Chinese vice minister elected as head of FAO

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Qu Dongyu became the first Chinese national to be elected to head the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, securing the post in the first round of the voting. According to official results Qu Dongyu who was a biologist by training won 108 votes followed by Catherine Geslain Laneelle of France with 71 votes and Georgia’s Davit Kirvalidze with 12 votes. Which brings 194 member countries togather who came for the fight against world hunger that was caused from global warming and wars.Hunger which occured due to the combined effects of severe and unpredictable weather conditions, economic slowdowns, and clashes particularly in Africa and the Middle East has risen for the past three years.

Qu Dongyu who will be the successor to Brazil’s Jose Graziano da Silva will have to keep strategy in preparation for feeding a world population which is expected to increase from 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion people in 2050. Richard Gowan an analyst at the Brussels based International Crisis Group told “Beijing has made a big push to get more senior jobs at the UN in the last few years.”

China is currently struggling from a widespread occurrence of swine fever that pulled down it’s livestock, also a trade war with the United States is forcing china to go elsewhere for cereals and soya. Beijing said in it’s bid letter “The crises have pushed the food sector to the top of the government’s priorities.” Qu Dongyu who is also a biologist by training has 30 years of experience on developing digital technologies in agriculture and to introduce micro credit in rural areas.

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Qu Dongyu will officially take the post as s FAO chief starting from Aug 01 onwards. The election occured during the second day of the FAO Conference which assembles twice a year. This 41st session started on June 22 and will last till June 29. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization was founded in the year 1945, it consists of 194 member states and one member organization (the European Union) and two associate members (the Faroe Islands and Tokelau).

French candidate Geslain Laneelle was the former head of the European Food Safety Authority and has spent her entire career in the agricultural and agri food sectors at the highest level in France. According to the agency FAO specific activities in China focus on five priorities that includes “strengthening capacity for quality and safety management of agricultural products, boosting capacity to respond to diseases, climate change and natural disasters, and promoting sustainable agro-ecological development.”

Qu Dongyu became vice minister at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in the year 2015. Before that Qu Dongyu had worked at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences which is headquartered in Beijing. Geslain Laneelle said “develop value chains around agriculture, fisheries and forestry.” a reference to the storage, processing and distribution of food. Robyn Alders senior scientific advisor of the London based think tank Chatham House told that “Qu Dongyu receiving a clear majority after a single round of voting was an impressive achievement. However, he is taking over at a crucial time with just over 10 years left to meet 17 global goals adopted in 2015 by UN members states to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues, including ending hunger.There are urgent issues to address if poor progress on achieving these goals are to be overcome.”

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