Kenneth Yalowitz Supports David Kirvalidze to Lead FAO

Former US Ambassador to Georgia Kenneth Yalowitz made a statement about David Kirvalidze, Former Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, who was officially nominated for the position of Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the period of 2019-2023.

“I strongly support Dr. David Kirvalidze to become the next Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization”, former US Ambassador to Georgia Kenneth Yalowitz stated.

Yalowitz said he believes that Kirvalidze is the right person to lead the FAO and that he is "a highly qualified, honest and goal-oriented person who believes that FAO has the potential to defeat the hunger and poverty in the world."

“I served as the United States Ambassador to Georgia from 1998–2001, which was a tumultuous period for the newly independent state. Beset by separatist struggles and civil war, the government of President Eduard Shevardnadze was trying to bring peace and economic reform to what some feared could become a failed state.

"And then a natural disaster struck in the summer of 2000, a severe drought of historic proportions.

"Fortunately for Georgia, Dr. Kirvalidze was Minister of Agriculture and did a superb job of navigating the country through this crisis, which threatened food and seed supplies and the very future of Georgian agriculture. The United States had provided Georgia with significant economic and technical assistance since independence in 1991 and was very concerned about the threat posed by the drought. I had several meetings with the Minister to discuss the problem and his plans for dealing with it. I was deeply impressed with him on several levels. His education and background were perfect to meet the task. He was a visionary with strong ideas and the drive and will to implement them.

"This was a period of weak governance structures in Georgia and David stood out for his expertise and executive acumen. I observed as he mobilized resources across the government and engaged the foreign donor community. He organized a trip to the drought-stricken regions for the ambassadorial corps which led to an outpouring in emergency assistance to Georgia. The ambassadorial trip was well-publicized and played a key role in reassuring Georgians they were not forgotten. I also know from speaking with President Shevardnadze that he credited Davit for bringing Georgia through that crisis.

"I have kept in close contact with David since leaving Georgia. I am quite familiar with his excellent work in agriculture both in Georgia and internationally. He is, without doubt, deserving and highly qualified for the Director-General position at the FAO. He has personal integrity, drive, vision and the ability to organize and delegate. He is an optimist who believes the FAO can do even greater things to ease world hunger and poverty and a proven executive who can implement those plans. I very much hope he will be elected”, reads Yalowitz's statement.

Dr. David Kirvalidze has been officially nominated for the position of Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze in March 2019.

Kirvalidze has 28 years of leadership experience in agriculture and rural development sectors. He also served two terms as Minister of Agriculture and served as the chairman of the Agrarian Issues Committee of the Parliament of Georgia.

Elections will be held at the 41st Session of the FAO Conference in Rome on 22-29 June 2019.

The five candidates for the position of Director-General of FAO are as follows: Médi Moungui (Cameroon), Qu Dongyu (China), Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle (France), Davit Kirvalidze (Georgia) and Ramesh Chand (India).

Members will cast their vote on a one country-one vote basis in a secret ballot which requires a simple majority for a valid outcome.

The next Director-General of FAO will be appointed for the period 1 August 2019 to 31 July 2023. The Director-General will be eligible for only one additional mandate of four years.

 By Ana Dumbadze

13 June 2019 13:22
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