USDA Office of Communications
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2011 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will lead the U.S. delegation to the ministerial conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, Italy, June 25-July 2. The delegation will also include Melanne Verveer, U.S. Department of State Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Ertharin Cousin, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture, and Jonathan Shrier, U.S. Department of State Acting Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy, Feed the Future.
FAO leads international efforts to defeat hunger, improve agricultural productivity and promote rural development. In addition to addressing issues surrounding rising world food prices, delegates will elect a new Director-General to succeed Jacques Diouf, who has served in that position since 1993.
The conference, which is the highest governing body of the FAO, meets every two years to set policies and approve the FAO budget and program of work. Attendees include delegates from FAO member countries, as well as observers from non-member nations, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations.