Director-General  QU Dongyu

FAO consults its Members to develop the next ten-year Strategic Framework


23 October 2020, Rome – FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, and senior managers held today a first informal virtual consultation with Members to discuss the outline of FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031.

The meeting had the objective to seek inputs from the membership as part of the inclusive and transparent process to develop the Strategic Framework, which has also included extensive internal and external consultations as well as deliberations in Governing Body meetings, such as the guidance received from FAO’s Programme Committee and Council in their respective sessions held during June-July 2020. Synergies and complementarities with concomitant work for the Food Systems Summit 2021 has also been taken into consideration.

The Director-General stressed the importance of promoting a transparent and inclusive process as well as the active participation of Members in the development of the new Strategic Framework.

“Members should own what we are going to do”, he said, noting that a participatory approach is key to build up solidarity, consensus and joint ownership. This is the way, he added, for future joint action that is coherent and cohesive.

The Independent Chairperson of the FAO Council, Khalid Mehboob, the Chairperson of FAO Programme Committee and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, Hans Hoogeveen, and the Chairperson of FAO Finance Committee and Alternate Permanent Representative of Uruguay, Imelda Smolcic, all shared their views and valuable comments, together with other Members, including the European Union.

Attending Members thanked the Director-General and his management team for this consultation, as part of the inclusive and transparent process to develop the next Strategic Framework, underlining their interest to continue contributing to this important process. 

The Strategic framework

The Strategic Framework’s outline was presented by the Director of Strategy, Planning and Resources Management (OSP), Beth Crawford. It builds on the transformations already taking place in the Organization, including the new modular and agile structure, increased efficiency, breaking silos, strengthened partnerships as well as innovative approaches, such as the Hand-in-Hand Initiative and the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme.

The proposed framework recognizes as Global Goals of FAO Members the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, the elimination of poverty and the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources.

It puts the 2030 Agenda at the center and aims to increase preparedness and effectiveness in supporting Members to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using key SDGs and their indicators, with focus on SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (No hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities). 

FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero, who moderated the Informal Consultation, explained the rationale behind including SDG 10 as one of the guiding SDGs together with SDGs 1 and 2. He noted that reducing inequalities, which are concentrated in rural areas, is vital to fighting poverty and hunger. The Director-General stated that SDG 10 is not limited to reducing inequalities related to gender but also differences between the rich and the poor, as well as between urban and rural areas, differences that are found in both developing and developed countries.

The outlined Strategic Framework foresees the establishment of four cross-cutting drivers and accelerators: technology, innovation, data and complements (governance, human capital and institutions), with the objective of increasing preparedness and effectiveness in supporting countries to implement the Agenda 2030. It also highlights the importance of the Organization being prepared to operate in a context of increasing risk and uncertainty, as well as the need to move towards a programmatic approach.

In general, Members reacted positively to the draft framework as a good basis to move forward. They highlighted the importance of focusing on youth and gender issues, partnerships, innovation, FAO’s normative work, as well as on building more resilient food systems. 

The four betters

The new proposed framework also seeks to adopt a new strategic narrative in line with the Director-General’s vision of leaving no one behind through sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.

In his closing remarks, the Director-General gave further explanation on the objectives of the four betters. He shared his thoughts that better production encompasses three dimensions: quantity, quality and the diversification of the food produced; that better nutrition is not only about fighting hunger, but all forms of malnutrition; and that better environment for FAO is about biodiversity preservation and agricultural environment, such as improving biomass for plants and metabolic efficiency for animals. In relation to better life, he noted that it is not only about improving livelihoods, but also life quality, with people enjoying the environment as a whole. 

In closing, the Director-General thanked the Members for sharing their views and comments to make the new Strategic Framework more realistic and pragmatic, and called on them to be open to new ways of doing business to overcome the huge challenges ahead.  

He also noted that other informal meetings will be organized to brief and consult Members towards the development of FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031.