Director-General  QU Dongyu

FAO Members consulted on Strategic Framework, Medium Term Plan and Programme of Work and Budget


17 March 2021, Rome – FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, and senior managers held today a virtual consultation with Members to discuss documents that will guide the work of the Organization over the next years: the Strategic Framework 2022-31, the Medium Term Plan 2022-25 and the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) 2022-23.

“The Strategic Framework, the Medium-Term Plan and the Programme of Work and Budget continue to build on and complement the organizational structure and management changes already put in place to make FAO a more modular, flexible and responsive organization,” said the Director-General in his opening remarks.

Most of the debate focused on the Strategic Framework for the next ten years, which has been developed under an inclusive and transparent process since June 2020, including extensive internal and external consultations as well as deliberations in FAO Governing Body meetings.

“Our aim is to have a document that is embraced by all Members,” the Director-General said. “We have used a top-down and bottom-up approach to ensure that FAO's global mandates and normative strengths are well embedded,” he added.

The Strategic Framework was presented by the Director of Strategy, Planning and Resources Management (OSP), Beth Crawford.

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, and with the guiding lens of SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (No hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities). 

The strategic narrative is to support the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems under the four betters – Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment, and a Better Life – and leaving no one behind. 

Crawford noted that FAO Programme Priority Areas (PPAs) have been placed under the four betters. In this context, for instance, Better Production includes green innovation, blue transformation, One Health, small-scale producers and digital agriculture.

Better Nutrition encompasses healthy diets for all, nutrition for the most vulnerable, safe food, reducing food loss and waste as well as transparent markets and trade.

Better Environment includes climate change mitigating and adapted agri-food systems, bioeconomy, and biodiversity and ecosystem services for food and agriculture.

Better Life includes inclusive rural transformation, rural women’s empowerment, urban food systems, emergencies, resilient agri-food systems, the Hand-in-Hand Initiative as well as scaling up investments.

“The betters reflect the interconnected economic, social and environmental dimensions of agri-food systems. As such, they also encourage a strategic and systems-oriented approach within all of FAO’s interventions,” the Director-General stated.

The Strategic Framework also foresees the establishment of four cross-cutting accelerators: technology, innovation, data and complements (governance, human capital and institutions). 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.

The Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) 2022-23

The Director-General noted that the PWB for the next biennium has been developed around three core principles: i) maintaining a flat nominal budget; ii) covering all increased costs without negatively impacting FAO’s technical work; and iii) maintaining the organizational structure currently in place.

“The new modular and flexible headquarters organizational structure is one of the main initiatives that I have introduced since my arrival and remains in place as one of the key components for the implementation of the Strategic Framework,” the Director-General noted.

He also said that the UN agency is now looking towards an efficient and modern decentralized network and is undertaking a review of regional structures and the transformation of the FAO business model for country offices. This includes encouraging strong cross-continental cooperation and experience sharing among FAO representatives in country offices, for increased benefit of Members.

Qu noted that about 70 percent of FAO’s biennial budget proposal relies on extra-budgetary resources and urged Members to support the work of the Organization.

“I look forward to a constructive exchange on the strategic direction and budget with you over the coming months, and welcome your ideas and support in contributing to this process,” he concluded.

The  Strategic Framework 2022-31 and the Medium Term Plan 2022-25 and the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) 2022-23 will now be discussed by the FAO Programme and Finance Commitees, which will meet next week and by the Council which will meet in April. These documents will then be submitted for the consideration of the FAO Conference for approval.

The Independent Chairperson of the FAO Council, Khalid Mehboob; the Chairperson of the FAO Programme Committee, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, Hans Hoogeveen; and the Chairperson of the FAO Finance Committee, Alternate Permanent Representative of Uruguay, Imelda Smolcic, all praised the Director-General and his Management team for promoting a transparent and inclusive process of dialogue with the Membership.

Attending Members reacted actively to the presented documents and thanked the Director-General for organizing the informal consultation.