FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations in New York

Launch of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022

New York (United States), Hybrid Event, 06/07/2022

The 2022 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report will, as usual, present the latest updates on the food security and nutrition situation around the world, including updated estimates on the cost and affordability of healthy diets. Subsequently, it will take a deep dive into how healthy diets can become more affordable by repurposing existing food and agricultural policy support in ways that help reduce the cost of nutritious foods relative to other foods and people’s income. 

The report draws on a stocktaking exercise that explore the predominant food and agricultural policy supports currently in place around the world, the amount of support provided, the activities and actors supported, and the extent to which this support is pushing up the relative cost of nutritious foods and promoting unhealthy diets. The respective analyses and evidence-based guidance are also provided on alternative food and agricultural policy support mixes that can help reduce the cost of nutritious foods, as well as on how the resulting trade-offs need to be managed to ensure agrifood systems are not only more efficient, but also sustainable and inclusive.

To the extent that the contribution of agrifood systems to the economy is significant in many countries, such alternative food and agricultural policy support will also be important to enable inclusive recovery. In this regard, the report is aligned to the 2022 HLPF theme – “Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. 

The theme this year, “Repurposing food and agricultural policies to make healthy diets more affordable," is a clear reflection of the fact that the world has recognized that agrifood systems – and their transformation – are central to rethinking the way we produce and consume food, the relationship between humanity and nature, and what is at stake as the world redouble efforts to achieving the SDGs. 

Previous SOFI reports | Event website | Concept note | Agenda | Watch recording

Keynote speaker statements

President of the 77th Session of the UN Economic and Social Council
President of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly
Deputy Secretary-General
FAO Director-General
IFAD President
UNICEF Executive Director
WFP Executive Director
WHO Director-General

Opening Segment 



His Excellency Collen Vixen Kelapile was elected the seventy-seventh President of the Economic and Social Council on 23 July 2021. Ambassador Vixen Kelapile is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Botswana to the United Nations in New York.

His Excellency Collen Vixen Kelapile has an accumulated career of 26 years in multilateral diplomacy, both as a government representative, intergovernmental expert and is also a former United Nations (UN) Secretariat staff member.

Before his appointment in 2018 as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, he was the Chief of Staff to the Executive-Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 2014 to 2018. From 2013 to 2014, he served as the Deputy Director in the Department of Africa and the Middle East at the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation of Botswana overseeing Central, East, North and West Africa as well as the Middle East. He was elected by the UN General Assembly as a member of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) from 2004 to 2012, where he served for three consecutive 3-year terms amounting to 9 years. During his tenure in the Committee, he served as Vice-Chair of the ACABQ for 3 years from 2008 to 2010 and subsequently as its Chair for 2 years from 2011 to 2012.

Ambassador Kelapile was posted at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Botswana in New York from 1998 to 2003, where he rose through diplomatic ranks from Second Secretary to level of Counsellor prior to his successful election to ACABQ in 2003. As a member of the diplomatic staff of the Mission of Botswana in New York he was the delegate to the Administrative and Budgetary (or Fifth) Committee of the UN General Assembly for 6 years from 1998 to 2003. He was also delegate to other related bodies such as the Committee for Programmes and Coordination (CPC), which is a dual subsidiary Committee reporting to both the UN General Assembly and ECOSOC.

During his tenure at the Mission of Botswana in New York Ambassador Kelapile also simultaneously served as focal point on the Legal (or Sixth) Committee of the UN General Assembly, coinciding also with the time of the elaboration of the Rome Statute on the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

He served in the Bureau of the Fifth Committee as the Vice-Chair at the 55th Session of the General Assembly in 2000/2001, and subsequently as the Vice-Chair of the CPC at its 42nd Session in 2002. He was the Coordinator of the African Group of experts in the Fifth Committee from 2001 to 2003. In conjunction with his present position as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, he is also concurrently Botswana’s Ambassador to Cuba and the High Commissioner to Jamaica, on a non-resident basis.

Among his other most recent engagements and roles in the UN’s intergovernmental processes in New York include serving as:

  • Vice-President of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board, 2019 Session.
  • Chair of 59th Session of the Committee for Programme and Coordination, 2019.
  • Co-Facilitator of the Alignment Process of the agendas of the UN General Assembly and ECOSOC during 74th Session of the Assembly, 2019/2020.
  • Chair of Special Political and Decolonization (or Fourth) Committee during 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, 2020/2021.
  • Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), 2021 Session.
  • Co-Chair of the Group of Friends on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) at the UN, 2021-2023.
  • Co-Chair of the Joint Steering Committee of the African Group-CARRICOM Caucus (AfCAR) Collaboration Initiative at the UN, of which he is a co-founder together with the Permanent Representative of Grenada, 2020 – Present.  

Ambassador Kelapile joined the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation in 1995 as Desk Officer for the UN, soon after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree (Political Science and Public Administration) from the University of Botswana in the same year.

Among other diplomatic career capacity-building and leadership development, Ambassador Kelapile also received professional diplomatic training at the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi, India, in 1996.



Abdulla Shahid is widely recognized as an exceptional politician and a seasoned diplomat, with a long and distinguished career serving in both the Government and legislature of Maldives.

Since his appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2018, for the second time, Mr. Shahid has worked incessantly to reposition Maldives as a responsible and respected member of the international community, by renewing previously strained relationships and building new ones, both in the bilateral and the multilateral domains. He has reinvigorated the country’s efforts in the multilateral arena and led national efforts to rejoin the Commonwealth after a four-year hiatus.

Maldives also won the bid to host the 2023 Indian Ocean Island Games, after tireless lobbying efforts conducted under the leadership of Mr. Shahid. The Games will be the first-ever international multisport competition held in Maldives.

As a strong advocate for gender equality, he is credited with achieving gender parity among the country’s diplomatic Heads of Missions for the first time, as well as in the country’s foreign service.

Amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Mr. Shahid has been one of the leading voices in the international arena highlighting the devastation caused by the global health crisis on the economies and societies of small island developing States. He has continuously drawn attention to the inherent economic vulnerabilities of small island developing States to external shocks and their limited ability to bounce back from disasters. As a leading voice of the Maldivian Democratic Party, Mr. Shahid adamantly advocated for political and judicial reform and was incarcerated for a short period for his relentless activism. As the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Party, as well as of the Joint Opposition coalition, he played a pivotal role in mobilizing international action against injustice, corruption and human rights violations in Maldives.

Mr. Shahid holds a master’s degree in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and completed his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Government at the University of Canberra.

Keynote Segment


Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Mohammed served as Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action and efforts to protect the natural environment.

Ms. Mohammed first joined the United Nations in 2012 as Special Adviser to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the responsibility for post-2015 development planning. She led the process that resulted in global agreement around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms. Mohammed began her career working on the design of schools and clinics in Nigeria. She served as an advocate focused on increasing access to education and other social services, before moving into the public sector, where she rose to the position of adviser to four successive Presidents on poverty, public sector reform, and sustainable development.

Ms. Mohammed has been conferred several honorary doctorates and has served as an adjunct professor, lecturing on international development. The recipient of various global awards, Ms. Mohammed has served on numerous international advisory boards and panels.

Partners Segment


QU Dongyu, who took office on 1 August 2019 as Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has spent his life working on how to make sure the world is fed.

Born in 1963 to a rice-growing family in China’s Hunan Province, Qu studied horticultural science at Hunan Agricultural University and then plant breeding and genetics at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He later added environmental science to his knowledge portfolio while earning a PhD at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands.

Before coming to FAO, Qu served as China’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, where one of his achievements was to promote inclusive and innovative development and make sure information and communication technologies (ICT) were available in rural areas so that more than 400 million farmers could use their smartphones as a new farming tool As Vice Governor of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, one of China’s landlocked and poorest areas, Qu formulated action plans aimed at poverty reduction, disaster reduction and prevention, women empowerment, agritourism and mutual learning platforms designed to boost trust between ethnic groups.

Qu says he represents the combination of an “Asian soul” and a “global mind”. Recognized for scientific innovation as a young scholar, Qu has for 30 years been involved in international exchanges and orchestrated major events including the World Potato Congress, the International Rice Congress and the International Conference on Plant Protection, and participated in multilateral initiatives such as the World Trade Organization and the G20 as well as numerous bilateral initiatives involving Asia, Africa and Latin America. He has also directly helped design flagship South-South Cooperation projects with FAO and the World Bank.

Read the complete bio here.



Gilbert F. Houngbo became the sixth President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on 1 April 2017. He was reappointed for a second term in February 2021. This year IFAD aims to increase the incomes of 20 million poor small-scale food producers, 50 per cent of whom are women, by 20 per cent. Houngbo is also Chair of UN-Water, which coordinates the efforts of over 30 UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues.

Houngbo has more than 30 years’ experience in the public, multilateral and private sectors including as Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization; Prime Minister of the Togolese Republic, and a number of executive-level positions at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), including Director of Finances, Chief of Staff, and Assistant Secretary-General. He spent a decade in the private sector, including at Price Waterhouse, Canada. In 2021, President Houngbo was invited to become a board member of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), and was also recently invited to chair the Board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute.

Houngbo earned a Maîtrise en gestion des entreprises from the University of Lomé, Togo and a Diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures Spécialisées in Specialised Accounting from the University of Quebec, Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants.


Ms. Russell brings to the role decades of experience in developing innovative policy that empowers underserved communities around the world; delivering high-impact programmes that protect women and girls, including in humanitarian crises; building, elevating, and managing diverse workforces; and mobilizing resources and political support for a broad range of initiatives.

She served as Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. From 2013 to 2017, she served as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. In that post, she integrated women’s issues across all elements of U.S. foreign policy, represented the United States in more than 45 countries, and worked with foreign governments, multilateral organizations, and civil society. She was the principal architect of the ground-breaking “U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls”.

Previously, Ms. Russell served as Deputy Assistant to the President at the White House under President Barack Obama, Senior Advisor on International Women’s Issues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Associate Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice, and Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Before re-entering government service in 2020, she taught at the Harvard Kennedy School as an Institute of Politics Fellow. She also served as the board co-chair of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, as a board member of Women for Women International, as a member of the Sesame Street Advisory Board, as a member of the non-profit organization, KIVA Advisory Council, and as a member of the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Trust Women initiative.

Ms. Russell holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, magna cum laude, from Boston College and a Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University Law School. 

Ms. Russell is UNICEF’s eighth Executive Director, and the fourth woman to lead the 20,000-person-strong agency in its 75-year history.


David Beasley became the fourteenth Executive Director of the World Food Programme in 2017. At WFP, he is putting to use four decades of leadership and communications skills to mobilize more financial support and public awareness for the global fight against hunger. Before coming to WFP, Mr. Beasley spent a decade working in more than 100 countries, directing projects designed to foster peace, reconciliation and economic progress. As Governor of the U.S. state of South Carolina from 1995 to 1999, Mr. Beasley guided the state during years of economic transformation, helping to reshape the state’s economy into a healthy, diverse and robust market. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of South Carolina and taught at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected WHO Director-General for a five-year term by WHO Member States at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017. In doing so, he was the first WHO Director-General elected from among multiple candidates by the World Health Assembly, and was the first person from the WHO African Region to head the world’s leading public health agency.

Born in the Eritrean city of Asmara, Dr Tedros graduated from the University of Asmara with a Bachelor of Biology, before earning a Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London, a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and an Honorary Fellowship from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Following his studies, Dr Tedros returned to Ethiopia to support the delivery of health services, first working as a field-level malariologist, before heading a regional health service and later serving in Ethiopia’s federal government for over a decade as Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs. As Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012, he led a comprehensive reform of the country’s health system, built on the foundation of universal health coverage and provision of services to all people, even in the most remote areas.

Under his leadership, Ethiopia expanded its health infrastructure, developed innovative health financing mechanisms, and expanded its health workforce. A major component of reforms he drove was the creation of a primary health care extension programme that deployed 40 000 female health workers throughout the country. A significant result was an approximate 60% reduction in child and maternal mortality compared to 2000 levels.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016, he elevated health as a political issue nationally, regionally and globally. In this role, he led efforts to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to his election as Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros held many leadership positions in global health, including as Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and Co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Board.

Setting the scene


Máximo Torero Cullen was appointed Assistant Director-General of the Economic and Social Development Department at FAO in January 2019, before being appointed to his current role as FAO Chief Economist.

Prior to joining FAO, he served at the World Bank Group as Executive Director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Before the Bank, he led the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, D.C. He is a Professor on leave at the University of the Pacific, Peru and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at University of Bonn, Germany. He holds a Ph.D. and a Master degree in Economics from the University of California (UCLA), Los Angeles, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of the Pacific in Peru.



Lana Wong is a moderator, emcee, former BBC television host, photographer and creative director of projects that inspire. Harvard and Royal College of Art alumna who lived abroad in London, Nairobi and Paris for 17 years, she is currently based in Washington, D.C. and is leading communications for the Education Commission.

She is a founding member of the diverse collective Moderate The Panel, and excited to moderate and emcee events that touch on international development, education, environment, the arts, youth, and the power of personal storytelling. In 1997, Lana founded Shootback – a youth photography and development project in the Nairobi slums that harnessed the creative voices of young Kenyans so they could tell their own stories.

The youth’s powerful photos and words became the basis of a book, an international touring exhibition, a documentary film, and more. More than 20 years later, the project continues, offshoot slum photography and film groups have developed, and many Shootback students are now professional photographers and filmmakers. Inspired by this experience and her creative collaborations with international organizations, local NGOs, foundations, and artists, Lana is dedicated to harnessing the power of media, the arts, and youth voices for advocacy, education, and sustainable development.