Inizia il Consiglio della FAO: I membri discutono il programma di lavoro e il bilancio 2024-25 dell’Organizzazione

FAO Council begins, Members discuss the Organization’s Programme of Work and Budget 2024-25

Director-General QU Dongyu highlights strong international demand for FAO’s technical expertise in times of global food security crisis


Rome – QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), asked Members to muster budgetary consensus to enable progress on the path towards achieving the Four Betters – Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life for all, leaving no one behind – and remain at the forefront of global efforts to respond to the food security crisis.The Director-General spoke at the opening of the 172th Session of FAO Council, which is scheduled to end on Friday, 28 April. This Session of the FAO Council is the last one before the upcoming 43rd Session of the Ministerial Conference (1-7 July), where Members will finally approve the FAO’s Programme of Work and Budget for the biennium 2024-25. Hailing colleagues for results achieved so far in this FAO’s Year of Excellence, Qu highlighted the urgency of the “collective long-term goal of transforming global agrifood systems to be more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable.”Qu also emphasized that FAO is devoting more “focus and attention to the ones further left behind,” noting that 61 countries are now participating in his flagship Hand-in-Hand Initiative, which provides cutting-edge geospatial modelling and analytics to accelerate market-based agrifood systems transformation to raise incomes and improve the well-being and resilience of poor and vulnerable populations. Hans Hogeveen, Independent Chairperson of the Council, applauded the strong turnout for the session, held in person and virtually. There are more than one billion people who are now hungry in what is the “biggest hunger crisis ever,” he said. “The crisis we are in needs our full attention and our full efforts.”Making sure that FAO has adequate resources to lead joint efforts to tackle global food insecurity is atop the agenda, and the Director-General is calling for restoring the Organization’s purchasing power after 12 years of flat nominal budgets despite inflationary trends that has now reached a critical tipping point.“While we continuously seek to identify efficiency savings, any further reductions would result in a corresponding reduction of the Organization’s capacity to deliver and meet growing demands,” Qu said. A consensual approval of the proposed budget level will be a powerful sign both for FAO and for “the humanity of this society,” he added.A full version of the Director-General’s prepared remarks can be read here. Busier workflowsFAO’s expertise has been in high demand at multinational fora such as the G7 and G20 in a time when the pandemic, various conflicts and the climate crisis create multiple challenges. Food and fertilizer prices have posed particular concern. The Director-General urged vigilance, noting that while the FAO Food Price Index has been declining, it takes time for global market trends to transfer to local markets, hindering access to food for poor and vulnerable populations. Beyond responding to emergencies, FAO is tackling macro trends such as urbanization, which will be the topic of this year’s flagship 2023 Report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI). Such rapid trends pose challenges but could present “revolutionary opportunities,” Qu said. FAO has addressed a range of topics ranging from the Status of Women in Agrifood Systems, biodiversity and aquaculture to notable initiatives in the area of water scarcity. “It is time to use these knowledge products,” he urged. Working across sectors to find solutions is particularly urgent, Qu said highlighting how FAO anticipates intensifying engagement with the private sector in the year ahead, building on lessons learned and prioritizing new directions. A clear sign of how the Organization’s strategy is working, and its mandate recognized as of high collective importance, is the 30 percent increase in voluntary contributions FAO mobilized in the first three months of 2023 compared to the same period a year earlier. FAO expects extra budgetary resources in the 2024-25 biennium to reach around $3 billion, nearly double the level of four years earlier.