Janusz Wojciechowski, the European Union Commissioner for Agriculture and FAO Director-GeneralQU Dongyu renewed their commitment to work together to make agriculture more innovative and environmentally friendly, with the aim to create long-term positive impact for people and planet.
They agreed on the necessity for flexible agricultural policies that can address the specific needs of countries.
The Director-General noted that this was a good moment to promote digital agriculture, food system transformation and e-commerce, and that the EU and its members’ experiences on transforming and modernising agriculture through cooperation would be very valuable for this process.
In this respect, the Commissioner spoke about a newly proposed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that has a budget of €365 billion for the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, it includes additional funding of €26.5 billion, mainly to support rural development. In that respect, he specifically mentioned the good work done by FAO on Family Farming.
The EU invited FAO to be an active member of the New Sustainable Agriculture Task Force led by the Commission together with Friends of Europe, the think tank for a more inclusive, sustainable and forward-thinking Europe.
The two principals also spoke about FAO’s support to countries to address the impacts of the COVID -19 pandemic on food security and livelihoods.
This includes FAO’s work with the African Union, and the recently created Task Force, whose main role is to help coordinate the actions set out in the joint political declaration made in April by Africa’s Ministers for Agriculture, with support from FAO and the African Union, on protecting food security and nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting also discussed FAO’s efforts to support fighting the Desert Locust outbreak in East Africa and beyond.
The Director-General thanked the EU for its continued support for FAO’s work, including in fighting the Desert Locust outbreak, and thanked the Commissioner for his role in the African Union-FAO Taskforce.
The Director-General mentioned the FIRST strategic partnership between FAO and the European Union (EU) as a great example of what was achieved by working together and to build future collaboration to design and plan ahead in the coming years. FIRST acts as a broker between the Governments, supporting them in identifying national priorities and addressing context-specific bottlenecks, those who are willing to support those efforts with additional funding, like the EU, and those who can provide their expertise and technical assistance, like FAO.
They also spoke about the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, which aims to raise global awareness and land global commitments and actions that transform food systems to resolve not only hunger, but to reduce diet-related disease and heal the planet.