Joint Statement by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies Ertharin Cousin

Rome – We would like to congratulate Dr. Jose Graziano da Silva of Brazil on his election as the next Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Dr. Graziano da Silva follows the current Director General Jacques Diouf, who helped usher in a process of renewal and reform that is transforming the UN’s largest specialized agency into a more dynamic, responsive and accountable organization in the fight against world hunger. The United States thanks Dr. Diouf for his hard work and dedication during his 18 years as Director General. The reforms he helped begin are now more important than ever as global food prices continue to rise and the FAO itself is faced with a difficult financial climate.

We look forward to working closely with Dr. Graziano da Silva to ensure that the FAO continues to reform and to push for more sustainable agricultural development, greater access to nutritional crops and more opportunities for women, particularly small holder farmers, to receive the technical capacity and training support that are required to participate in the agricultural sector. As the FAO begins a new era in its history, we remain committed to supporting the organization, its continuing reforms, and its critical work combating hunger around the globe.