6 December 2019, Rome – FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu today praised Member countries and thanked them for their endorsement of his proposals to forge FAO into a more transparent and efficient organization that can play a better and more dynamic role in global efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In his concluding address to the 163rd session of the FAO Council , the Organization’s executive body, Qu said he appreciated Members’ support for the Biodiversity Cluster and two new offices – the Office for Innovation and another dedicated to assisting Small Island Developing States, Less Developed Countries and Landlocked Developed Countries.
“I welcome this approval as a strong sign of trust in the new FAO and a vote of confidence for my vision of the future of your Organization,” Qu said.
The Council approved FAO’s Programme of Work and Budget as well as the proposed adjustments to FAO’s organizational structure.
“We are well aware of the great responsibility that lies on our shoulders, the responsibility to deliver better, work harder and show more tangible results,” the Director-General said.
Qu also welcomed the overwhelming support expressed by Council for the new Hand-in-Hand Initiative, which aims to create “matchmaking” – between donors and recipients to support tailor-made, targeted efforts to assist vulnerable people in the world’s Least Developed Countries, as well as those affected by food crises.
To date Qu has presented the country-led initiative at around 150 bilateral meetings with government officials, the private sector, civil society and academia.
The Director-General also welcomed the Council’s confirmation of the appointment of a new Deputy Director-General, Elizabeth Bechdol, replacing outgoing Daniel J. Gustafson, who is due to retire.
Qu informed Council members that he would attend the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid next week, sign a €49 million agreement with the EU to promote trade and investment in Papua New Guinea and give a keynote address to the World Youth Forum in Egypt. He also plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January.
Along with statutory work, this week’s session of the FAO Council also featured several side events focused on the International Year on Plant Health 2020, FAO’s Global Action for Fall Army Worm control, as well as World Soil Day and a panel on innovation in personalized nutrition.