Brazilian Makes History As New Head of FAO

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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. June 27, 2011: A Brazilian has made history by becoming the first Latin American to be elected head of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

José Graziano da Silva, a former Brazilian food security minister who has served as a senior regional official for FAO since 2006, will take up the post of Director-General of the UN agency on January 1, 2012.

Graziano da Silva, 61, beat out five other candidates for the post during a vote at the agency’s headquarters in Rome Sunday, receiving 92 votes from 180 votes cast by FAO Member States during the second round of balloting.

He will be only the eighth person to lead an agency that was established in 1945 and has pledged to work towards five main goals: eradicating hunger, promoting a shift to sustainable food production, ensuring greater fairness in global food management; swiftly implementing agreed internal FAO reforms, and expanding South-South cooperation.

The election took place on the second day of the 37th Conference of FAO, the highest governing body of the organization.