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

165th Session of the Council

4 December 2020


FAO Director-General, Dr. QU Dongyu 

As delivered


Thank you, My Dear Brother, Independent Chairperson of the Council,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Colleagues,

1.            We have reached the end of this important Council Session after a long week of ‘rallying’

2.            I want to thank all delegations for their valuable contributions and active engagement during this Session.

3.            And my appreciation goes to our esteemed Chairperson, Mr Mehboob for his hard work not only in this week, but also for many weeks before this week, day and night without work-shifts. I know, a lot delegates have had work shifts, but he did not.

4.            Also, to the Chairs of the Finance Committee, the Programme Committee, the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters, and others.

5.            This was the second Council held in a virtual mode and it was my third one, since I came to office.

6.            Our Governing Bodies are now solidly positioned in the digital age. This is the ‘evolution of human being.’

7.            I am pleased that the Council welcomed the Outline of the Strategic Framework 2022-31 and the Outline of the Medium Term Plan 2022-25.

8.            This is the outcome from so many times of the inclusive and transparent consultation process we established in the development of the new Strategic Framework, as the Council rightly acknowledged. It is a way to build up ownership and volunteering contribution later.

9.            As I said in my opening remarks: This Strategic Framework builds on the momentum and the harmonized transformations already taking place in the Organization it builds on all the efforts of the past 16 months, our new business model, the structural reforms, the Hand-in-Hand initiative, and the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme.

10.        This is an important sign of trust not only in WHAT we want to achieve but also HOW we are working to get there.

11.        I also welcome the approval by Council of FAO’s new Strategy for Private Sector Engagement.

12.        Again, as I had stressed in my speech on Monday, an efficient, transparent and inclusive FAO is my highest priority, and this also applies to the way we approach the private sector as well as any other non-governmental institutions that we work with. It is NOT one shot-end.

13.        Your support of our ongoing initiatives, like Hand-in-Hand and our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is very well noted and inspires us to work even harder in collaboration with all of you for the benefit of the vulnerable, the farmers, youth and women, citizens and netizens all around the world.

14.        I would like to thank the Staff Body Representatives for their speech and the positive assessment it contained. Your positive and dynamic engagement lead our solidarity among employees.

15.        That is a real contribution, not only from the resources aspect, but also from the spiritual aspect.

16.        We share the same goal of ensuring our employees’ safety and wellbeing and our open and constructive dialogue will continue.

17.        You can count on me. I hope you are already convinced by yourself during these past 16 months. 

Distinguished Delegates,

18.        2020 is a turning point for a new FAO and for transformation of agri-food systems.

19.        This very different and very challenging year is about to end. The catastrophe of the century will be over.

20.        We have spared no efforts to continue the hard work and deliver despite all the difficulties.

21.        And the Council has acknowledged this today.

22.        For that, I wish to thank all of you, distinguished Members, for your support and advice but also for your hard questions and demanding comments to my colleagues.

23.        All of you have offered ‘pulling in front, pushing behind, supporting below and pressing from all sides’ when we are climbing to the peak of the mountain. That is a real world, I fully understand. I was fully prepared to come to FAO. Some people come; some people go. This is nature. Life is a faith.

24.        We benefit from all of it in our quest to offer the best tangible services – holistically, coherently and historically to the Members.

25.        In closing, I wish you all restful winter and look forward to seeing you in bright spring of 2021. My deep appreciation goes to all my dear employees, especially skeleton from management to the operation, from HQ in Rome to global decentralization offices on the ground.

Thank you!