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Statement following a meeting with Qu Dongyu, Director General of the FAO

Date: Thu 16th Sep, 2021 | 18:07

In his meeting with FAO Director General Qu Dongyu, President Higgins discussed Ireland’s cooperation with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The Director General paid tribute to the Irish people who, drawing on their own experiences, have been among the most forthcoming in their contributions to, and active engagement in, the work of the FAO.

President Higgins mentioned in particular the Irish people who had paid a high price in their roles assisting the victims of conflict, hunger and poverty.

The President said that current conflicts and climate based famines are putting millions of people at risk, and that the shortfall in the funding needed to respond effectively, is a global concern of the greatest order.

The President and the Director General went on to discuss issues of production and food security that take account of ecological and sustainability considerations.

The Director General asked the President to ensure Ireland would continue to share its experiences, and the lessons learned, with the FAO member states, to inform the challenges the world is facing today.

The President encouraged Director General Qu to ensure that FAO can play a leading role in the follow-up to the Food Systems Summit in New York. He said that food security is a key global challenge in which we all need to play a part.

The President stressed that discussions about food systems should focus not only on production but also on the cultural, ecological and heritage dimensions. He singled out the importance needs of coastal communities.

President Higgins highlighted that indigenous people, comprising less than 5% of the world's population, currently protect 80% of global biodiversity. He said it was important to acknowledge this fact and learn lessons from their management of natural resources is based on an explicit connection between economy and ecology.