总干事  屈冬玉

Director-General stresses a change in business model with new Strategic Framework and reports on results to Programme and Finance Committees


22 March 2021, Rome – The FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, today addressed the Joint Meeting of the 130th Session of the Programme Committee (PC) and the 185th Session of the Finance Committee (FC), which over the next days will discuss the proposed Strategic Framework 2022-31, the Medium Term Plan 2022-25 and the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) 2022-23, among other subjects related to FAO’s governance.

In his remarks, the Director-General stressed that the three proposed guiding documents, particularly the Strategic Framework, are aimed at changing FAO’s business model, making the Organization more efficient, effective, responsive, transparent and accountable.

The Strategic Framework that will guide the work of the Organization for the next ten years has been developed under an inclusive and transparent process since June 2020, including extensive internal and external consultations such as the one that took place last Wednesday (17 March).

Qu highlighted that the Framework includes four cross-cutting/cross-sectional accelerators: technology, innovation, data and complements (governance, human capital, and institutions), “which will be applied in all FAO’s programmatic interventions to maximize efforts and to facilitate the management of trade-offs, according to national priorities.”

The Director of Strategy, Planning and Resources Management (OSP), Beth Crawford, gave another comprehensive presentation of the Strategic Framework, emphasizing that 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), with the guiding lens of SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (No hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities). 

She also noted how the Strategic Framework has been elaborated 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. 

In relation to the proposed Program of Work and Budget (PWB) 2022-23, the Director-General highlighted that (69%) of the total projected budget for the next biennial (USD 3.26 billion) relies on extra-budgetary resources.  

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

The Director-General also shared a selected results of the Organization’s activities worldwide, that clearly demonstrate how FAO is transforming and how its dedicated employees are adapting to the new normal, while continuing to improve delivery. 

Referring to 2020 that he had declared FAO’s Year of efficiency, the Director-General noted that
“FAO took big steps in this direction by breaking down silos, removing administrative layers and innovating work processes”.

“2021 is the year of continued efficiency and increased effectiveness. Transparency and accountability remain the cornerstones of our work” he added.

The Director-General stated that in 2021 the UN agency will focus on reforming regional and sub-regional structures and strengthening the capacities of country offices to ensure impactful results and to promote cross-continental collaboration through regional knowledge platforms.

He underlined that his first and foremost concern continues to be ensuring the safety and health of FAO employees and their families, while delivering on FAO’s mandate in favor of the most vulnerable and supporting Members.

Enabling a positive work environment continues to be a priority as well, he added.

FAO initiatives

In his intervention, Qu alluded to FAO’s main initiatives, such as Hand-in-Hand, the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, Green Cities, and 1000 Digital Villages and provided selected highlights on the latest developments in them.

The Hand-in-Hand Initiative is already developing programmes in 36 countries across the world.

“In all countries, we have been rapidly building the databases necessary to support evidence-based decision-making and to strengthen national capacities,” Qu said, noting that “in a few remarkable cases (such as Ethiopia, Lao PDR, Tajikistan and Yemen), we have crossed the first milestone with an agreed program focus, identified financing partners and made significant progress toward finalizing the program investment plan.”

Launched in July 2020, the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme has received confirmed and pledged contributions of about $238 million. That is more than 18 percent of the overall target ($1.32 billion).

“The Programme has provided livelihoods support, including cash transfers, agricultural inputs and technical assistance to 2.7 million households, with 44 percent of the beneficiaries being female. Information campaigns to reduce COVID-19 transmission along the value chain reached more than 5 million rural people,” Qu said.

The Green Cities Initiative was launched in September 2020, during the United Nations General Assembly. It focuses on small, intermediate and metropolitan cities that aim to improve people’s wellbeing through increased availability of and access to green products and services provided by green spaces, green industries, green economy and green way of lifestyle - including integration of urban and peri-urban forestry, fisheries, horticulture and agriculture - and through sustainable agri-food systems.

The Director-General noted that a dedicated Regional Program for Africa started piloting actions in 12 cities. In addition, the Green Cities thematic webpage will soon include an Interactive Platform for the engaged cities to share updates and experiences.

The 1000 Digital Villages Initiative, in turn, seeks to increase the resilience of cities across the world by introducing e-commerce to rural areas, facilitating the farmers’ access to markets and diversifying their incomes which is particularly critical in light of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qu reported that in Latin America and the Caribbean, 58 villages in 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have been selected. In Asia and the Pacific, several Members including Cambodia, India and Pakistan, have already started integrating the Digital Villages Initiative into their national programs of work.

Desert Locust

The Director-General alluded to the Organization’s efforts to control the spreading of Desert Locus Swarms and pointed out that in the Greater Horn of Africa and Yemen, together with partners, nearly 2 million hectares have been treated since January 2020.

“About 4 million tons of cereal and close to 800 million liters of milk have been protected, with a commercial value of USD 1.53 billion. This is enough to feed 34 million people for a year and protect more than 1.7 million pastoral households from livelihood loss and distress,” he said.

Major events in 2021

Qu also updated Members how FAO is supporting the preparatory process for the UN Food Systems Summit, which will take place in September in New York. In July, FAO will facilitate and co-host the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 Science Days, and assist the Pre-Summit at FAO headquarters in Rome

“Our Regional Offices are facilitating FAO’s support to National Conveners through the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country teams,” he said. FAO, with funding from the EU, is undertaking rapid food systems assessments in 60 countries, which will inform the development and implementation of the national food systems road maps.

Furthermore, The World Food Forum - initiated by FAO’s Youth Committee - is gaining momentum as a global youth-led movement for agri-food systems transformation.

Other issues

In his intervention, the Director-General also stressed that FAO has been engaged to promote strong partnerships and updated Members on how the Organization has become increasingly digital.

The full speech of the Director-General can be accessed here.

Programme and Finance Committees

It was the third time the Joint Meeting of PC and FC Committees gathered virtually since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Today’s session was chaired by the Alternate Permanent Representative of Uruguay, Imelda Smolcic, Chair of the Finance Committee. The Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, Ambassador Hans Hoogeveen, Chair of the Programme Commitee. The Independent Chairperson of the FAO Council, Khalid Mehboob, as well as the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, Ambassador Hans Hoogeveen, Chair of the Programme Committee, also participated in the Joint Meeting. 

The Programme and Finance Committees will meet separately until 26 March.

The Members of the Programme Committee are: Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, France, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Zambia. The Finance Committee is composed of: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Niger, Russian Federation, Sudan and the United States of America.