In an online event, the United Nations Food And Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) agreed to work together in the future by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The two organisations have a long-standing relationship, in which they share information and harness science and innovation for agrifood systems transformation.
The online event was opened with a short movie on the new collaboration of the two organisations, after which FAO Director-General QU Dongyu delivered an opening statement: “This dynamic cooperation offers a unique opportunity to leverage our collective comparative advantages and accelerate our joint efforts towards the achievement of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)”.
President of the Wageningen University & Research Executive Board, Professor Louise O. Fresco, replied that WUR looks forward to the cooperation. “WUR, with its broad multilateral focus, looks forward to joining FAO on a concerted and inclusive interface where scientific understanding can be verified and shared before translation into policies, legislation and public outreach to all stakeholders”.
Ambassador Marcel Beukeboom, the Netherlands Permanent Representative to FAO, together with FAO Chief Scientist Ismahane Elouafi, also made statements, followed by two technical sessions. More than 1000 people registered for the event, and during the event, representatives from over 50 countries participated.
Memorandum of Understanding
The new collaboration aims to develop and share knowledge and harness science, technologies, and innovation for transforming agrifood systems. In the new agreement, eight areas for technical cooperation have been set out:
- Improved agrifood economics
- Sustainable animal production and health
- Impacts of climate change, biodiversity, and environment
- Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
- Improved food security and nutrition
- Strengthened agrifood systems and food safety
- Sustainable forestry
- Partnership enhancement
The MoU is part of the WUR multi-annual strategy in which collaboration is at the core. The collaboration with FAO is an important part of the science-policy interface in which WUR puts much effort. Creating evidence-based policies is not only achieved through the many contacts with governments but also other organisations like NGOs, business and science partners play an essential role. Inter-governmental organisations like the FAO value the scientific information WUR provides and plays an important role in reaching out to other stakeholders. As Louise Fresco said: “I am confident that the colleagues at FAO and WUR will strengthen the collaboration and contribute to a better world for all, finding answers together, leaving no one behind”.