Who Speaks for the Hungry? How FAO Elects its Leader

This study, intended as companion to Development Dialogue issue no.1990:1-2, deals with the FAO and various ways its leaders have been chosen.

Publication details

Title:Who Speaks for the Hungry? How FAO Elects its Leader
Type:Development Dialogue
Author:Charles H. Weitz

Brian Urguhart and Erskine Childers point out in A World in Need of Leadership: Tomorrow’s United Nations — A Fresh Appraisal that ‘the smallest academic institution or well-established corporation virtually anywhere in the world devotes far more time, energy and systematic effort to searching for its executive head than do governments for the Secretary-General of the United Nations’.

This study deals with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN and the various ways in which its leaders have been chosen during its half-century of existence. Who leads to FAO (and where FAO is led) is, in large part, a product of the process through which FAO’s leaders are chosen. This study is predicated on the assumption that selecting the women and men needed to help governments and other reshape the way we work together is of highest priority and that leadership in the UN can — and has been recognised for three decades — either be ‘part of the problem or part of the solution’.