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Biography

José Graziano da Silva has worked on food security, rural development, and agriculture issues for over 35 years, most notably as the architect of Brazil’s Zero Hunger programme and now as the Director-General of FAO.

Zero Hunger

An agronomist and academic, Graziano da Silva led the team that designed the Zero Hunger (Fome Zero) programme. In 2003, he was named Special Minister of Food Security and the Fight against Hunger under then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with the mandate to implement the programme.

Zero Hunger has helped lift millions out of hunger and extreme poverty by emphasizing social inclusion and linking policies that address macro-economic, social, and productive challenges.

FAO

Graziano da Silva joined FAO in 2006 as the head of FAO’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Serving as Regional Representative until 2011, he actively supported the “Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative” - which made the region the first in the world to commit to the total eradication of hunger by 2025 - and highlighted the importance of family farming, rural development, and strengthening rural institutions to guarantee food security.

Graziano da Silva was elected Director-General of FAO on 26 June 2011 and took up office on 1 January 2012.

At the helm, Graziano da Silva has been working to transform FAO into a knowledge Organization with its feet on the ground, strengthening FAO’s field presence and pushing for a more decentralized approach.

He has also emphasized the importance of addressing the connections between social, economic, and environmental factors that can lead to hunger and malnutrition.

Graziano da Silva has sharpened the Organization’s strategic focus to transform into reality the vision of a hunger-free and sustainable world, utilizing FAO’s world-class technical know-how to achieve reformulated and clearly defined strategic objectives aimed at guaranteeing food security, promoting sustainable production, reducing rural poverty, improving food systems, and building resilience, while maintaining the technical quality of FAO´s global and normative work and services. He is also instilling a value-for-money culture in the Organization.

At the international level, he is working to build consensus on food security-related issues. This includes actively supporting the Committee on World Food Security, the United Nations High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security (in which he serves as Vice-Chair) and the Zero Hunger Challenge launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Graziano da Silva has also encouraged closer cooperation with development partners, supports South-South cooperation, and has increased collaboration with civil society and private sector entities, including farmer organizations and cooperatives. 

On 4 November 2013, he was bestowed with the title 'Grand Officier de l'Ordre National du Benin' by the Grand Chancellor of the National Order of Benin, Ms. Koubourath Anjorin Osseni as recognition for FAO's crucial contribution in eliminating hunger and malnutrition in Benin. Moreover, the title saluted the career of a man whose commitment towards people saw over 28 million Brazilians lifted from poverty through the "Zero Hunger" programme. 

Academic background

Graziano da Silva taught for over 30 years at Brazil’s State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and chaired its Institute of Economics Masters and Doctoral programmes in Economic Development and Environment.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Agronomy and a Master's Degree in Rural Economics and Sociology from the University of São Paulo (USP), and a Ph.D. in Economic Sciences from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). He also has two post-Doctorate Degrees in Latin American Studies (University College of London) and Environmental Studies (University of California, Santa Cruz).

Graziano da Silva has written or edited over 25 books on rural development, food security, and agrarian economics, and regularly contributes to leading publications and high-level discussions on food security and sustainable agriculture.

Born in the United States on 17 November 1949, Graziano da Silva is a Brazilian and Italian citizen and has two children and two grandchildren. He is married to Paola Ligasacchi.

Links:

Director-General’s webpage http://www.fao.org/about/who-we-are/director-gen/en/

Recent statements http://www.fao.org/about/who-we-are/director-gen/faodg-statements/en/

Recent articles http://www.fao.org/about/who-we-are/director-gen/faodg-opinionarticles/en/

Recent press releases http://www.fao.org/about/who-we-are/director-gen/faodg-news-archive/en/

Biography (shorter)

José Graziano da Silva has worked on food security, rural development, and agriculture issues for over 30 years, most notably as the architect of Brazil’s Zero Hunger (Fome Zero) programme and now as the Director-General of FAO.

Graziano da Silva led the team that designed the Zero Hunger programme, and, in 2003, was charged by then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to implement the programme as Special Minister of Food Security and the Fight against Hunger. 

He headed the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean from 2006 to 2011. Elected Director-General of FAO, he took up office on 1 January 2012.

At the helm of FAO, Graziano da Silva has sharpened the Organization’s strategic focus; and is strengthening its field presence.  He is also working to instill a best value-for-money culture. At the international level, he  is working to build consensus on food security-related issues.

He has also encouraged closer cooperation with development partners, supports South-South cooperation, and has increased collaboration with civil society and private sector entities, including farmer organizations and cooperatives for smallholder producers.

Graziano da Silva holds a Bachelor's Degree in Agronomy and a Master's Degree in Rural Economics and Sociology from the University of São Paulo (USP), and a Ph.D. in Economic Sciences from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). He also has post-Doctorate Degrees in Latin American Studies (University College of London) and Environmental Studies (University of California, Santa Cruz). 

A Brazilian and Italian by nationality, he is married to Paola Ligasacchi and has two children and two grandchildren.