Global Agriculture

Optimizing the work of FAO’s country offices

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07 November 2023, Rome: QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) outlined the priorities for the next two years in a wide-ranging address to the FAO Joint Meeting of the Programme and Finance Committees, emphasizing the need to “learn together, work together and contribute together for humanity and happiness.”

He put a key emphasis on optimizing the work of FAO’s country offices to maximize impact. “We are working in agriculture, we need to go out in the field,” the Director-General said.

He spoke at the Joint Meeting of the 137th Session of the Programme Committee and the 198th Session of the Finance Committee, governing bodies that provide recommendations to the FAO Council on matters related to the programme of work of the Organization.

Qu noted that the Programme of Work and Budget 2024-25 that the Joint Meeting will review, continues his vision of building a dynamic and modern FAO for a better world with an action-oriented focus in line with its core competencies and an improved business model, all aimed at leveraging FAO’s potential, advancing innovation-driven transformation and strengthening FAO’s capacity and capability to serve its Members.

FAO’s Country Offices, as well as Regional and Sub-regional offices, are instrumental to accelerating results through the value-added impact areas under each of the Four Betters – better production, better nutrition, better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind – which Qu emphasized was not a slogan but “a way of life and of working.”

To speed up and scale up tangible and accountable results on the ground, the Director-General announced that FAO will convene a global working meeting of all FAO Representatives in Rome in December. The meeting, a first in FAO’s almost 80 years, aims to strengthen internal management and assure a coherent network, systematic capacities and results-oriented approaches to implement FAO’s programs, initiatives and thematic strategies.

Another focus for the 2024-25 biennium will be to further strengthen partnerships, including through the establishment of regional knowledge hubs in partnerships with relevant centers of excellence.

Peace a prerequisite for food security

Qu expressed sadness at the loss of lives in ongoing conflicts and protracted crises around the world.. “Peace is a prerequisite for food security” And the “Right to Food is a basic human right” he underlined.

FAO actively engages with global fora, including the UN system, the G7, the G20, the COP summits, BRICS and many others, aiming to ensure synergies and obtain concrete outcomes for farmers and consumers, the Director-General said.

Attesting to recognition of the Organization’s approach are the growing resources mobilized through the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, as well as fostering expert dialogue ahead of the COP28 summit on climate change in Dubai starting later this month, he said.

“We should not think of ourselves as observers but as game changers,” Qu said.

“Agriculture provides the most inclusive solution to eradicate poverty and hunger and reduce inequalities for a better world,” he said.

Qu concluded by saying that his focus over the next four year would be on the “Four Rs” to guide internal changes in the Organization: “Recovery from the pandemic and broken facilities; Reform of our systems and management to be fit for purpose and mandate; Rebuild FAO’s network and comprehensive capacity; and a Renaissance of FAO for a better future.”

Also Read: CGIAR capacity development hub at UM6P in Morocco

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