Global Agriculture

Bilateral meeting with Ambassador Michele J. Sison, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, US Department of State

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30 April 2024, Rome: Director-General QU Dongyu and Ambassador Michele J. Sison, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, met today at FAO headquarters in Rome. The Assistant Secretary was joined at the meeting by Ambassador Jeffrey Prescott, Permanent Representative of the U.S. to FAO. 

The Director-General and Assistant Secretary spoke about the humanitarian situation in Gaza where FAO is providing animal fodder to herders and seeking to provide other critical support for smallholder farmers to enable the local production of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as milk and eggs, for better nutrition. They explored how FAO could scale up support in Sudan, with the Director-General highlighting the importance of providing seed, fertilizer, small tools and simple agriculture machinery ahead of the June planting season to allow local food production that could feed millions. In the context of other hunger hotpots [including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Ukraine], they also discussed the importance of support to local agricultural production, Rome-based agency collaboration and strong UN Country Team coordination to reboot national agrifood production systems.

The Director-General also welcomed the recommendations of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and the ongoing MOPAN review, in the context of building a strong, professional FAO.  The Director-General noted that such reviews can help FAO identify and offer solutions to dismantle silos, and unleash FAO’s potential to Recover from the pandemic and conflicts, Reform its systems to be fit for purpose, Rebuild FAO’s network and capacity and usher in a Renaissance of FAO. He reiterated his support for a strong Ombuds function and an empowered Ethics Office, and his invitation to the Office of the Inspector General to work with these offices.

Finally, the Director-General explained FAO’s critical role in promoting free, open and harmonized international agricultural trade and supporting developing countries to develop their own special agricultural products (SAPs) to improve their livelihoods and incomes, to improve food security and collectively spur healthy competition and rational use of natural resources. He highlighted FAO’s One Country One Priority Product (OCOP) which promotes inclusive, profitable and environmentally sustainable agrifood systems through green production, green storage, green processing and green marketing of SAPs, in line with FAO’s Strategic Framework.

Also Read: Bayer partners with the Government of India’s Common Service Center (CSC-SPV) and Gram Unnati to Facilitate Last Mile Delivery of Agri-inputs to Smallholder Farmers

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