Director-General  QU Dongyu

Director-General applauds host country and security team effort during pandemic


Rome - Cooperation between the Republic of j no Italy and the United Nations organizations hosted on its territory were exemplary during the COVID-19 pandemic, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.

“I am proud of this close and coherent collaboration,” said Qu, who was the Designated UN Official for Security in Italy during the crisis, in charge of the welfare of staff of around 25 UN agencies around the country.

A Security Management Team headed by FAO Deputy Director-General Laurent Thomas proved effective, greatly enabled by Italian health, defense and finance ministries.

The SMT met 32 times, starting in February 2020. It helped organize testing and eventually vaccination for UN staff and their dependents, developing a priority scheme that started with frontline workers, followed by the vulnerable, and eventually all.

UN officers present at today’s stocktaking meeting, held to appraise what was done and prepare for future emergencies, hailed the SMT for rapidly becoming an effective collective decision-making forum in times of crisis.

Piergiorgio Trentinaglia, FAO Chief Security Adviser, noted that the Director-General’s strong support for digitalization made a big difference, allowing more flexible working arrangements to mitigate contagion.

While the World Health Organisation has declared an official end to the pandemic, Qu warned that the virus is still around us, although less of a serious threat to public health. He urged staff to take care and work to avoid becoming transmission vectors given the wide variety of visitors from around the world that visit FAO, the Rome-based agencies and other UN offices in Italy.

The Director-General also said he was confident that the stronger partnerships formed with Italian public institutions will continue into the future.