The Dialogue on Strengthening South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Global Agricultural Development and the Introduction of the China-FAO South-South Cooperation (SSC) Trust Fund (Phase III) were held online on Feb. 28. The combined event was co-organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China (MARA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Tang Renjian, Minister of MARA, and Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General, attended the event and made keynote speeches. Ma Youxiang, Vice Minister of MARA, delivered closing remarks.
Minister Tang said SSC is a great initiative by developing countries as they seek strength through unity. China attaches great importance to SSC in agriculture. At the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping announced that China will provide $50 million to the China-FAO SSC Trust Fund (Phase III). MARA and FAO recently signed a general agreement, officially launching the SSC Trust Fund (Phase III). Tang said he hopes all parties will reach consensus, make better use of the SSC Trust Fund, and deepen international cooperation in areas such as poverty reduction and food security so as to promote the common development of developing countries.
Tang pointed out that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and uneven recovery of the global economy pose unprecedented challenges to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As an open and responsible developing country, China will work with all parties to tackle difficulties together, further deepen SSC, and jointly push sustainable agricultural and rural development within the framework of the Global Development Initiative.
Tang put forward three proposals:
1) Boost international cooperation in key areas such as poverty reduction and food security. Work to improve food production, protect agricultural biodiversity, and promote the integration of small farmers into the value chain. Carry out a group of inclusive and practical development projects with broad influence. Help developing countries enhance their capacity to safeguard food security.
2) Strengthen coordination and communication, make full use of different mechanisms such as annual consultation meetings, improve the platform for dialogue among stakeholders in project implementation, and conduct pragmatic cooperation.
3) Expand areas of cooperation and build diverse partnerships. Encourage developed and developing countries, different UN development agencies and relevant organizations, and the private sector to share wisdom and join hands in creating a new mechanism for global agricultural cooperation.
FAO Director-General Qu said South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation are key channels for addressing the challenges posed by global hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and inequality. China has long been an important strategic partner of FAO SSC. In recent years, China has donated a total of $130 million to the FAO SSC Trust Fund and dispatched more than a thousand experts. FAO deeply appreciates China's consistent contributions. FAO will continue to strengthen partnerships, expand South-South and triangular cooperation, and accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Vice Minister of MARA Ma said the event is an important symbol of the agricultural sector’s good start and new beginning in implementing the Global Development Initiatives. It is greatly significant to promote and realize the 2030 SDGs and build a community with a shared future for mankind. China will continue to vigorously support SSC in agriculture, steadily propel the implementation of projects, strengthen coordination and communication, effectively match technology and knowledge to investment, facilitate the commercialization of technology and research results, and enhance the sustainability of SSC projects.
Various officials attended the event and delivered remarks. They included the agricultural ministers of Uganda, the Gambia, Mongolia and other countries; the chair of the G77 + China Rome Chapter, who is also the permanent ambassador of Argentina to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture; and the regional coordinator for Asia-Pacific in the UN Office for South-South Cooperation. Representatives from countries including Sri Lanka, Oman, Samoa, and the Netherlands as well as international organizations including the World Food Programme, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the South Center conducted in-depth exchanges on themes related to the event.