In opening a weeklong session of the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization's (FAO) executive council on Dec. 5, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva urged members to approve proposals aimed at increasing efforts to address climate change and achieve sustainable development.
"We urgently need to act. We have to strongly implement the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement," he said, emphasizing that this requires "a race against time to safeguard our planet and people's lives."
In this context, Graziano da Silva said FAO wants to adjust its management structure so the agency may better assist countries in ensuring that their agriculture sectors can contribute to address critical issues relating to climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including by improving the quality of data to monitor and evaluate progress made, according to an FAO news release.
To achieve this, FAO intends to create a new Department for Climate, Land & Water and a new Office of Chief Statistician and also appoint a new deputy director-general who will oversee the agency's work related to technical cooperation, resource mobilization, partnerships and South-South cooperation.
"The time to promote these adjustments is now; otherwise, FAO will lose precious time to better support countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals," Graziano da Silva said.
He noted that FAO is not requesting additional funding to implement the proposed changes but would instead use savings from the current biennium budget.