FAO Council concluded with firm steps forward
Final report is adopted unanimously
4 December 2020, Rome – The FAO Council today wrapped up its 165th Session. The new Strategy for Private Sector Engagement has been approved. Members also welcomed the Outline of the Strategic Framework 2022-31 & the Outline of the Medium-Term Plan 2022-25.
The new Strategic Framework puts at its centre the strategic narrative of Leaving No One Behind through sustainable, inclusive & resilient food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, & a better life.
The Framework is anchored in the 2030 Agenda & guided by SDG 1 No poverty, SDG 2 No hunger, & SDG 10 Reduced inequalities, around the four betters.
In the final report adopted unanimously, Members noted that the Strategic Framework “builds on the momentum & harmonized transformations already taking place in the Organization, including structural reforms, the Hand-In-Hand Initiative & FAO’s COVID-19 Response & Recovery Programme.”
“This is an important sign of trust not only in what we want to achieve but also how we are working to get there, ” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said in his closing remarks.
The Director-General underscored “the inclusive & transparent consultation process we established in the development of the new Strategic Framework” acknowledged by the Council in its report. It is “a way to build up ownership & volunteering contribution later,” he added.
He thanked all delegations for their valuable contributions & active engagement during the Session.
The Director-General hailed the approval by Council of FAO’s new Strategy for Private Sector Engagement, noting that “an efficient, transparent & inclusive FAO is my highest priority, & this also applies to the way we approach the private sector as well as any other non-governmental institutions that we work with.”
The Council welcomed the importance of a more inclusive & proactive process to engage with the private sector based on mutual trust, & highlighted the role of micro, small & medium size enterprises, taking into account different regional, national & local contexts.
The Director-General pledged to keep Members informed on how the Strategy is being implemented while also referring to other aspects of FAO’s work mentioned in the Council’s final report.
“Your support of our ongoing initiatives, like Hand-in-Hand & our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is very well noted & inspires us to work even harder in collaboration with all of you for the benefit of the vulnerable, the farmers, youth & women, citizens & netizens all around the world,” the Director-General said.
He noted that this was the third Council session since he took office in August 2019 & the second to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“Our Governing Bodies are now solidly positioned in the digital age,” the Director-General said, while expressing gratitude for the efforts of all FAO employees who have adapted their working methods in line with the requirements of a “very challenging year”. In this context he referred to an intervention by the Staff Body during the Council session, thanking staff representatives for their positive & dynamic engagement which had contributed to a spirit of solidarity.
“We share the same goal of ensuring our employees’ safety & wellbeing & our open & constructive dialogue will continue,” the Director-General said.
The Independent Chairperson of the Council, Khalid Mehboob, thanked Members for their contributions. He also extended an appreciation to the Director-General, underscoring that his “transparency & openness with Members is unprecedented,” & has been displayed during all informal & formal meetings including the FAO Regional Conferences held in the last couple of months.
The Independent Chairperson also noted that under the Director-General’s stewardship, innovations, including those for FAO Governing Body meetings as well as efforts to safeguard the wellbeing of FAO employees “have all been underpinned by enhanced communication which has been welcomed by all of us during these difficult COVID-19 days”.
The Council also reviewed the Annual Report of the WFP Executive Board on its activities in 2019 & elected six Members of the WFP Executive Board for the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2023.
The Council is the executive organ of the FAO Conference. It has 49 Members & meets at least four times between Conference sessions. In particular, the Council exercises functions dealing with the world food & agricultural situation & related matters, current & prospective activities of the Organization, including the Programme of Work & Budget, administrative matters, financial management of the Organization, & constitutional questions.