Qu Dongyu from China, one of the candidates for the Director-General position of the FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization), addresses a plenary meeting of the 41st Session of the Conference, at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Saturday, June 22, 2019. The new FAO Director-General will be voted on Sunday. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

UN food agency members vote to elect new director general

June 23, 2019 - 6:20 am

ROME (AP) — Members of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have started voting to elect the new head of the United Nation's food agency.

The 194 member countries, convened at the FAO's headquarters in Rome for the agency's 41st conference, will pick the new director general on Sunday among three candidates from China, France and Georgia. The candidates — who for the first time include a woman — each boast extensive experience in the sector.

China has nominated its agricultural deputy minister Qu Dongyu, who many see as the front-runner. He would be the first from a Communist country to hold the FAO director-general's chair.

The U.S. backs Davit Kirvalidze, the former Georgian minister of agriculture while Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, former head of France's agricultural ministry, is the European Union's candidate.

The successor to Brazil's Jose Graziano da Silva in the four-year U.N. post will focus on policies to fight world hunger, which has been fueled by wars and global warming.

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