Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

164th Session of the Council

10 July 2020

Closing remarks

FAO Director-General, Dr. QU Dongyu

As delivered


Thank you, Independent Chairperson of the Council,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen


  1. We are at the end of this historic Session of the Council, the first virtual Session.

  2. My appreciation goes to all delegations for their contributions, for their hard work in day and night, and active engagement during this week from South to North and from East to West. 

  3. As I said at the opening, the thorough discussions and vivid exchanges that took place in preparing this Council are unprecedented.

  4. I am pleased that the Council approved the proposed further adjustments and for its recognition of the tremendous efforts FAO has made to continue delivering and improving in the past months.

  5. This is a strong sign of trust in my efforts to translate our common vision of a new dynamic, inclusive result-focused FAO into reality.

  6. I also thank the Staff Body Representatives for their positive interventions, sharing the same goal of ensuring staff safety and wellbeing.

  7. Solidarity is accumulating to build up. Our responsibilities are more focusing and compulsory.

  8. We will maintain this open and collaborative working relation with you. 

  9. I hope that you will see more new results of our silo-busting, our increased teamwork and our strengthened collaboration with partner agencies.  

  10. By improving the working methods and instilling transparency and accountability, the reformed FAO will increase and improve its delivery to the vulnerable, all members, the farmers and the consumers.

  11. We will continue supporting our Members in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on food security and food systems.

  12. And we need to go beyond that: Now that we learned how to live with the virus, we need to focus on the recovery phase. 

  13. Building back better is a challenge that FAO is prepared for, with the Hand in Hand Initiative that more and more Members are joining. 

  14. The Hand in Hand initiative offers a ready-made coordination structure for an integrated COVID-19 response for food and nutrition security.

  15. Our assistance to Members combating the desert locust, FAW and others will also continue to speed up and scale up.

  16. Saving livelihoods and strengthening resilience in the most affected areas remains crucial.

  17. We will work hard to make our cooperation with sister agencies in Rome and abroad even more result-oriented and concrete. 

  18. Our efforts to push for transforming the agri-food systems worldwide should be and will be step-up.

  19. And as the major UN Agency focusing on the issue of food systems, we will continue supporting the UN Secretary General’s Food Systems Summit, with our technical expertise; as platform for Members to interact; and by hosting the Secretariat in Rome. With a series of events we are organizing, FAO should be champion for promotor of agri-food transformation.

  20. The FAO Regional Conferences that we plan to hold soon will be crucial in that respect, but also to identify regional champions for the agri-food system transformation and make sure that regional perspectives are included in the strategic framework.   

  21. And we will focus on issues highlighted in our exchanges this week, such as the SDGs, the TCPs and the multi-lingual character of FAO.

    Distinguished Delegates,

  22. This Council was a very special one, special time, special moment, and special mode with special task to make historical one. 

  23. We entered uncharted waters and faced numerous logistical and technical challenges. 

  24. Today we can say: We managed to successfully hold a supreme governing body meeting in a virtual mode. 

  25. Special thanks to you, Mr Mehboob, Independent Chairperson of the Council!

  26. I also thank all our employees, who worked very hard, so that we have a smooth first virtual Session of the Council in history.

  27. In particular, my appreciation goes to the technicians and interpreters. Thank you for your extra efforts!

  28. In closing I wish you all a good summer break and restful holidays.

  29. Me, I will stay here in Rome and guide the work that is ahead of us. From thinktank to action tank and from chief designer to chief engineer now.

  30. Fulfilling FAO’s mandate, as agreed upon 75 years ago and written down in the Basic Texts. 

  31. The hard work lays ahead of us.

  32. And we will make sure that the world sees the fruits of our hard work! Action leads to change and history is made by, recorded by and evaluated by the people.

 I thank you all, once more, for your attendance and your active participation!