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Good evening to all,

It’s a great pleasure for me to be here in Rome among all of you. First, I would like to thank our host, Ambassador Antonino Marques Porto Santos, and his wife, and our two colleagues, Ambassador Viegas and Ambassador Seixas Côrrea. It is a great privilege to be with Professor Graziano da Silva, our candidate to the FAO Director-General position. I bring warm greetings from President Dilma Rousseff, who as you know has been in office since January 1st this year, and the first message that I would like to convey is her unwavering commitment to fighting hunger and poverty in Brazil, consolidating the very important gains of the past years under President Lula, where more than 25 million people were brought out of extreme poverty. And we still have maybe around 11 to 12 million to accomplish the same objective, but the commitment remains the same, not only domestically and regionally but also worldwide to cooperate wherever possible with partners across the globe, using the lessons learned in Brazil and maybe helping, giving a lending hand to others who may be trying to reach the same goals.

I was with Director-General Jacques Diouff today and I expressed to him our strong commitment to FAO, and what better way to express our commitment than to present a candidate for occupying the position of Director-General. I think it would be inconceivable for Brazil to have reached the goals that it reached during the past eight years if it were not for the zero hunger program, very much conceived and very much the product of the thinking, the conceptual thinking, and also the administrative capacity and political leadership of Professor Graziano. Professor Graziano has much to contribute to the rest of  the world, not only to the region, where he has been the Regional Director for FAO in Santiago, for several years, but to place his talent and his leadership at the service of the organization worldwide.

I will not go over his academic credentials, you know that he is specialized in Agrarian Studies, he has a master and doctorate in Economics, including post doctorate studies in the United Kingdom. But I think that what he brings to the job is most of all administrative capacity, a deep knowledge of the challenges of the developing world in particular, and this is where the most serious challenge for us all lie, as we think of food security, as we think of small scale family agriculture, as we look at a world without hunger, which should be the objective that we all are striving for. I think Professor Graziano also brings political leadership, which is very important in a organization such as FAO. He has been involved with the Workers Party since its inception; a strong partner and collaborator for president Lula and now, under Dilma Rousseff he will continue the same policies and strive to eliminate hunger and bring the Brazilian population the higher standards of living that provide dignity for all.

This is a very special occasion for me, it is the first time I address you and I know a number of you have already expressed support for Brazil, I know many others have not or have other candidates in mind, but for us the important thing is that you give serious consideration to this commitment that Brazil is undertaking by presenting this candidacy and we feel that there is a strong contribution that we can make, we are strong believers in multilateralism and I think beyond the FAO what we would like to see is a UN system that truly works for the International community. I still remember travelling with president Lula to Haiti, a country where we have assumed very serious responsibilities as the leading contributor to the Stabilization Mission, and there were flags all over the country when Haiti were still under a very deep turmoil saying “Le vrai nom de la paix est la justice sociale" / "The true name of peace is social justice” and social justice starts with combating hunger, starts with alleviating poverty, it starts by reducing inequality.  So it is in this spirit that I address you tonight. Thank you all for having participated in this encounter and I hope that you enjoy the evening. Thank you.

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