GLF Climate 2021


Maria Helena Semedo

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Deputy Director-General


Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, is an economist and politician from Cape Verde. A leading expert in global development issues, she has helped shape a new global narrative where agriculture is prominently recognized as a solution in addressing increasingly complex issues – from transforming agri-food systems to dealing with climate change and biodiversity loss. As part of the FAO Core Leadership Team, Semedo heads major initiatives such as the One Health Approach, FAO Green Cities Action Programme and the corporate strategy for mainstreaming biodiversity across agricultural sectors, fostering multi-stakeholder dialogues that optimize FAO’s 75+ years of technical expertise and experience, its global reach and innovative approaches, all contributing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Since becoming first-ever women Minister in her country in 1993, she is a recognized advocate for women’s empowerment including as Chair of FAO’s Women’s Committee. Before taking up her current duties in 2013, Semedo held many high-level positions in Africa. She has received numerous international honours and awards.

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