New FAO Chief Eyes More Member States' Consensus, Cooperation on Key Issues

José Graziano da Silva, the eighth director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Photo by: Alessia Pierdomenico / ©FAO

The newly elected director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization said June 27 that he hopes to forge agreements on “a minimum number of issues” that will allow the agency to boost its work around the world.

“There are divergences, differences of views [among U.N. member states] which are profound which are not to be swept away, which cannot be ignored,” Jose Graziano da Silva said at a press conference in Rome, Italy. “We have to work on… a minimum consensus around these issues so we don’t lose ourselves and render this organization paralytic over divisions.”

Graziano was elected as the next FAO chief on June 24, narrowly defeating Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaube of Spain.

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He described his election as a “democratic success” and noted that “in the same way I hope I can forge those same types of agreements about a minimum number of issues which will enable FAO to move forward most rapidly.”

Among Graziano’s first actions following his election was a meeting with Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the World Food Program, in a bid to establish a common agenda between FAO and WFP.

“We agreed a much more close relationship will be necessary between FAO and the World Food Programme to fit the expectations that the world has now for better food security governance,” Graziano said.

Graziano’s election was welcomed by various donor countries, including the United Kingdom and United States, as well as by civil society organizations, which said they expect Graziano to bring his past success as Brazil’s food security minister to FAO.

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.