Roma, Italia. June 26, 2011. José Graziano da Silva was elected today as FAO’s next Director-General, receiving 92 of the 180 votes cast.
“From this moment on, I am not a Brazilian candidate anymore, but the Director-General elect for all countries”, said José Graziano da Silva, briefly addressing the 37th Session of the FAO Conference after the vote.
Graziano da Silva will take office on January 1, 2012.
Visibly moved, the Director-General Elect reaffirmed his commitment to the eradication of hunger in the world, and mentioned Brazilian activist Betinho (deceased), one of the leaders of the fight against hunger in his country, that used to say that hungry people couldn’t wait.
Graziano da Silva explained this was the reason why he insisted, during his entire campaign, on the need to build consensus and reach agreements that would allow for quicker progress towards the eradication of hunger.
The Director-General elect also made a parallel between the efforts to fight hunger and the eradication of Rinderpest, a historical achievement being celebrated this week in Rome.
“Would there be anything to celebrate for if the proposed goal had been to reduce Rinderpest by half in the world?” asked Graziano da Silva.
Graziano da Silva also thanked the Government of Brazil for the nomination and the countries that supported him in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and the Portuguese Speaking Countries, as well as the G-77 that endorsed his bid in the final round.
Stating that this was not an election between North and South, but a legitimate democratic exercise, Graziano da Silva also congratulated his adversaries – Franz Fischler (Austria), Indroyono Soesilo (Indonesia), Abdul Latif Rashid (Iraq), Mohammad Saeid Noori Naeini (Iran) and Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé (Spain) – and said he had already contacted them individually asking for their support in the road ahead.
Finally, Graziano das Silva also thanked those that did not vote, FAO staff and civil society for their important in the fight against hunger.
Graziano da Silva’s remarks to the conference can be heard here.