20 November 2023, Rome: Today the FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, and a High-Level Swiss Delegation composed of H.E. Thomas Gürber, Deputy State Secretary and Head of the UN Division, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), H.E Patrizia Danzi Director-General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and Mr Christian Hofer Director-General, Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), met at FAO headquarters to discuss further collaboration between FAO and Switzerland.
The Director-General thanked Switzerland for its longstanding cooperation with FAO through with a wide variety of Swiss agencies, and indicated he looked forward to further strengthening the partnership during his second mandate.
Mr Gürber recalled the ongoing exchanges between FAO and Switzerland to innovate agrifood systems, and indicated Switzerland is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the period 2023–24, which reflected the country’s commitment to peace and security within the UN and globally.
Mr Hofer recalled the recent official opening of the Swiss Locust Centre at FAO headquarters, and the Director-General commended the Centre, as well as the Innovation Awards, as good examples of scalable and impactful collaborations between FAO and Switzerland. He further noted that the awards provide a good scalable model to attract private sector investments in agrifood systems for global impact.
Ms Danzi stressed the importance of FAO for the Swiss Government, underlined by the fact that FAO collaborates with many different departments across the government. She mentioned that Switzerland is currently drafting the new International Cooperation Strategy 2025 -28, focusing on the transformative capacity needed to address the global challenges.
The Director-General mentioned that Switzerland has a lot of experience in transforming their agrifood systems to become modern, sustainable, competitive and prosperous, as an important part of their national environment, and invited the delegation to share this longstanding experience with FAO Members, especially Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs). He further mentioned that if there is a good strategy and business model, private sector will invest and take ownership.
They also discuss issues related to rural development, youth and women. In that regard, the Director-General mentioned the impact of the World Food Forum, based on Youth, Science & Innovation, and Investment, and invited Switzerland to use FAO as a platform to share experiences in support of Members, so they can accelerate the transformation of their agrifood systems in innovative ways, for example through the design of innovative agriculture insurance services for smallholder farmers.
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