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




Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

As prepared

15 October 2021

Rome, Italy


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

1.            This year’s World Food Day finds us at a critical moment.


2.            The COVID-19 pandemic remains a global challenge, causing untold losses and hardship.


3.            The impacts of the climate crisis are all around us.


4.            The lives and livelihoods of millions of people have been thrown into turmoil,


5.            With widespread suffering due to many natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies.


6.            Global food insecurity has not been this severe for years!


7.            Yet, over the past year, we have also witnessed the resilience and the strength within each of us.


8.            On this World Food Day, we pay tribute to all our Food Heroes around the world who continued to work against all the odds to ensure we had food to eat.


9.            This World Food Day also calls on all of us to become a Food Hero ourselves, as we start to transform the ways in which our food is produced, processed, stored, distributed and consumed.


10.          A new momentum and energy is building towards making our agri-food systems more fit for purpose.


11.          Last month the world came together at the UN Food Systems Summit, which provided follow-up actions for moving forward.


12.          And the direction is “From New York back to Rome”!


13.          So this is where the action is centered now - with the Rome-based agencies: FAO, IFAD and WFP, together with UNEP and others.


14.          We have already rolled up our sleeves to lead the implementation and drive the transformation.


15.          As an immediate follow-up to the Summit, a groundbreaking extremely successful global World Food Forum was held in Rome in the first week of October, powered by global youth.


16.          Initiated and powered by the FAO Youth Committee, and jointly organized with the youth networks at IFAD and WFP.


17.          It brought together thousands of youth leaders from around the world, and harnessed the creativity and energy of our younger generations.


18.          Young people have the most at stake.


19.          And their actions, and ours, will determine the future of food and the planet.


20.          There are 1.8 billion young people in the world between the ages of 10 and 24 - and nearly 90% live in developing countries.


21.          They are an unlimited potential!


22.          Their dynamic and inspiring contributions to the World Food Forum was only the tip of the iceberg!


23.          We must continue to leverage them for innovative youth-led actions for change.


24.          But it is not only the young who should be concerned about the state of our agri-food systems.


25.          We are all aware that even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic; we were off-track to end world hunger and malnutrition by 2030.


26.          More than 800 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020.


27.          Despite the fact that the world is producing sufficient food to feed all of us.


28.          14% of the food we produce is lost, and 17% is wasted, that means a trillion dollars cost for human being.


29.          Without counting the precious resources that go into producing it.


30.          This is unthinkable and unacceptable!


31.          We must transform our agri-food systems to be more efficient, more resilient, more transparent and more sustainable.

Dear Friends,


32.          2021 is a critical year for harmonizing our relationship with nature.


33.          Our new Strategic Framework 2022-2031 provides us with a clear sense of what we need to achieve:


34.          Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life for all, leaving no one behind.


35.          But to achieve these Four Betters we need to preserve our biodiversity, address and mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis and produce the food we need in a sustainable way.


36.          We need to produce more with less!


37.          We must be more efficient and more effective!


38.          Reversing biodiversity loss, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing adaptation and strengthening resilience are essential to eliminate hunger and poverty.


39.          But we cannot do this alone. We need to work more and better together.


40.          The transformation must start with us, the consumers with the choices we make.


41.          Where we buy our food, how it is packaged, how much we throw away.


42.          All these have an impact on our agri-food systems and our shared future.


43.          All of us have the potential to be Food Heroes.


44.          Our actions are our future.


45.          Happy World Food Day!


46.          Thank you