Rome – The FAO Council 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 and 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 and resilient food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.
The Framework is anchored in the 2030 Agenda and guided by SDG 1 No poverty, SDG 2 No hunger, and SDG 10 Reduced inequalities around the four betters.
In the final report adopted unanimously, Members noted that the Strategic Framework “builds on the momentum and harmonized transformations already taking place in the Organization, including structural reforms, the Hand-In-Hand Initiative and FAO’s COVID-19 Response and 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 and 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 and volunteering contribution later,” he added.
He thanked all delegations for their valuable contributions and 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 and inclusive FAO is my highest priority, and 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 and proactive process to engage with the private sector based on mutual trust, and highlighted the role of micro, small and medium size enterprises, taking into account different regional, national and 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 and our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is very well noted and inspires us to work even harder in collaboration with all of you for the benefit of the vulnerable, the farmers, youth and women, citizens and 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 and 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 and dynamic engagement which had contributed to a spirit of solidarity.
“We share the same goal of ensuring our employees’ safety and wellbeing and our open and 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 and openness with Members is unprecedented,” and has been displayed during all informal and 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 and 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 and meets at least four times between Conference sessions. In particular, the Council exercises functions dealing with the world food and agricultural situation and related matters, current and prospective activities of the Organization, including the Programme of Work and Budget, administrative matters, financial management of the Organization, and constitutional questions.