FAO Director-General QU Dongyu addressing the Pre-Summit opening ceremony. Seated in the front row (l-r) Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed,International Fund for Agricultural Development President Gilbert Houngbo,World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley. (Photo via FAO)

The FAO Director-General stressed how at this “critical moment in time” the world faces “the historic task” to transform the agri-food systems and put back on track the achievement of the SDGs.

(Food and Agriculture Organisation Press Release 26 July 2021, Rome) – A holistic and coordinated approach is urgently needed to transform agri-food systems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This was the call made by the QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to world leaders participating in the opening today of the Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems Summit.

“Our agri-food systems are not delivering properly, and in many parts of the world these systems were not efficient, inclusive and sustainable,” Qu said, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the situation.

According to a report issued this month by FAO and its partners, around a tenth of the global population – up to 811 million people – were undernourished last year. The number suggests it will take a tremendous effort for the world to honour its pledge to end hunger by 2030. 

The FAO Director-General stressed how at this “critical moment in time” the world faces “the historic task” to transform the agri-food systems and put back on track the achievement of the SDGs.

“To achieve this ambitious transformation; we need to change policies, mind-sets, and business models,” he told participants at the Pre-Summit opening ceremony that saw the participation of dozens of heads of state and government, ministers and other high-level representatives, some present in person while others connected by video.

Speakers included Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, – the UN and the Government of Italy are the Pre-Summit co-hosts – the President of Rwanda and Chair of the African Union Development Agency Paul Kagame and, representing Pope Francis, Archbishop Paul Gallagher the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States.

Read more at: Food and Agriculture Organisation