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FAO chief urges more global effort to address climate change

Qu Dongyu is confident that agriculture plays a key role in attaining the goals of sustainable development, especially "Zero Hunger," which is to be achieved by 2030
Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Qu Dongyu AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Qu Dongyu
© AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

ROME, October 8. /TASS/. The global community is not investing enough effort into addressing climate change, says Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Qu Dongyu.

"Governments, the private sectors and the global population in general need to do more to address climate change," Qu Dongyu told TASS on Tuesday.

"Agriculture is a fundamental element in the efforts to deal with climate change. Agriculture is a weather-dependent sector, and the impacts of climate change may cause more frequent and intense droughts and floods, the spread of pests and diseases, and the degradation of ecosystems. At the same time, agriculture is also faced with the responsibility and pressure to reduce emissions," Qu Dongyu of China said.

According to FAO specialists, conflicts and the aftermath of climate change remain the main reasons behind persisting hunger. One of the FAO’s tasks is to develop and put into practice more efficient and more environmentally friendly agricultural practices. "These include precision and circular agriculture, sustainable management of natural resources and climate-smart agriculture," he explained.

Qu Dongyu is confident that agriculture plays a key role in attaining the goals of sustainable development, especially "Zero Hunger," the goal that is panned to be achieved by 2030.

"We must begin by addressing the needs of more than 2 billion vulnerable people that include farmers, fishermen, pastoralists and indigenous peoples. More than 80% of them are small food producers and laborers. We must channel resources to the world’s impoverished regions to promote more targeted poverty eradication, invest in value chains, and pay attention to local staple food such as legumes, roots and tubers," the director-general noted.

He pointed out that in September, FAO launched the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, "which aims to tailor assistance to the small and weak hands by the big and strong hands, through match-making partnership including donor countries, the private sectors as well as the NGOs, prioritizing small islands developing states, landlocked countries and least developed countries."

Partnership with Russia

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) values cooperation with Russia and hopes to expand it, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said in an interview with TASS ahead of his trip to Moscow where he will take part in the Golden Autumn agricultural fair, due from October 9 to 12.

"FAO highly values strong partnership with the Russian Federation being one of the leading countries in the area of food security, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Russia is a strong supporter of the UN fundamental role in addressing global challenges, especially hunger and poverty, which are in the core of FAO’s mandate," Qu Dongyu stressed.

"We also appreciate Russia’s ongoing support to FAO’s resilience program in Syria and hope to expand partnership with Moscow on humanitarian track across the Middle East and North Africa region," he emphasized.

"We need Russia’s continued engagement in FAO’s global agenda and initiatives. I also look forward to engaging Russia in my new Hand-in-Hand initiative aiming to bring all partners together to support the most vulnerable countries, especially the least developed countries, small island developing states (SIDS) and land-locked countries," he went on to say.

According to Qu Dongyu, the recent decision of the Russian government to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate "opens new prospects for collaboration with FAO on environment and climate agenda."

"There is also a growing interest from the Russian private sector to work with FAO. This is fully in line with FAO’s priorities to promote inclusive partnerships and leverage investments from agribusiness in support of sustainable agriculture in vulnerable countries," the FAO director-general said.

"Last but not the least, I very much rely on Russia’s full engagement in FAO’s digital agriculture agenda, considering your country’s proven achievements and the notable efforts of your Government in this area," he emphasized.

​​​​​Trip to Russia

The FAO director-general is looking forward to his Moscow trip, saying "I am honored to visit Russia on the occasion of the Golden Autumn agricultural fair." "More importantly, I am glad to deliver a keynote speech at this most prominent national event in your country in the area of food and agriculture, which brings together decision makers, farmers, academia and agribusiness," he said.

He added that he was planning to discuss with the Russian leadership "the ways of expanding our collaboration in the wide array of Sustainable Development Goals related to FAO’s mandate, including forestry, fisheries, soil management, nutrition and food security."

Russia is among the first countries that Qu Dongyu is visiting after he took the office of FAO Director-General on August 1. In Moscow, he will take part in the Russian agricultural exhibition "Golden Autumn" due at the VDNKh Exhibition Center on October 9 to 12. On its opening day, he is scheduled to address a plenary session. Besides, the FAO director-general is expected to meet with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Prime Minister for Agro-Industrial Complex, Natural Resources and Ecology Alexei Gordeyev, Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin.