Siena, Italy - QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today underlined the importance of innovative partnerships, especially with academic institutions, in helping to promote global food security, as he addressed a Graduation Day ceremony at the University of Siena.
“Fostering innovative partnerships for a food secure world is a top priority for the United Nations, as set out in the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
, Qu said. The priority is “embedded in the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31
, which will guide our work over the next decade,” he added.
To reach this goal, “we need to build stronger, more strategic partnerships with civil society organizations, parliamentarians, Indigenous Peoples, academia and research institutions, and the private sector, and especially with the youth - and all of you!” the FAO Director-General said.
Academic and research institutions are critical partners in this area. FAO is currently collaborating with over 80 of them worldwide, 10 of which are in Italy.
Also participating in the graduation ceremony were Luigi de Mossi, Mayor of Siena, Ambassador Stefano Gatti, Special Envoy for Food Security, at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor Francesco Frati, Rector of the University of Siena and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Sachs also received an honorary degree from the university as part of the celebration.
FAO has a Memorandum of Understanding with the PRIMA Foundation
, a network of research and innovation institutions involving 19 countries in the Mediterranean that promotes innovation, research, technology transfer and training support.
The University of Siena is at the heart of this, serving as the host of the Italian Secretariat of the PRIMA Foundation.
The FAO Director-General announced that as part of the campaign ‘Together for the SDGs’, FAO is launching a web App called “Urban Actions”
to inspire the public, especially young people, to learn about the 2030 Agenda and how they can help achieve the global goals in their own city.
Qu encouraged the new graduates to download the App from a ‘SDGs Wall’
which has been in place in Siena for the last few days, and learn about the specific actions they can take.
“Together, we can make our urban areas more inclusive, safe, green and resilient to ensure they work with nature, and improve city living.”
He said Siena was making great efforts to be a sustainable city, demonstrating a balanced approach to protecting the local environment while stimulating economic growth through good urban planning, land usage, and rural and urban development.
Qu also invited his young audience to participate in the World Food Forum
to be held from 17-21 October at FAO headquarters in Rome. It is the second of its kind, which will be entirely focused on empowering young people to actively shape our agrifood systems and achieve the SDGs, the Director-General said.