FAO Director-General discusses technology, Green Initiative with the Minister for Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

Riyadh – FAO Director-General QU Dongyu today held talks in Riyadh with Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. AlFadley, the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Minister expressed his appreciation to FAO and his commitment to further enhance Saudi Arabia’s partnership with the Organization. Meanwhile, the Minister acknowledged many positive outcomes achieved in Sustainable Rural Agriculture Development Programme, which is being technically supported by FAO. The Minister would like FAO to maximize the impacts of this programme and benefit more targeted communities.

The Director-General thanked the Minister for Saudi Arabia’s hospitality and expressed his expectation that the country will play an increasing role in the upscaling of science, innovation and technology in the region. Qu suggested the upscaling to focus on one commodity, including the standardization of its value chain, and noted that FAO’s Investment Centre stands ready to provide support.

The Director-General expressed his support to the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative, two respective mechanisms  to discuss best practices, highlight innovation, evaluate progress and drive forward substantive action in the race against climate change at national and regional level. The Director-General also proposed that FAO will further work with Saudi Arabia to formulate action plans designed to combat deforestation and restore ecosystems. He noted that FAO can support by facilitating the sharing of Saudi Arabia’s experience and best practices to other Members of the region.

Meeting with the Supervisor General of KSRelief

On Thursday, the FAO Director-General also held a meeting with the Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), in which he outlined the latest reforms and changes taking place at FAO and briefed about his meeting with the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture and FAO’s support for the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative.

The Supervisor General of KSRelief, Abdullah bin Abdulazziz Al Rabeeah, congratulated FAO on its successful reform and conveyed his appreciation for FAO’s support to KSRelief’s work in capacity building activities and the establishment of a logistics hub in the Red Sea. He also noted he looked forward to enhancing cooperation with FAO in the area of early warnings.

Qu expressed his appreciation for the contributions by FAO partnersand reiterated the importance of development at community level to address humanitarian crisis challenges from a long-term perspective. Qu said FAO was committed to work with KSRelief to help small-scale farmers in the region have adequate access to agricultural inputs, seeds, fertilizers, equipment for them to grow and produce locally. The two also discussed FAO’s ongoing work through the Hand-in-Hand Geospatial Platform.

Memorandum of Understanding

The Director-General also attended the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between FAO and the International Dates Council (IDC).  The memorandum was signed on behalf of FAO by Abdelhakim Elwaer, Assistant Director General and Regional Representative of FAO’s Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa (RNE), and Mr. Abdulrahman Suliman Al-Habib, Executive Director of IDC. The ceremony was also attended by the Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

IDC has its headquarters in Riyadh and includes the following members: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Sudan, Mauritania, Yemen, Oman, Palestine, Somalia and Lebanon. The MoU aims to provide a framework for collaboration between the Parties to further their shared goals and objectives with regard to the development of an integrated sustainable and competitive date palm sector, while optimizing the use of natural resources, supporting the achievement of sustainable and rural development strategies and the realization of food security objectives.

The MoU has been developed by FAO in collaboration with several regional and international technical bodies, such as the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) and the Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Drylands (ACSAD) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ARDA).

The collaboration between FAO and IDC will be implemented for five years in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals and FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31.


Source: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations