08 June 2023, Rome: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held a two-day informal dialogue with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from around the world, exploring ways to improve engagement and achieve greater effectiveness both on the ground and in regional and global fora.
FAO recognizes the important role of CSOs in the fight against hunger and in transforming agrifood systems, particularly for their wealth of knowledge and expertise and their “strategic and unique presence in the field, in close proximity to those most in need,” Director-General QU Dongyu said while participating in a hybrid round-table discussion.
“We have a unique opportunity today to further consolidate our partnership,” he added. “We must explore innovative ways to strengthen engagement at all levels, from grassroots organizations to international networks.”
FAO has a long history of collaborating with non-state actors including CSOs in pursuit of its mandate to bolster food and nutrition security for all. FAO Members adopted a formal partnership strategy with CSOs in 2013, and the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 aims to foster a more strategic engagement, capitalizing on the breadth and diversity of their expertise.
The Strategic Framework reflects FAO’s new business model, underlying an important paradigm shift in how FAO works and recognizes that achieving agrifood systems transformation must involve all partners, Qu said.
“Our partnerships must be sustainable, systemic, long-term and catalyze impact at scale,” he added.
He urged participants to increase their participation in the World Food Forum, a FAO-inspired annual event geared to foster inclusive debates, which since its inception in 2021 has contributed to generating concrete impacts in attracting investment, fostering science and innovation and promoting youth as agents of change for the transformation of agrifood systems.
Extraordinary challenges and crises over the past three years have underscored the global nature of food security and sustainable agrifood systems, highlighting the need to bolster partnerships, Qu said.
The Director-General urged CSOs to help FAO speed up its own evolution into a modern, more efficient and effective organization, and more fit-for-purpose, especially at the country-level.
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