FAO Liaison Office in New York

09/17/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2023 07:50

FAO Statement at the UNGA78 High Impact Initiative on Food Systems Transformation for a Sustainable World without Hunger

FAO Statement at the UNGA78 High Impact Initiative on Food Systems Transformation for a Sustainable World without Hunger



A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

FAO Statement at the UNGA78 High Impact Initiative on Food Systems Transformation for a Sustainable World without Hunger

Statement By Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Global agrifood systems are at the nexus of the high priority SDGs. Transforming our agrifood systems will contribute not only to the eradication of poverty, ending hunger, improving nutrition and access to healthy diets, but also ensure that global agrifood systems are more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable.

More sustainable agrifood systems will promote sustainable use of natural resources, including land, water, fisheries and forests, and address the multidimensional challenges of the climate crisis.

With the right conditions in place, and targeted, concrete actions, agrifood systems can become highly effective and a powerful mean to drive a transformative change at local, national, regional and global levels.

Translating this global vision and ambitious agenda into tangible results on the ground requires political commitments from everyone: from governments, and from all the partners involved.

Working together with a well-developed and joint plan for implementation at scale.

The outcomes of the UN Food Systems Summit in 2021, the National Pathways designed by countries, and the UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment held at FAO headquarters in Rome in late July this year, hosted by the Italian Government, as well as the Secretary-General's Call to Action, all have defined areas that must be prioritized to achieve this goal, and should be leveraged in support of national agendas.

This means leveraging investment, innovation, science, data and technology, including better access to tools and geospatial platforms, as well as building on the outcome of the work by the Scientific Group, the youth and Indigenous Groups to better inform our processes.

Yesterday, we held the G-77 Summit, and the theme of the Summit was Science, Technology and Innovationw - for leading implementation of the SDGs on the ground. Strong political commitments from Heads of State are essential, but even more important are the small, concrete action plans.

We need to mobilize increased and targeted investment, and I am pleased that some of our key partners such as the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the Asian Development Bank, and others, have joined us today, as they can accompany countries along their National Pathways.

Increasing and and accelerating the pool of existing investments, as well as newly needed financial resources, and deploying new financial instruments, including risk-management mechanisms, remains a top priority.

We know that transforming agrifood systems will cost USD 4 trillion, or even more, from now to 2030 in Low- and Middle-Income countries - which amounts to USD 680 billion per year. This amount is a mix of investments related expenditure - USD 425 billion on average per year - and USD 255 billion in social safety nets that need to be mobilized in support of countries.

The goal is to strengthen and further develop national capacities for country-led and country-owned agrifood systems transformation that are adapted to local contexts and tailored to specific needs.

When I tookoffice four years ago, we established the FAO flagship Hand-in-Hand Initiative.Members no matter big or small need data based decision-making. The initiative adopts a territorial approach to implementation, while offering a Geospatial Platform for extensive data sharing and technical analysis, and it supports the mobilization of financing on the ground.

Currently, 66 countries are participating in the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, and we have investment plans for more than 10 billion US Dollars.

This week's SDG Summit is a good opportunity for us to generate more dynamic engagements by all partners.

As FAO Director-General I am pleased that the Hand in Hand initiative was selected as one of the top High Impact Initiatives - it is a unique opportunity to renew the commitments made, and to recommit to the urgent actions that need to be taken by the 2030 deadline.

We have less than 7 years to go! We have to run, not only walk. We must use every opportunity to push the SDGs!

The time ahead is too short to focus only on productivity gains, we need to focus on reducing the tradeoffs.

This means we need to, among others:

One: reduce food loss and waste;

Two: understand the true cost of food;

Three: build resilient value chains;

Four: benefit from the positive role of trade for food security;

Five: take advantage of data, digital and space technologies;

Six: improve water management and soil sustainability; and

Seven: and expand social protection programmes.

This High Impact Inititaive aims to bring all partners and stakeholders together to transform our agrifood systems, not only food systems, for the Four Betters: better production better nutrition, a better environment and a better life - to ensure we leave no one behind.

Let's work together!

Thank you.