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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General awarded for outstanding contributions to rural development, food security and agriculture

Honorary Degree from Pakistan’s University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

6 October 2016, Lahore, Pakistan – The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, José Graziano da Silva, was today awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Pakistan’s University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS).

The degree was conferred by the UVAS chancellor Mr Muhammad Rafique Rajwana in acknowledgement of Graziano da Silva’s “outstanding contributions to rural development, food security and agriculture.”

Before joining FAO, Graziano da Silva, an agronomist and academic, led the team that designed the Zero Hunger (Fome Zero) programme in Brazil in 2001. Two years later, 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. It was the starting point of an effort that has since helped some 28 million Brazilians overcome extreme poverty and hunger.

Graziano da Silva joined FAO in 2006 as the head of FAO’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and served as Regional Representative until 2011. He actively supported the “Hunger-Free Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative” - which made the region to commit to the total eradication of hunger by 2025. The initiative highlighted the importance of family farming, rural development, and strengthening rural institutions to guarantee food security.

Graziano da Silva was elected by FAO member countries as Director-General in 2011 and was re-elected for a second term in 2015.

A cornerstone of Graziano da Silva’s tenure at FAO has been to ensure that this generation becomes the Zero Hunger Generation worldwide. Implementing the Zero Hunger initiative around the world 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.

Honorary Degree

“This is truly a great honor,” said Graziano da Silva in his acceptance speech to the university, adding “This award goes to the causes of sustainable rural development and especially the fight against hunger.”

The Director-General commended UVAS for its contribution for agricultural development, particularly with regard to livestock, and for bridging the gap between the academic world and concrete needs of producers and consumers.

FAO and Pakistan – sharing knowledge, working together

During his first official visit to Pakistan, the Director-General met with the President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Ministers, senior government representatives and agricultural scientists.

Graziano da Silva pointed out that Pakistan has expertise, knowledge and capacity to advance global efforts against hunger. He congratulated Pakistan for its own efforts to end hunger. The country has already established state-of-the-art science and technology institutes and its agricultural research facilities attract researchers from across the Asia-Pacific region.

“The Zero Hunger model can also work well for Pakistan,” Graziano da Silva said. “With strong commitments and political will, achieving zero hunger in Pakistan is possible.”

Pakistan and FAO have worked closely together since the country joined the Organization in 1947.