Former President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo has been appointed A Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Special Ambassador for Forests and the Environment, that United Nations body announced at the weekend.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva made the announcement on the final day of the 23rd session of the Organization’s Committee on Forestry (COFO) taking place in Rome.
As special ambassador, Jagdeo will promote the role of forests in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, raise awareness of the vital contributions of forests to food security, rural poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration, and encourage actions to support the sustainable use of forests and other natural resources.
Jagdeo served as two-time president of Guyana between 1999 and 2011, becoming the youngest head of state in the world at 35. A global advocate for international actions to combat climate change, the former president launched the Jagdeo Initiative to create a more competitive agricultural sector in the Caribbean by 2015. Jagdeo will also draw on his experience serving on the UN Secretary General’s High Level Advisory Group on Climate Financing, as a patron of the Delhi-based World Sustainable Development Forum, as an IUCN Patron of Nature, and President of the Assembly of the Korea-based Global Green Growth Institute. Jagdeo was elected and served as COFO Chairperson for the 22nd and 23rd sessions of FAO’s forestry committee.
“Dr Jagdeo has been working with FAO to promote environment and forestry around the world, and we are very happy he joins his voice to our efforts,” said Graziano da Silva, thanking Jagdeo for accepting the role of special ambassador.
Describing his appointment as a “great honour” and acknowledging FAO’s work in “so many areas critical to life and well-being on our planet”, Jagdeo pledged to continue to raise the profile of forests and advocate for global recognition of their importance.
The United Nations has a tradition of enlisting the support of prominent individuals to underline priority issues and to draw attention to its activities.