24 January 2024, Rome: The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, today underscored Africa’s untapped potential to transform its agrifood systems as he addressed a handover ceremony of the Chair of the Africa Regional Group of Permanent Representatives to FAO and the other UN agencies based in Rome.
Qu thanked the outgoing Chair, the Ambassador of South Africa, Her Excellency Nosipho Jezile, for the fruitful collaboration over the past year, and congratulated her successor, the Ambassador of Niger Her Excellency Fatimata Cheiffou, for her appointment, describing the two officials as “extraordinary ladies that have led and will continue to lead the Africa Regional Group with great expertise, dedication, and passion.”
In his address, the Director-General noted that Africa holds a special place in his heart and is an important focus of FAO’s work, describing the contribution of the Africa Regional Group to the governance of the Organization as “fundamental.”
“In particular, I wish to applaud the Africa Regional Group’s constructive participation and guidance leading to the endorsement of the historic increased budget level, and to the Programme of Work and Budget 2024-25,” Qu said.
The Director-General highlighted Africa’s vast potential thanks to a young population, a richness of natural resources and biodiversity.
“It is in Africa where sustainable agrifood systems transformation will make the largest impact, not only for the continent but also globally,” Qu said, adding that “working closely with Africa, the African Union, the regional economic communities and all partners is essential.”
The Director-General said FAO strongly supports the Agenda 2063 and will continue to work closely with the region to achieve its objectives, together with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.
Important joint work includes the assessment of the Malabo Declaration’s Implementation, Home Grown School Feeding and climate adaptation, and effective implementation of the Africa Climate Change and Resilient Recovery Action Plan. All three priorities are included in the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31, he said.
Among other things, the Africa Group has been playing a key role in preparations for the upcoming 33rd Africa Regional Ministerial Conference in Morocco, which will identify regional priorities in addressing the evolving context, challenges, and gaps on the continent and ensure that they are integrated into FAO’s programme of work.
“Together with the Africa Regional Group, as well as the other regional groups, FAO will continue to make every effort to provide you with the best technical, professional support to achieve the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind,” Qu told the Group.
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