FAO Director-General QU Dongyu Visits Maldives to Reaffirm Support and Cooperation for SIDS

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu arrived in Maldives yesterday on an official two-day visit to the Maldives, to reaffirm support and cooperation to Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as the Maldives, to drive agrifood systems transformation and inclusive growth. This is the Director-General’s first visit to the Maldives since taking office.

Upon his arrival, the Director-General met with the Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture (MoFMRA) Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan in the capital Malé. The Director-General highlighted the importance of investment and innovation to enhance connectivity among rural communities whose livelihoods depend on fisheries and agriculture, helping them to access markets and services. To this end, FAO has established an Office for SIDS, LDCs and LLDCs, first ever in UN Systems, and is equipped to provide technical expertise for SIDS solutions to generate income in the agriculture and fishery value chains, including through private sector partnerships. Currently FAO and MoFMRA are working on strengthening cooperation towards sustainable fisheries which would help reach far flung communities in the atolls.

- Advertisement -

At the meeting, the FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu assured his hosts that FAO would continue to work with the MoFMRA, and other relevant partners to improve nutrition and food safety standards in the Maldives. He also pledged FAO’s continued support in the drive for climate resilient agriculture and fisheries, reducing food loss and waste, building an innovative and digitalized agrifood systems, and support for the empowerment of more women and youth to actively contribute to the sector.

During meetings with the Minister of State for Health Dr Shah Abdullah Mahir, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology Aminath Shauna and Minister of Tourism Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, the Director-General called for stronger multi-sectoral cooperation. “Food and agriculture lies at the very heart of sustainable development requiring partnerships across sectors,” stated the FAO Director-General. “FAO is here to bring everyone to the table so that we could work together for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all in the Maldives, leaving no one behind.”

The Director-General who also called on the Maldivian Foreign Secretary, Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, observed that Maldives as a SIDS in the Indian Ocean has a unique opportunity to influence and contribute towards the combined development of SIDS around the world. He pointed to the exchange and transfer of digital technologies and knowhow among SIDS that can accelerate progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in combatting hunger, malnutrition and poverty. He highlighted the recently launched SIDS Solutions Platform as a tool for Maldives and fellow SIDS to incubate, promote and replicate locally grown ideas.

Maldives has a longstanding relationship with FAO since becoming a Member Nation in 1971. FAO has prioritized the development of Maldives and other SIDS to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and transform agrifood systems to make them more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable.

- Advertisement -