Global Agriculture

QU Dongyu honours the President of Ireland with the FAO Agricola Medal

Quick Share

08 June 2024, Dublin: FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, today presented President Michael D. Higgins of Ireland with the prestigious FAO Agricola Medal, the Organization’s highest award, in a ceremony held at Áras an Uachtaráin, the official presidential residence in Dublin.

“President Higgins continues to draw the world’s attention to the links between hunger and the global crises of poverty, migration, economic downturns and finance deficits,, and the impacts of the climate crisis,” the Director-General said, underscoring the President’s commitment to championing the urgent transformation of global agrifood systems, towards a model that is informed by science; ensures freedom from hunger; provides healthy and nutritious foods; is sustainable; and in harmony with our planet.

The FAO Agricola Medal acknowledges outstanding contributions to agriculture and food security, celebrating those who have shown exceptional commitment to the fight against hunger and malnutrition. The award embodies the spirit of innovation, perseverance, and leadership in addressing the challenges facing global food systems.

The FAO Director-General noted that the highest recognition by FAO has been bestowed to a Head of State who “has passionately and consistently raised the importance of food security on the global stage”, and that has questioned global agriculture policies and continues “asking hard questions about our current farming models and the necessary revisions to the use of subsidies, with deep thinking and passion”.

Qu recalled President’s Higgins’ speeches at the World Food Day and the World Food Forum in Rome last year, which he said “we had the privilege of listening to” and highlighted how his words had “impacted the participants and inspired the youth”.

Thanking the FAO Director-General for an award he was “deeply honoured to accept,” President Higgins said: “We have an opportunity to make this century the century in which we rid the planet once and for all of global hunger, one that will see a shared commitment to a global food-secure family, one based on the firm foundations of respect for each nation’s own institutions, traditions, experiences and wisdoms, founded on a recognition of the solidarity that binds us together as humans, and an acknowledgement of the responsibility we share for our vulnerable planet and the fundamental dignity of all those who hold life on it.”

Ireland, a guiding light

In his opening remarks, the Director-General emphasized the deep connection between plant health and food security. He reflected on the historical significance of the study of plant health, which has its origins in Ireland in the 1840s with the study of the pathology of the potato blight. This catastrophic event led to widespread famine, fundamentally shaping the course of Irish history.

Qu noted how his own studies of the potato brought him to Ireland. “I saw how, under a strong leadership and coordination, an enabling agriculture policy, innovation, preserving national extension services and using subsidies to build competitiveness had been successfully implemented in the country leading to fruitful results of agrifood systems transformation and rural development,” he said.

“This is a journey that needs to still be undertaken by many of the poorer countries of the world today as they face the many challenges affecting their agrifood systems. And we need to guide them along this road,” the FAO Director-General said. “Ireland has not forgotten how difficult the path has been, and it continues to be a guiding light globally. Ireland reflects what can be achieved by collective efforts, working towards a common goal,” he added.

Qu noted that as FAO Director-General he has focused on transforming global agrifood systems to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. This focus is central to the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31, which will guide the organization’s work over the next decade and beyond.

The Strategic Framework, along with key strategies, initiatives, and action plans, supports Members in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. This effort is driven by the aspiration of the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life—ensuring no one is left behind.

The Director-General concluded: “The awarding of the FAO Agricola Medal to President Higgins reflects this joint conviction of the need to transform our agrifood systems for the SDGs, especially SDG2 and SDG1. It is the highest recognition by FAO to a Head of State who has committed his life, his experience, his achievements, his influence and his political will and courage to better global agrifood systems, for a better future – with an active rather than passive approach.”

Also Read: Horticulture Production in India Sees Mixed Trends in 2023-24; Down by 32.51 Lakh Tonnes

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

Quick Share