21 September 2023, New York: Director-General QU Dongyu and Ambassador Michele J. Sison, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs met and discussed the longstanding partnership between FAO and the United States of America. The Assistant Secretary was joined at the meeting by Dr Cary Fowler, Special Envoy for Global Food Security, US Department of State; Ramin Toloui, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, US Department of State; and Nerissa Cook, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, US Department of State.
The Director-General thanked the Assistant Secretary for the USA’s long-term commitment and ongoing support to FAO. He commended and saluted all the US agencies and counterparts that regularly and constructively engage with the Organization, as well as the American people for their generosity. He noted with appreciation the record level of voluntary contributions provided by the USA to FAO in 2022, and expressed his sincere hope for continued and sustained support in 2023 and beyond given the multiple, ongoing food security challenges globally.
The Assistant Secretary extended her congratulations to the Director-General for his re-election to a second term and for the FAO Ministerial Conference’s recent approval of an increased budgetary level for the Organization, which is a reflection of the importance that Members are placing on the work of FAO. She also conveyed her appreciation for FAO’s ongoing technical and analytical work, and regular reports related to the state of global food security, which provide Members with critical information to support informed decision-making.
The Director-General and the Assistant Secretary discussed the global food security situation, including the humanitarian situation in Haiti, the war in Ukraine, the status of discussions on the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the current state of global commodity markets, among others.
They discussed the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS), which aims to foster more resilient agrifood systems by boosting agricultural productivity and nutrition by developing diverse, climate-resilient crop varieties and building healthy soils. The two also touched upon the importance of increased support to Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), noting the upcoming 4th International Conference on SIDS and 3rd UN Conference on LLDCs in 2024.
They also touched upon the World Food Forum 2023; water and soil issues; two upcoming conferences at FAO later this month (the Global Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation and the Global Conference on Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization); the successful trip of the Rome-based Agencies (RBA) Principals to South Sudan in August 2023; and the importance of private sector engagement in agrifood systems; among others.
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