Director-General  QU Dongyu

Informal consultation on innovation in the context of FAO work


15 January 2020, Rome - FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu attended the Third Informal Consultation of Rome-based Permanent Representations, which was hosted by the Permanent Representation of the People’s Republic of China on 15 January 2020. FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu was invited to take part in these discussions.

This consultation is the third of its kind with the previous two informal consultations hosted by the Permanent Representations of the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America respectively. These consultations provide an opportunity for member countries to engage in an open dialogue and informal exchange of views on how to enhance FAO activities/support in specific thematic areas.

The third informal consultation focused on the theme of Innovation and Members States provided their views on issues to be considered while bolstering innovation in the context of FAO work on nutrition, food and agriculture.  

Several countries recognized that FAO needed to play a prominent role to promote innovation in agriculture including as means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular to eradicate hunger and poverty. It was also stressed that innovation could have a significant influence in enhancing structural transformations of agri-food systems and in modernizing practices and solutions.

Furthermore, Members present highlighted that FAO should continue providing support in further disseminating innovative solutions related to nutrition, food, agriculture and sharing best practices.

Attending Members called on strengthening the focus on innovation to build resilience in agriculture and to meet the urgent challenges presented by climate change. They stressed the importance of using innovative solutions to promote sustainable agriculture and promote inclusive approaches that engage youth and women in designing and implementing these solutions.

Countries present also stressed the need to use innovation to support capacity building, transfer of technologies and skills, and to ensure that innovations are available, accessible, applicable and affordable. Several Members attending the informal consultation also highlighted the need to ensure risk management measures were adequately incorporated in these activities.

Members, attending the informal consultation, also called FAO to promote innovation and the use of new technologies within its own working methods with a greater focus on transparency.

Following these interventions, the Director-General expressed his strong satisfaction for this opportunity to have an open and frank dialogue with Members States on an area of common interest and stressed his commitment to maintaining this channel of dialogue to ensure FAO is continuously responding to its Members State’s  needs.

He highlighted that FAO is fully committed to playing a prominent role to promote innovation for nutrition, food and agriculture and that this new focus will have internal repercussions, meaning it will prompt innovative practices and solutions in the Organization’s own working methods.

He stressed that this will require from all to change mind-sets and break the silos and rely more on new technologies and data. He also mentioned that there is “no-one size-fit-all” solution and that practices need to be adapted to countries contexts and realities.

He assured Members States that innovation would lead to more transparency and improve risk management and be in line with the new area of digital economy.