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FAO Director-General addresses first meeting of the informal Private Sector Advisory Group

Rome – Director-General QU Dongyu today addressed the first ever meeting of the FAO informal Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG), a voluntary group of independent advisers designed to boost FAO’s engagement with the private sector in support of the 2030 Agenda.


The virtual meeting was attended by FAO’s core leadership, a number of permanent representatives to FAO and 25 PSAG members – spanning from farmers’ organizations to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, large multinationals and industry associations.


During his welcoming remarks, the Director-General said he looked forward to hearing the PSAG’s views on how FAO can further expand and deepen its strategic partnerships with the private sector, improve its outreach, and engage even more with the private sector to support agrifood system transformation and “ensure the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all – leaving no one behind.”


Qu noted that FAO’s Strategy for Private Sector Engagement is a “historic strategy for FAO that reflects an increased recognition of the contribution of the private sector towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),”  as well as an increased openness by FAO to engage and partner with the private sector.


The contributions that the private sector can provide are not only financial, but they can also include innovative practices, provision of expertise, and research at country level, the Director-General said.


One example where FAO’s collaboration with the private sector can have a transformational impact is the Hand-in-Hand (HiH) initiative, Qu said. Launched as a new business model for matchmaking investments with development opportunities, the initiative has for example attracted the interest of the Gates Foundation, which is leveraging a first investment in support of HIH Innovation in Bangladesh.


Balanced, diverse, independent


The meeting was also addressed by FAO Deputy Director-General Beth Bechdol, who in her opening remarks underlined the importance of having this conversation with such a balanced and truly global representation of private sector entities.


The Deputy Director-General encouraged its members to offer diverse perspectives and help strengthen FAO’s engagement with the private sector by pointing to possible opportunities and areas of improvement to complement each other’s strengths to jointly tackle global challenges and achieve ambitious goals.


Going forward, FAO and the PSAG are expected to meet at least twice a year over the next two years.


Source: Food and agricultural Organization of the United Nations