Director-General  QU Dongyu

Read-out of bilateral meeting between FAO Director-General QU Dongyu and Abdulla Shahid, 76th President of the United Nations General Assembly

16/09/2021

16 September 2021 - The FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, and Abdulla Shahid, 76th President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), met virtually today.

The meeting reaffirmed the importance of close collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the President of the General Assembly (PGA), with the Director-General and the PGA both expressing their commitment to collaborating closely on shared goals and ambitions.

The Director-General congratulated the PGA on his election and thanked him for his support to the work of FAO. For his part, the PGA commended the Director-General for the work undertaken by FAO to support developing countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in modernizing and improving their agri-food systems.

The PGA also stressed the vital role that agri-food systems play in achieving the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while reiterating the efforts his presidency will undertake in order to mobilize and foster partnerships that will support Members in achieving sustainable development. The PGA further noted that he wishes to encourage cohesion and coordination within the UN family during his presidency, and to bring the UN closer to the people it serves.

The Director-General commended the PGA for his ambitious agenda, reaffirmed that FAO stands ready to support his presidency to make it unprecedentedly successful, and noted that by working together through robust multilateralism shared goals can indeed be achieved.

The two also shared views on the importance of supporting Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and SIDS, and committed to working closely together to advocate for the specific needs of these countries.

In this regard, the Director-General highlighted the flagship FAO Hand-in-Hand Initiative, which helps countries develop ambitious evidence-based, country-led, and country-owned programmes to eradicate poverty (SDG 1) and end hunger and all forms of malnutrition (SDG 2). He also informed that in 2020 he had established the Office of SIDS, LDCs, and LLDCs, which plays a vital coordinating role within FAO to ensure that targeted support is provided to these specific categories of countries. 

In terms of the strategic direction of the Organization, the Director-General highlighted that FAO’s new Strategic Framework 2022-2031 was recently endorsed by the FAO Ministerial Conference, and seeks to support the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

He also noted that two new thematic FAO strategies would be developed during the PGA’s presidency – one on climate change, and the other on science and innovation – which could also help frame collaboration between FAO and the Office of the PGA over the next year.

The PGA and Director-General agreed that investing in youth is critical to the future. In that respect, the Director-General reiterated his invitation to the PGA to join the first World Food Forum (WFF), which will take place in October 2021 after the UN Food Systems Summit (and will take place annually in the future). The WFF is a youth-led movement and network, initiated by FAO’s Youth Committee, to transform agri-food systems and achieve the SDGs, in particular “zero hunger”.  The PGA commended the Director-General for this new initiative.

The two also touched upon the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit (FSS), noting its importance in maintaining agri-food systems transformation high on the international agenda.  The Director-General stressed that FAO will be playing a leading role on the follow-up to the UN FSS outcomes.

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