Viorel Gutu, former FAO representative in Tajikistan, took up his duties the last week of February as the Organization’s Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia and FAO Representative in Turkey and Uzbekistan. Gutu succeeds Yuriko Shoji who was appointed recently as Deputy Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia.
Gutu, a national of Moldova, joined FAO in 2014 as the head of FAO Tajikistan office, leading the country office in establishing productive relations with the national government and with key donors including the European Union and Japan International Cooperation Agency.
During his tenure in Tajikistan, the host country agreement formalizing the status of FAO’s office in the country was signed. Gutu also held talks with government counterparts for Tajikistan’s country programming framework, which sets out strategic priorities for FAO’s support to the Government of Tajikistan.
“Taking up from where my predecessor left off, I consider myself lucky because our work will build on the robust foundation and vast experience of the FAO office in Turkey,” Gutu said. “It is a pleasure to lead a strong team here with its high and diverse capacity to respond the growing needs of our region.”
Implementation of FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme and FAO-Turkey Forestry Partnership Programme to support Central Asian countries in the areas of food security and forestry, FAO’s Syria Refugee Resilience Plan targeting Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey, and large-scale Global Environment Facility projects on climate change, land degradation and biodiversity are some of the major work areas Gutu will be focusing on.
Familiar with Turkish culture and a genuine enthusiast of Turkish cuisine, Gutu has traveled frequently for both work and leisure. To increase the knowledge of Moldovan farmers, he arranged study visits, bringing farmers to the southern provinces of Turkey – including Adana, Antalya and Mersin – for information exchange and sharing of the good practices in the areas of greenhouse and post-harvest processes.
Gutu served his country as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry. In this position he was responsible for the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of strategic policy implementation in agriculture and rural development, and initiated a wide range of reforms for improving the effectiveness of the Ministry and its departments. He also led negotiations with the European Union and other donors with the aim of improving agriculture in Moldova.
Gutu also served as economic affairs officer with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, where he dealt with peacekeeping operations, poverty alleviation and prevention of the emergency situations. For more than 10 years he managed international projects of the EU, FAO, USAID, JICA and IFAD, and later coordinated donor support to agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry of Moldova. He holds the doctoral degree in economics.