The new Head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) stressed that during his term, the office will focus on food security, climate change adaptation, family agriculture, sanitary, agro-food health and safety, and eradicating hunger in LAC.
19 June 2012: Upon assuming office, the newly-appointed Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Raúl Benítez (Argentina), indicated his priorities would be food security, climate change adaptation, family agriculture, and agro-food health and safety.
Benítez will head the Santiago, Chile-based Regional Office for LAC. He underscored the importance of FAO support for the LAC Without Hunger 2025 Initiative, which seeks to permanently eradicate hunger throughout the region by 2025. He expressed confidence that LAC can achieve the goal, but conceded that it will require engaging non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector in addition to the development agencies. He also emphasized the importance of South-South cooperation for the Initiative.
Benítez further indicated that the FAO Regional Office will be devoting attention to several cross-cutting issues, including vulnerable populations, gender, jobs (particularly informal employment in rural and agricultural sectors), and indigenous peoples.
Benítez, an economist by training, was formerly the Minister of Production and Economic Development for the Argentine province of San Juan. He had also worked previously with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). [FAO Press Release (Spanish)]