Director-General  QU Dongyu

Director-General held first physical meeting of the Core Leadership Team


21 September 2020, Rome - Director-General QU Dongyu today held the first physical meeting of the recently established Core Leadership Team, heralding a symbolic step in the return to work at FAO headquarters.

The meeting took place in the Iraq Room, which has been adapted to the new exigencies of holding physical meetings, accommodating a much smaller number of people to allow for the required physical distancing. A number of other meeting rooms in FAO’s Building A are also being re-arranged. All meetings with external participants will be restricted to meeting rooms in Building A, as envisaged in the return plan for the next phase.    

In addition to the members of the Core Leadership Group – the three Deputy Directors-General, the Chief Economist and the Director of Cabinet –, today’s meeting was also attended by the Deputy Director of Cabinet; Directors of strategic planning, human resources, legal affairs, and communications; as well as a Senior Advisor and a Special Assistant to the Director-General.

During the meeting, the Director-General highlighted that 2020 was a year of reform, referring to the “major reforms endorsed by the Members” and stressed that “with only about three months left in the year, we need to be in a hurry to deliver.” He added that “FAO had done very well during the past few months despite the challenges of the pandemic, and we should do better in the last months of the year”.

The Director-General also noted that with the appointment of the first Chief Scientist in FAO’s history (Ms Ismahane Elouafi of Morocco/Canada) the Core Leadership Group was complete. He instructed the core leadership to expedite recruitment for key posts and deliver the Hand in Hand Initiative and TCP with higher efficiency and more tangible results to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The meeting was briefed by Deputy Director-General Laurent Thomas on preparations and plans for the next phase of the return to work at headquarters, due to start on 1 October. It is envisaged that Phase 4 will see up to 20% of headquarters employees, or about 600 people, to be on premise at any one time, on a voluntary and rotational basis.

DDG Thomas informed the meeting that details of the plan would be communicated to FAO staff in the coming days, well ahead of the scheduled start date.

The Director of OSP, Ms Beth Crawford updated the meeting on the status of preparations for FAO’s next Strategic Framework. Next steps in developing the Strategic Framework were discussed, in the context of global developments, global and regional trends as well as emerging challenges and opportunities in the areas of FAO's mandate. “Being inclusive was the key,” the Director-General said. It was decided that an immediate next step would be the holding of meetings with all regional groups, to capture the views of FAO Members.

Core Leadership Brainstorming Session.