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


 Dialogue with National Food Systems Conveners

Closing Remarks


Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

 12 January 2023



Dear Colleagues,

I fully support the proposal from my colleagues Máximo Torero, FAO Chief Economist, and Stefanos Fotiou, Director of the Office of SDGs and Head of the FSS Coordination Hub, that we organize another Dialogue in due course, possibly in mid- or late-April, before the Stocktaking Moment.

I always say that FAO is a Coordination Hub, but also a platform for you to send comments and suggestions.

I am committed to building a transparent and intensive conduct, with all the national conveners and other partners.

Thank you for all your contributions today, and for your valuable insights on how to continue to transform agrifood systems, together, as well as on how the Hub can continue to better support your national efforts to accelerate this transformation in a time of immense challenges.

The Secretary-General and I both worked for local government, so we know that government is one of the key players to lead the transformation.

There are many opportunities to achieve this transformation, but there are also many challenges that keep arising that require even more urgent and bolder solutions that are coherent and collective. Our collective commitment and passion is critical to address these challenges, and to keep inspiring us to do even more and better, together.

The Stocktaking Moment in July 2023 will be the perfect occasion to show case your work and demonstrate the real value of agrifood systems transformation in achieving the SDGs.

Through this Dialogue, you can share among yourselves and we can learn from each other. I heard your requests for a balanced agenda with country-ownership and multi-stakeholder engagement. Please be assured that I am fully committed to an inclusive and transparent process.

Since I came to FAO, with the Strategic Framework, the FAO Initiatives and Strategies, we are working from both (or even three) dimensions: top-down and bottom-up, as well as with all relevant partners. For his reason, we first started with the Hand-in-Hand Initiative – to get all partners to work together.

You can continue to count on the support from the Hub, and FAO, in preparation for the Stocktaking Moment in July this year. I encourage all my colleagues, in particular the FAO Country Representatives (FAORs) to work in close cooperation with Resident Coordinators, and also at the regional level.

The Hub will also support regional and global efforts to bring substantive and professional messages that reflect your priorities in other international and regional for a, such as COP-28, and the 2023 SDG Summit.

Many of you have highlighted the importance of linking the work of the Hub with the work on climate action to conserve biodiversity. These linkages can result in multiple benefits:

First: Transformed agrifood systems can decrease emissions by up to 30% of the reductions needed for the Paris Agreement climate change targets; and

Second: With the recently adopted Global Biodiversity Framework, we have a new instrument for building biodiverse, inclusive, resilient, and safe agrifood systems for all.

You have also highlighted need to link the work of the Hub with efforts to address the impacts of conflicts and the food price crisis. FAO has advocated strongly for placing agrifood transformations and investments at the core of the response to the global food crisis, and will continue to support your efforts.

The Hub will continue to support these critical links by creating added value through FAO's knowledge, information, and technical expertise, with the support of the other UN Agencies, while avoiding duplication of work. 

Following today’s fruitful discussion, I am pleased to share some of the key takeaways:

One: National ownership and the leadership of the National Conveners are key to successful agrifood systems transformation;

Two: Effective implementation of National Pathways can deliver urgent change to ensure progress on multiple SDGs to end hunger and malnutrition, eradicate poverty, combat climate change and biodiversity loss, promote sustainable consumption and production, and equality;

Three: Agrifood system transformation can achieve multiple benefits to people and the planet, and the Hub will continue to support your leadership in achieving these transformations at maximum speed and scale. And,

Four: The main role of the Hub is to support and empower you in your role as National Conveners, to ensure that you are effectively connected to the central development strategies within your countries. 

Dear Colleagues,

I truly appreciate your work and I am convinced that by efficiently, effectively and coherently coordinating our collective efforts, we will achieve the transformation of our global agrifood systems, and make a lasting impact.

I thank you and look forward to continue working with you. The door is open and the new Digital FAO is ready to assist you whenever needed.

Thank you.