Director-General  QU Dongyu

Director-General praises FAO partners and invites them to scale up funding for agri-food systems transformation and sustainable agriculture


27 November 2020, Rome - The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, today thanked Members of the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism (FMM) for their financial support and invited them to strengthen their collaboration with the Organization to transform agri-food systems and build sustainable agriculture, particularly to fight the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

The Director-General outlined FAO’s strategy for the future during the annual consultation held virtually with partners of FAO’s FMM. The event was aimed at updating Resource Partners on the progress of FAO project implementation and discussing ways of using flexible funding for innovative solutions, to assist the world’s most vulnerable countries and to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Qu praised FAO’s partners for their generous support, emphasizing the power of using pooled funding with the flexibility to direct these funds to where they are most needed. He told the Members that with partners’ support, “tangible impacts” have been made at a country level but that COVID-19 pandemic and climate change had created additional challenges.

“Now is the time to scale up the impact of the FMM and the benefits it brings as a pooled funding mechanism - we must increase its financial volume, flexibility, and sustainability,” Qu said.

“I, therefore, look forward to seeing more resource partners joining hands with us in using the FMM to address the key challenges of our times with flexible and predictable voluntary contributions,” he added.

The Director-General indicated this year’s event was an opportunity to reflect on shared goals and priorities at a particularly challenging time for the global community. 

Several attendees highlighted the need to find agile and flexible solutions to fighting hunger and poverty, while noting the importance of the upcoming Food Systems Summit 2021 .

Since its establishment in 2010, the FMM has supported over 50 projects and initiatives in more than 80 countries. From 2010 to 2017, the total contribution to the FMM amounted to $75 million. Funding of $56.5 million has so far been received for the current phase (2018 to 2021).

The FMM Partners welcomed a comprehensive update on the upcoming evaluation of the FMM programme and provided many useful comments and suggestions.

The Director-General described the FMM as an important instrument for boosting private sector partnerships and envisioned greater potential for collaboration through new initiatives. 

Qu outlined the critical role of FAO’s recently launched COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme as well as the UN agency’s other priorities such as the Hand-in-Hand Initiative ; Innovation; Food Systems; Climate Actions and Circular Agriculture: Food Security and Improved Nutrition and Transforming Livelihoods for Small Holder Farmers and Rural Dwellers.   

On 5 November 2020, FAO launched the Food Coalition together with the Prime Minister of Italy, Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Nobel Peace Laureates and several Ministers. The Food Coalition is a multi-stakeholder global alliance proposed by the government of Italy and led by FAO to support the COVID-19 response towards the transformation of agri-food systems, Qu said.  He noted that the FMM could also be an important instrument in support of the Food Coalition and for boosting private sector partnerships and South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

Beth Bechdol, FAO’s Deputy Director-General, expressed her appreciation for the generosity of FMM Resource Partners and for the work that had been accomplished in these decades of strategic cooperation.

“Mechanisms such as the FMM are of strategic importance to tackle today’s complex challenges, at a time when we are in dire need of more flexible and less earmarked funding,” Bechdol said.