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

COFO 26

Special Event: Youth World Forestry Week

“A Bright Future for Forestry - Investing in youth career development”

Welcome Remarks

By

Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

4 October 2022

Rome

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Young Friends, 

1.         Today’s special event is organized by and for youth.

2.         One of the key messages from this week’s session of COFO is that healthy forests mean healthy societies, healthy economies and healthy ecosystems.

3.         To achieve this, we must continue planting the seeds and seedlings for a better, more sustainable future.

4.         And we cannot do that without the youth – together with all of you here today, and those of you online.

5.         You are our next generation of leaders, business makers and ordinary workers, and the bridge to a healthy future.

6.         The role of forestry is changing and is increasingly recognized as a crucial part of the solution in addressing today’s complex global challenges:

7.         From climate to hunger, from poverty to socio-economic inequalities.

8.         With this changing role is a growing demand for expertise in sustainable forest management, forest conservation and restoration, agroforestry and in forest-based bio-economies.

9.         We need to make the forest sector more appealing to young people!

10.       As Deputy Director-General Semedo says, we need to make this sector more sexy, more appealing!

11.       We must make sure that young people have the skills to shape a continuously evolving forest sector by:

•          One: investing in education and career development;

•          Two: highlighting the expertise and contributions of young professionals; and

•          Three: providing appealing opportunities for youth to thrive and emerge as leaders, and as business makers.

Dear Friends,

12.       We must work and engage with you - today’s young people!

13.       The Youth Call for Action Work with Us launched at the 15th World Forestry Congress calls on young professionals to work together towards a more inclusive and enabling forest sector.

14.       We must respond to that call, and today is a reply to the call made in Seoul!

15.       Today’s event will showcase examples and opportunities from a number of initiatives, policy decisions, enterprises and actions that can inspire us all.

16.       We must elevate and celebrate the passion, creativity and commitment of young people as key drivers of positive change.

17.       Today’s youth are very much aware of, and engaged in, more sustainable and inclusive approaches.

18.       Upon taking office in 2019, I launched the first-ever FAO Youth Committee and FAO Women’s Committee to foster their engagement and innovative spark – a spark can make a bright future!

19.       And I am pleased to see the fruitful results after just three years!

20.       There has been important networking among young FAO staff, active global engagement through the World Food Forum Youth Action Track, and large involvement in FAO’s first Mentorship Programme.

21.       Last year, the FAO Youth Committee initiated the World Food Forum, and in two weeks we will hold the second World Food Forum, together with the World Youth Forum, the Hand-in-Hand Investment Forum and the Science and Innovation Forum.

22.       The passion to engage is there, and we must enable it!

23.       That is why the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 embraces “youth, gender and inclusion’’ as a cross-cutting theme for all our work.

24.       Investing in a sustainable future means investing in youth.

25.       GuanZi (475 BC) in ancient China told us that it takes ten years to grow trees, but hundred years to nurture talents.

26.       So we need lots of investment in our youth for our endless planet, which we inherit from one generation to the next.

27.       So today let us seize and create every opportunity to uplift youth, so they can be the leaders that the forest sector and the world needs.

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

29.       I thank you and I wish you a successful event and continued intergenerational solidarity!

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