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The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is set to elect a new Director General in June. Decisions and actions of this organization have impacts on food and agricultural systems around the world. IATP believes this position is critical, as the Director General plays a key role in navigating the challenge of global hunger and climate change. The following is courtesy of FIAN International, our ally and one of the first human rights organizations to advocate for the realization of the right to adequate food and nutrition.

Why does this position matter?
1. FAO is a United Nations institution. Therefore, its actions have a global impact.
2. Recently, FAO has shown more openness to deal with issues critical to those most impacted by hunger and malnutrition. It has been a leader in developing guidance on the use and implementation of the right to adequate food.
3. FAO will continue to play a key role in all matters of policy and technical solutions ahead of the “zero hunger” benchmark set in the 2030 agenda.
4. Global hunger and malnutrition are on the rise, with climate change and environmental destruction also increasing. It is the Director General´s job is to navigate through these challenges.

Who are the candidates?
Four candidates have been nominated by UN Member States (alphabetical order by country).

China:
Qu Dongyu, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs

France:
Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, Under Secretary of State, General Directorate for the Economic and Environmental Performance of Enterprises (DGPE); Previously Executive Director of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

Georgia:
Davit Kirvalidze, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Georgia and a Member of the Board of Directors of a US-based, international, nonprofit organization Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA); served two terms as a Minister of Agriculture, as well as a Chairman of the Agrarian Issues Committee of the Parliament

India:
Ramesh Chand, National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog

The process:
- April 8-12: Candidate interviews held during the FAO Council session.

- June 22-29: Final election and announcement of the new Director General during the FAO Conference
* Member states will cast their vote on a one country-one vote basis. Only a simple majority is required.
* The next Director-General of FAO will be appointed for a period of four years (from August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2023) and will be eligible for one additional mandate of four years.

What can you do?
There is no formal space for civil society organizations to interact with candidates within the official process. Nevertheless, civil society organizations (including social movements and indigenous peoples) can and must insist on transparency around candidates’ positions on the issues of most concern to those that experience hunger and malnutrition around the world.

IATP is part of a social media campaign to make our voices heard. How can you get involved?

1. Share your question with #AskFAO and contribute to the discussion.

2. Tag @FAO in your tweets
3. Share and like posts on Twitter and Facebook.

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