Director-General  QU Dongyu

Boosting private-sector engagement in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals


Rome - QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), praised private-sector actors for “stepping up” to contribute to eradicating hunger and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and urged them to do even more, and better.

“Invest more, and deliver more!” Qu said at a meeting with the International Agri-Food Network, an umbrella organization for the private sector, held on Wednesday.

“Private sector engagement will be key to agrifood systems transformation and rural development,” the Director-General said in his opening remarks, noting there are only seven planting seasons left before 2030.

FAO’s top management participated in the meeting, along with chief executives of a wide range of agrifood companies and trade groups from around the world.

Director-General Qu has focused on closer and improved engagement with the private sector since taking office in 2019. Previous meetings aimed to exchange ideas and find ways to smooth collaboration. The current one, he noted, aims to identify concrete areas of engagement to support the implementation of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31. He noted that the Strategic Framework supports the transformation to more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable agrifood systems and is organized around the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.

Embedded in the Four Betters are 20 Programme Priority Areas (PPAs) that will guide FAO’s critical areas of work over the next decade. “The ambitious targets that we have set and the work under each priority area cannot be achieved without the involvement and support of the private sector,” the Director-General said, calling for participants to offer “specific and concrete ideas on possible areas of engagement”.

Ideas that can align with FAO’s accelerators such as technology, innovation and data are particularly welcome, as such information is critical for decision-making on areas for intervention, action and investment, which is what is at the core of FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative, he added.

Accelerating engagement

FAO’s Strategy for Private Sector Engagement is now in its second year of implementation.

The critical role of the private sector in agrifood system transformation has been highlighted in all of FAO’s Regional Conferences so far this year, emphasizing the importance of commitment and diversity, the Director-General said.

“We do not always need a formal partnership - often we just need to engage with each other,” he added.

The International Agri-Food Network serve as the private sector focal point for the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the world’s foremost inclusive platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. It is a “network of the willing” that monitors and provides input into multilateral processes related to food and agricultural issues spanning from production and trade to processing and retailing.

Today’s meeting included presentation of FAO’s strategies and of case studies and ideas by International Agri-Food Network Members on topics ranging from digital applications to monitor social health, climate smart agriculture and training initiatives aimed at smallholders.

“We in the private sector are here to help,” said Rick White, Chair of the International Agri-Food Network and also Chief Executive of the Canadian Canola Growers Association. 

International Agri-Food Network

FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031

FAO’s Strategy for Private Sector Engagement

Hand-in-Hand Initiative

Committee on World Food Security


Virtual event: Convening Actions in Support of FAO strategic Framework to transform Agri-Food Systems. International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) PSM Meeting with FAO Director-General and Senior Managers