged Paraguay to use FAO as much as possible to help the country transform its agri-food systems, including the livestock sector, which should look for a carbon neutral future.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica stressed that the climate crisis represents threats and opportunities for GRULAC countries, particularly in Central America, which is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change impacts. He noted that migration is one of the related effects of the climate crisis, and said that Costa Rica is ready to share good practices and knowledge in terms of climate resilience with its neighbours in collaboration with FAO. The Minister also informed that Costa Rica aims to launch the first GIAHS site in Central America, which would be based on the production of coffee.

The Director-General recognized Costa Rica’s achievements to promote sustainable development and concurred with the idea of developing a joint strategy to promote knowledge sharing in Central America. He mentioned some of the FAO initiatives, such as Green Cities and 1000 Digital Villages.

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