11 February 2020, Rome – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is a “team effort”, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said today as he welcomed the 43rd Governing Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The fact that IFAD’s governing body is meeting at FAO’s headquarters “”is a clear indicator of how the Rome-based agencies work together every day and support each other,” he said.
FAO is actively engaged in supporting nearly half of IFAD’s project around the world, and its technical experts designed seven of those projects worth $1.25 billion last year alone, the Director-General said, noting that collaboration between the two agencies is “substantial”.
QU also emphasized the skill sets and contributions of the 120 FAO staff members and 400 consultants who carry out around 800 support missions each year for FAO’s Investment Centre. Since its establishment in 1964, the FAO’s Investment Centre has helped design and implement over 2,250 investment operations across 170 countries, valued at more than 140 billion US Dollars. Last year, the Centre supported the design of a portfolio of 5.6 billion US Dollars in 26 countries, and supported the implementation of around 70 projects worldwide.
Member States, have signaled “heightened interest” in the work of the Investment Centre, which has also been positively reviewed by the World Bank’s senior management team, the Director-General said.
FAO’s new course
FAO itself is “undergoing fundamental changes that are necessary to increase staff morale, transparency, openness, efficiency and inclusiveness,” QU added, noting he has since taking office in August 2019 pushed through measures to improve governance and modernize working methods to meet the expectations of member states and partners.
The need for a holistic approach and broad collaboration among stakeholders is why FAO has launched the Hand-In-Hand Initiative, which facilitates “matchmaking” between donor and recipient countries in the most vulnerable regions and is aimed at raising incomes of the rural poor through agricultural transformation. The success of this initiative “hinges on innovation and investment to fast track agro-food transformation and sustainable rural development, especially where national capacities are limited or where people are vulnerable to natural disasters or conflicts”, QU said.
The FAO Director-General also expressed his wishes for a successful IFAD’s Governing Council, noting that FAO will be an active partner in the quest for a more “beautiful world”.
Other participants at IFAD’s Council included President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of the Republic of Mali, Agnes Matilda Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, and Rodger Voorhies, a senior executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.