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

FAO Investment Centre – Investment Days 2021 

Opening Remarks

By

Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

 As prepared

19 January 2022

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

1. Happy New Year!

 

2. At our recent Town Hall Meeting in December, I declared 2022 as the year of the extraordinary,

 

3. During which we will strive to be extraordinary, together.

 

4. Despite the enormous challenges that threaten our efforts to end global hunger, I remain optimistic.

 

5. Because in 2022 we will move from words to action and commitments.

 

6. 2022 will be the year of extraordinary efforts leading to extraordinary results.

 

7. We already have a number of flagship programmes that are now bearing fruit: the Hand in Hand Initiative, the 1000 Digital Villages Initiatives and the One Country One Priority Product programme, to name a few.

 

8. This is why I requested a Transformation Plan for the Investment Centre as investment, science and innovation, enabling policies and commodity focus are keys for transformation of agrifood systems at country level.

 

9. Our Strategic Frameworkfor the next decade supports the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable agrifood systems.

 

10. This is a strong and fit-for-purpose framework that will support Members in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in an efficient, effective and coherent manner.

 

11. Through our Strategic Framework, we stand firmly committed to achieving the Four Betters – better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.

 

12. The Four Betters are complemented by 20 Programme Priority Areas (PPAs).

 

13. Scaling-up investment is one of the Programme Priority Areas, but will also impact all our PPAs in investments. 

 

14. For this reason, the work of the Investment Centre is critical for scaling-up impact at country level by localizing the Four Betters. 

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

15. Over the past year, we have focused on building back better from the pandemic,

 

16. And contributed substantially to the UN Food Systems Summit – for which FAO is now hosting the Coordination Hub for follow up action.

 

17. These two areas of work are interconnected, and in both cases, the Investment Centre has a key role to play in supporting agrifood systems transformation.

 

18. Your contribution in creating an enabling environment for supportive policies and investments at the country level represent important means by which FAO can support Members towards the achievement of the SDGs and the 4Betters.

 

19. As I said at the Finance in Common Summit held last year, Public Development Banks are part of the solution.

 

20. With their unique combination of development mandate, long-term perspective and ability to finance both the private and public sector.

 

21. These national and international banks can not only inject more financing into agrifood sectors, but also build important bridges between stakeholders. 

 

22. I am pleased that the Transformation Plan places a new and stronger emphasis on working with national development banks.

 

23. While consolidating our cooperation with traditional partners like the World Bank, IFAD and the EBRD, our collaboration with new partners like the European Union and Rabobank, is very encouraging.   

 

24. These collaborations will help boost financing for smallholder farmers and small and medium-sized agrifood enterprises,

 

25. Using innovative blended finance to support greater private investment in sustainable agrifood systems,

 

26. And offering prospects for formulating and implementing joint projects financed by the Green Climate Fund.

 

27. Our work with longstanding international financing partners continues to deliver impressive results.

 

28. In 2021, FAO supported the design of 40 public investment programmes with a total value of 7 billion US Dollars.

 

29. The FAO-Green Climate Fund portfolio has reached 500 million US Dollars, with 11 pipeline projects in 5 regions.

 

30. The FAO Investment Centre supported the bulk of these investment proposals!

 

31. Additional Green Climate Fund proposals designed for Member Nations, together with IFI partners such as IFAD and CABEI, reached a further 300 million US Dollars.

 

32. Together we have contributed to over 1 billion US Dollars of active GCF projects for our Members!

 

33. In addition, despite travel restrictions, implementation support to ongoing projects, as well as upstream policy support, continued virtually.

 

34. This is efficient, effective and extraordinary service to our Members!

 

Dear Colleagues,

35. Last year, we increased the Investment Centre’s Regular Programme resources by 8 million US Dollars per biennium,

 

36. Bringing the total Regular Programme plus External Budget to a total of 80 million US Dollars for the biennium.

 

37. This is an important recognition for the work of the Investment Centre across all key areas of work of the Organization.

 

38. Last year I asked Máximo and Mohamed to develop a transformation plan to raise the profile of Investment in FAO as a hub for providing investment and finance solutions and innovations to our Members,

 

39. And to expand our outreach to many more investors and partners. 

 

40. Today, I’m pleased that after six months of hard work, we can officially launch the Investment Centre Transformation Plan. 

 

41. I invite you to challenge yourselves: what will be your individual and collective contributions to making the Investment Centre's Transformation Plan a reality - moving from words to actions and commitments?

 

42. Before concluding today, let me once again congratulate the Investment Centre on the 2021 Team Recognition Award, which recognized 291 outstanding team members. 

 

43. This truly reflects all of FAO working together. 

 

44. As we start putting this transformational plan into action, I thank you for your commitment and encourage you to make 2022 an Extraordinary Year for the Investment Centre!

 

45. Thank you!

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