Jose Graziano da Silva is the new director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization, after securing the majority of votes in elections held Sunday (June 26) in Rome.
Graziano, FAO’s regional representative in Latin America and former food security minister of Brazil, received 92 votes out of 180 votes cast by FAO member countries in the second round of balloting during FAO’s annual conference. His contender, Miguel Angel Moratinos Cuyaube of Spain, received 88 votes.
Four other FAO director-general candidates withdrew after receiving fewer votes in the first round of balloting at the conference.
Graziano’s term will start Jan. 1, 2012, and expire July 31, 2015. He is eligible to run for a second term. He succeeds Jacques Diouf of Senegal, who has led the agency for the last 18 years.
The United Kingdom and the United States, among other countries, have welcomed Graziano’s election while also calling for more reforms within FAO.
Oxfam International has voiced a similar call for continued reforms.
“The new director general must build consensus amongst member states around a vision for a new agriculture future which puts small scale producers in developing countries – who offer the greatest potential to increase yields and tackle hunger – at its heart,” the organization said in a statement. “He must be an effective administrator who will complete much needed reforms at the FAO and he must be a strong leader who will champion action on hunger and malnutrition internationally.”
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