ITALY – Qu Dongyu, the newly elected director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has committed to spearheading initiatives that focus on making agriculture more sustainable.

Qu, who took office on 1st August this year, expressed his commitment to ensure for FAO continues working together with the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Qu pointed out that his priorities will include stepping up global efforts to achieve zero hunger and collaboration on topics related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as addressing global challenges.

These include; increasing rates of hunger and malnutrition; climate change-related risks to agriculture; ongoing natural resource depletion and environmental pollution; and, the growing spread of trans-boundary animal and plant pests and diseases.

“Let’s work together, learn together and contribute together for the benefit of our (FAO’s) member countries,” he told FAO staff.

The new director-general also pointed to the importance for the FAO to scale up new partnerships and cooperative mechanisms, including with other UN agencies, governments, business, and academia and research institutes.

He stressed on the need for urgent actions to end zero hunger and targeted poverty, while driving agricultural and rural sustainable development through innovation, including digital, reports World Grain.

Qu said that the FAO’s South-South Cooperation (SSC) portals could further facilitate and promote the sharing of agriculture development concepts, policy measures, practical technologies and farmers’ innovations.

He urged for a special focus on strengthening agriculture in tropical and dryland areas, which are home to some of the most vulnerable populations in the world.

Qu emphasized the need for the FAO to encourage developed countries to match their strengths in terms of funds, technology and management with those of developing countries, such as land and workforce resources.

The director-general said the FAO should foster its strength in global normative work and reinforce its position as a global response center for food and agricultural crises in collaboration with other international organizations.

To achieve these objectives, Qu pledged to forge the FAO into an international organization with world-class internal governance while taking on a more full-fledged role in the capacity building of its Member Countries.

Qu is a former vice-minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China and won elections in June to lead the Rome-based agency – which has 194 member states