In June 2011, new elections will be held by the FAO to designate the successor of Jacques Diouf as CEO for the post he has held since 1994. This year, six candidates are running from Austria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Spain, and notably Brazil, the new “agricultural giant”.
Proposed by the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian candidate José Graziano Da Silva is an economist, former coordinator of the program “Zero Hunger” in Brazil. He also served as Minister of Food Security and the Fight against Hunger under the presidency of Lula before being appointed regional representative for Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Director General of the FAO.
Since its creation in 1945, the FAO has had seven directors representing nearly every continent, two Europeans (Britain, Netherlands), two Americans (USA), an Asian (India), a Middle Eastern (Lebanon), an African (Senegal). But for the time being, no representative of Latin America has yet held the position. Now countries like Brazil and Argentina have become real agricultural powers whose voice is increasingly heard in international negotiations.
The nomination of a Brazilian at the FAO is interesting for several reasons.
Firstly it stresses the highly strategic consideration of agriculture for Brazil and its desire to play an active role in international decision-making.
Secondly it demonstrates the FAO’s growing political weight in international agricultural decisions, in addition to the WTO.
In the event of José Graziano Da Silva being elected, some questions remain unanswered: what are the consequences of Brazil’s overall strategy in the agricultural field and more particularly at the WTO? Will Brazil maintain its liberal position, oriented to further dismantling trade barriers or will it adopt a more measured position than in the past?