Controversy Surrounds Re-Election of Qu Dongyu as FAO Director-General

news 02-Jul-2023 Asia

Qu re-elected as Director-General of FAO

Chinese candidate Qu Dongyu has been re-elected as the Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). However, his reappointment has been met with controversy, as investigations by ARD suggest that Qu has reshaped the organization in favor of China.

Qu Dongyu has been elected for a second term as the Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Chinese candidate received 168 out of 182 votes during the election in Rome. However, there were no opposing candidates.

According to investigations conducted by ARD, Qu utilized his first four-year term as FAO Director-General to reshape the organization in China's interest.

Geopolitical interests surrounding the FAO

Prior to assuming leadership of the FAO in 2019, Qu had served as Deputy Minister of Agriculture in China. The 59-year-old was nominated by Beijing for the position within the UN organization. His appointment was seen as an indication of China's interest in food-related issues and its intention to fill international bodies with high-ranking Chinese representatives.

Public broadcasters BR, MDR, rbb, and SWR published research at the end of June, suggesting that China has used the FAO for its own geopolitical purposes.

Did China buy votes?

According to the investigations, there are indications that the Chinese leadership made offers to other countries in exchange for their votes during the initial election of Qu. Subsequently, the elected Director-General allegedly appointed directors to various departments who had previously served extensively in the Chinese state apparatus. This enabled, among other things, the shipment of controversial pesticides to Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

Qu is a biologist specialized in plants and genetics, holding a doctorate from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He assumed the position in 2019, succeeding Brazilian José Graziano da Silva, who served two terms. FAO Directors-General can be elected for a maximum of two consecutive terms.

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