Innovation key to feeding the world in times of pandemics and climate change

Asha Bajaj
3 min readJan 28, 2021

#Berlin; #ClimateChange; #Covid19Pandemic; #FAO; #AgriFoodSystems; #Bioeconomy

​Berlin/Rome/Canadian-Media: FAO Director-General QU Dongyu today addressed the Agriculture Ministers’ Conference in Berlin underscoring the importance, in the wake of COVID-19, of continued global cooperation to find new ways to strengthen the sustainability of agri-food systems, and outlined FAO and its partners’ role in this.

Qu reinforced FAO’s readiness to support the world in a “new path”, particularly through FAO’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Program, Hand-in-Hand Initiative and its Geospatial Platform, and the One Health approach. Concerning the latter, FAO launched a new report on the opportunities for innovation in livestock systems this week at the conference, formally called the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA).

The week-long GFFA brought together over 90 ministers from all over the world, together with high-level representatives of international organizations. The final communique adopted on Friday calls for the impetus for climate action, response to COVID-19, and preventing future pandemics — the overarching theme of this year’s forum.

The FAO Director-General, speaking in a session chaired by the German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, highlighted the key conclusions of the FAO high-level panel during GFFA on ‘How innovation can help strengthen the sustainability of food systems and prevent future pandemics’.

“The key point that emerged from our discussion was that the pandemic gave impetus to innovation: we should work together to keep up this momentum,” Qu noted.

He mentioned several examples for innovation in practice, as presented in the panel, related to policy measures, multi-partner initiatives, digital tools, as well as new business models, including agricultural information systems and e-commerce developed to improve digital infrastructure in rural areas.

Referring to the request made to FAO at the previous GFFA, Qu updated the ministers on FAO’s work on the establishment of the International Platform for Digital Food and Agriculture which has already been approved by FAO’s governing Council.

Asha Bajaj

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