Historic alternatives for world motion to eradicate poverty, finish starvation and cut back inequalities

Participants in FAO’s 166th Council, together with Director-General QU Dongyu (higher left) and Independent Chairperson Khalid Mehboob (second from left)

26/04/2021 Rome

Addressing the 166th Session of the FAO Council at the moment, Director-General QU Dongyu highlighted the methods the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been offering fixed assist to Members, together with to beat the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Each of the selections, actions and outcomes shared with Council at the moment are “not an remoted train, however a part of an interlinked chain of progress,” he mentioned. 

Alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Director-General famous that “we’re witnessing the size of the long-term results on agri-food methods, meals safety and vitamin conditions all over the world,” pointing to opposed traits corresponding to growing meals costs, the suspension of faculty meals in lots of elements of the world, restrictions on promoting meals in public city locations, jobs in danger within the processing and distribution sectors, and detrimental impacts in incomes, particularly for rural households in principally agricultural areas. 

FAO has not solely continued to help Members however has additionally progressed on the “deepest transformative motion at FAO since its creation”, a restructuring of groups and competencies to create an agile, inclusive and clear fashionable FAO with a versatile and modular construction for optimum cross-sectoral collaboration.

In that respect, the Director-General famous that “extra coherent regional and sub-regional constructions” are being established and Country Office capacities strengthened, “to ship impactful outcomes as One FAO”.

The Council is the chief organ of the FAO Conference. It has 49 Members and meets between Conference which brings all 194 Members collectively each two years. The Council workouts capabilities coping with the world meals and agricultural scenario and associated issues, present and potential actions of the Organization, together with the Programme of Work and Budget, administrative issues, monetary administration of the Organization, and constitutional questions.

Strategic Framework 2022-31 and PWB 2022-23

The Strategic Framework for the following ten years was developed by a sequence of intensive, inclusive and clear consultations with Members, each formal and casual, in addition to an intensive inside course of drawing on the breadth and depth of FAO’s data and experience. 

The Strategic Framework seeks to assist the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the transformation to MORE environment friendly, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food methods for higher manufacturing, higher vitamin, a greater surroundings, and a greater life, leaving nobody behind. The “Four Betters” characterize an organizing precept for a way FAO intends to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs), notably SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 2 (zero starvation) and SDG 10 (diminished inequalities). 

“The Four Betters mirror the interconnected financial, social and environmental dimensions of agri-food methods. As such, additionally they encourage a strategic and systems-oriented method inside all of FAO’s interventions,” Qu mentioned. 

He emphasised that 4 “accelerators” – expertise, innovation, information and enhances (governance, human capital and establishments) – can be utilized to maximise efforts and facilitate the administration of trade-offs in accordance with nationwide priorities. 

The Strategic Framework identifies 20 interdisciplinary, issue-based and technical Programme Priority Areas (PPAs), the place FAO has a comparative benefit, monitor report and talent to behave. The PPAs are additional described within the Medium-Term Plan. 

Strengthening partnerships is a key facet of the brand new Strategic Framework, and modern funding and financing are additionally essential to bridge the present substantial hole for reaching the SDGs, the Director-General mentioned. 

The Programme of Work and Budget 2022-23 interprets the strategic narrative into the biennial programme of labor. It maintains a flat nominal common finances of $1 005.6 million whereas reallocating sources to high-priority areas, together with the brand new Programme Priority Areas, the Office of the Inspector-General and multilingualism. 

The whole finances is $3.26 billion, greater than two-thirds to return from extra-budgetary voluntary contributions. The Director-General urged Members to offer sturdy assist for that to leverage FAO’s effectivity and the brand new community method geared to breaking down disciplinary and geographic silos and pushing sturdy cross-continental cooperation. 

The new FAO is “one sturdy staff that works in concord and synergy,” he added. 

The Director-General invited the Council to assist the proposed Strategic Framework 2022-31, the Medium Term Plan 2022-25 and the Programme of Work and Budget (PWB) 2022-23, which can be submitted to the FAO Conference in June.

COVID-19 Response, Food Coalition and Private Sector Engagement

FAO launched the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme, which has enabled intensive work on linking social safety to agricultural and rural-based livelihoods with a concentrate on extra jobs for girls and youth in agri-food methods in addition to bolstering the usage of digital applied sciences to help smallholder farmers in sustaining manufacturing, productiveness and market entry.

The Programme is increasing its areas to combine Green Recovery plans, that are gathering significance and urgency in lots of nations. More monetary sources, modern options and expertise on the bottom are wanted, the Director-General mentioned. 

For this mandate, FAO launched the Food Coalition, initiated by the Government of Italy, along with Members. The undeniable fact that Italy is the President of this 12 months’s G20 “offers a singular alternative to have interaction, elevate consciousness and assist globally,” Qu mentioned. 

FAO’s COVID-19 technical groups will assist Members formulate proposals and mobilize further stakeholders for implementation on the bottom, he added.

Qu additionally hailed good progress within the implementation of the Strategy for Private Sector Engagement endorsed by the Council final December. Since then, for instance, FAO has signed a Letter of Intent with a Rwanda-based medium-sized firm and a multi-party Cooperation Agreement with numerous stakeholders in Ghana. The Director-General famous that extra agreements with a diversified and balanced portfolio of personal sector entities when it comes to sort and regional illustration are anticipated sooner or later.  

Today, FAO additionally launched the FAO Connect Portal – a one-stop store for private-sector engagement – offering info, together with entry to formal agreements. 

Hand-in-Hand Initiative

In his remarks, the Director-General famous that the extraordinary challenges posed by the pandemic additionally characterize “historic alternatives” for world motion to assist the least advantaged, eradicate poverty, finish starvation and malnutrition and cut back inequalities inside and amongst nations. 

FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative goals at simply that, and is steadily gaining energy, with 37 Member nations now accepted as formal contributors and nonetheless extra benefiting from methodologies and platforms developed underneath its aegis. 

Members are utilizing the country-led and country-owned initiative in quite a lot of methods, together with:  to drive industrialization by strengthening the center of meals and agriculture worth chains; to broaden the productiveness and incomes potential of small farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples; to establish high-value commodities and develop funding plans to make sure environment friendly and aggressive entry to markets; and to make use of high-tech mapping instruments to assist decision-making for sustainable growth. 

The Hand-in-Hand Geospatial Platform now has greater than 38 000 customers, and requests for technical coaching by nationwide authorities are more and more steadily, the Director-General famous.

Leading the struggle in opposition to Food Loss and Waste

FAO has been very energetic in catalyzing consensus and actions to scale back meals loss and waste (FLW), the Director-General acknowledged.

That consists of capability growth within the realm of statistics, as information on FLW is usually too scarce to permit for monitoring progress in its discount, not to mention information coverage selections. FAO’s technical platform on learn how to measure FLW has seen a fourfold improve in consultations over the previous 12 months.

The Director-General additionally famous that FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are collectively growing a strategy to mix the Food Loss Index indicator, of which FAO is custodian, and the Food Waste indicator, pertaining to UNEP, right into a single Food Waste Index for reporting on SDG goal 12.3.

In June, FAO will submit for endorsement by the Conference a Voluntary Code of Conduct for Food Loss and Waste Reduction

The Director-General famous that FLW cuts throughout all 5 Action Tracks of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021 and added that FAO is “supporting the event of game-changing options for agri-food methods transformation together with making certain that proposals to deal with meals loss and waste discount are sturdy, related and impactful.”.

Other points

The Director-General famous that the “digital FAO” is now a well-established actuality, with greater than 290 digital merchandise supporting the Organization’s work within the discipline, a thriving E-Agriculture Community of Practice and a busy portfolio supporting the 1000 Digital Villages Initiative, which is growing nicely in Asia and the Pacific, with a bunch of recent members in Latin American and the Caribbean and extra to return from Africa. 

FAO’s Green Cities Initiative can be advancing very nicely, with implementation underneath manner in 5 African cities and plans being finalized in one other 12. 

The Director-General expressed his satisfaction with the very fact that the specter of a locust invasion in West Africa was utterly averted, and that the upsurge in southwest Asia was introduced underneath management. He additionally applauded the nations of East Africa for scoring “main successes in suppressing the most important locust upsurge to hit the area in dwelling reminiscence”.

Buoyed by $223 million from donors, FAO led a marketing campaign to deal with greater than 2 million hectares within the Greater Horn of Africa and Yemen, resulting in the safety of greater than $1.5 billion value of cereals and dairy merchandise, sufficient to feed greater than 34 million folks for a 12 months. 

Qu additionally applauded members of the FAO Women and Youth Committees – workers our bodies he arrange upon assuming workplace almost two years in the past – for being energetic engines for solidarity and inclusiveness,” noting that they’ve initiated broader motion – notably the World Food Forum (WFF) and WFF Youth Action Assembly – to spice up engagement and participation within the UN Food System Summit in addition to the Pre-Summit to be held at FAO in July. 

“Our dedication to ship was neither stifled nor impeded by the difficult instances we’re all dealing with,” the Director-General mentioned in closing, highlighting  FAO’s dedication to “carry hope” to folks all over the world who’re relying on FAO

This week’s session marks the final of Khalid Mehboob, from Pakistan, because the Independent Chairperson of FAO Council. The subsequent session of the FAO Conference will elect a brand new Chairperson for the following two years. 

The full speech of the Director-General within the opening session of the FAO Council might be accessed right here

FAO Council 166 might be adopted by webcast.

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