Qu Dongyu of China was elected Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on June 23.
Mr. Dongyu received a total of 108 votes out of 191, constituting a majority in the first round. He was followed by Catherine Geslain-Laneelle of France with 71 votes. The election took place during the 41st session of the FAO Conference.
Qu Dongyu, who was born in 1963, is currently Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China. He has a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environment Sciences and has 33 years of experience in agricultural and rural development and technological innovation.
Qu Dongyu will be FAO’s ninth Director-General since the Organization was founded on October 16, 1945. He will succeed José Graziano da Silva (who holds the position since 2011) on August 1st of this year. Qu Dongyu’s term will end in July 2023.
“Intense diplomatic pressure”
According to Le Monde, Mr. Dongyu’s victory is part of China’s strategy to enter UN institutions. A victory which, according to sources cited by Le Monde, was helped by “intense diplomatic pressure”, bribes, vote buying, and document leakage. Furthermore, China is accused of pressuring African and South American states in order to get more votes for Mr. Dongyu.
The French news outlet reports that, according to diplomats, Beijing is said to have eliminated a debt of 78 million dollars from Cameroon in exchange for the withdrawal of its candidate.
More involvement from the private sector on the way?
In his speech on Saturday, Qu Dongyu proposed a bigger involvement of the private sector in the decision-making process, according to Le Monde. He also talked about attracting more resources from the private sector to develop agri-food sectors, especially in developing countries.
In particular, he mentioned a possible collaboration with the Chinese retail giant Ali Baba, as well as with the American Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.