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

2022 Induction Seminar for new Permanent Representatives

and new Deputy and Alternate Permanent Representatives to FAO

Opening Remarks


Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

As prepared

14 January 2022



Dear Colleagues,


1. Welcome to FAO!


2. I look forward to meeting all of you in person as soon as the circumstances allow. 


3. The FAO Crisis Management Team (CMT), led by DDG Laurent Thomas, assesses and monitors risks on a continuous basis, in line with guidance from the WHO and the Italian Authorities, and within the context of the UN wide system.


4. I am optimistic that we will be able to return to a new normal soon, while continuing to prioritize the health and safety of us all.


5. Today’s seminar opens the lines of communication between FAO’s Senior Management, the Secretariat and the newly arrived Permanent Representatives of our Members. 


6. FAO is a big family, and you are now part of that family! 


7. Your work here is critical and I look forward to your support to achieve our collective goals.


8. During this seminar, you will be briefed on the Basic Texts of the Organization. 


9. The FAO Constitution, the General Rules of the Organization and its Financial Regulations are fundamental for both the Membership and the Secretariat to guide our work and collaboration. 


10. And to understand FAO’s mandate, its mission and our respective responsibilities. 


11. The FAO Rules and Regulations provide the framework for achieving consensus and taking decisions.


12. Multilingualism, a defining characteristic of FAO, is also firmly rooted in the Basic Texts. 


13. It enables the effective participation of all Members in the work and governance of the Organization, and I have made this a priority since taking office. 


14. A new corporate strategic policy framework on multilingualism will be presented to the FAO Council at its 170th Session later this year for endorsement.


15. Today you will also be briefed on to the various work streams, with a broad overview on the main areas of work and key insights provided by FAO’s Core Leadership Team, which comprises the 3 Deputy Directors-General, the Chief Economist and the Chief Scientist.


16. Presentations will also include FAO’s emergency and resilience work, and the development the 2 new thematic strategies on climate change, and on science and innovation, 


17. As well as on FAO’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, the Organization’s work on partnerships. 


Dear Colleagues,


18. The FAO Conference in June 2021 endorsed the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31, which will guide our work over the next decade. 


19. The transformation of our agrifood systems to make them more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable,


20. For better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind,


21. Underpins the implementation of the Framework in support of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.


22. We have only 8 planting seasons left to achieve these objectives, 


23. Which have never been more timely and important, in the face of overlapping challenges such as economic downturns, the climate crisis, and the rise in conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies. 


24. The number of people experiencing high acute food insecurity has risen further in 2021, and we need an urgent and collective response. 


25. Transformation of our agrifood systems provides a strategic entry point to address the root causes of hunger, including through the humanitarian-development-peace approach. 


26. We must leverage the momentum generated during 2021 by key international events such as the G20, as well as the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit and Summit.


27. Following which, FAO is hosting the Coordination Hub for the follow-up to the Summit.


28. Furthermore, new flagship programmes have been developed such as the FAO Hand-in-Hand Initiative, the 1000 Digital Villages Initiative and the Green Cities. 


29. As well as a new Strategy for Engagement with the Private Sector and the establishment of an International Platform for Digital Food and Agriculture, to name a few. 


30. Science, technology and innovation are the foundation stones for concrete solutions to the complex problems that we face today, including the challenges faced by our agrifood systems.


Dear Friends,


31. I declared 2020 as the year of efficiency, and 2021 the year of effectiveness. 


32. This year, 2022 will build on this and be the year of the extraordinary!


33. A year of extraordinary efforts to achieve extraordinary results, during these extraordinary times. 


34. As I enter my 3rd year as Director-General of FAO, and we begin a new biennium in the programme of work and budget of FAO, we are moving more than ever before towards action, building on the major development and achievements of the past few years. 


35. Since starting my term of office we have faced many challenges, including the pandemic, nevertheless we were able to adapt, respond and become a fit-for-purpose Organization capable of addressing new challenges and fulfilling our mandate. 


36. We have undergone structural reforms of the Organization to create a more modular and agile structure. 


37. We have built a One FAO, of which you are now a part. 


38. We have broken down silos and enhanced cooperation across the Organization, across regions, and between the Organization and its Members, through open communication and transparency. The new relation between Management and Members following rule-based governance, professional approach and consensus with compromises has been emerging.


39. In the year of the extraordinary, I am counting on your support to make this year count!


40. I wish you all the best as you start with your new tasks and look forward to working closely with you in an efficient, effective and coherent manner to achieve our collective goal for a world free of hunger.


41. Thank you.