FAO News - 15 April 2020, Rome/Ottawa - FAO Director-General QU Dongyu and Canada’s Minister of International Development Karina Gould discussed ways to meet emergency and development needs in agriculture during the COVID-19 crisis, and beyond, at a virtual meeting today.

The meeting was held in anticipation of this Friday's UN Member States briefing on food insecurity and COVID-19 in New York.


During the meeting, the FAO Director-General briefed the Minister on the actions the Organization has taken over the past six weeks in the immediate response to the COVID-19 emergency, while noting that least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developed countries (LLDCs), and small island developing states (SIDS) will require greater support given the pandemic’s possible implications on food supply and food value chains.


Qu expressed his deep appreciation for Canada's support to FAO’s work, including the country’s support for the Organization’s ongoing emergency campaign against the desert locust outbreak in East Africa.


For her part, the Minister lauded FAO for its technical leadership and indicated Canada’s interest in supporting the Organization in areas related to sustainable agricultural practices, gender in agriculture, and food supply chains among others.  She also stressed the importance of taking a closer look at the linkages between food security, sustainable agriculture, climate change, and human health to develop and implement efficient cross-sectoral policies.


Both parties agreed on the need to build local capacity, empower women in agriculture, offer country-tailored solutions based on the local contexts, and look at how different business models and value chain approaches can be applied to enhance and upgrade local agri-food systems.


In this context, the Director-General noted that FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative aims to be transformative at country level in order to deliver tangible results toward the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs), and invited Canada to participate in the initiative.