Laurent Thomas is Deputy Director-General at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). He is responsible for FAO’s operations and the management of its business practices to achieve the highest level of efficiency possible within the Organization. In this role, he oversees the work of FAO’s Assistant Directors-General/Regional Representatives and the Heads of Liaisons Offices, the Organization’s Office of Communications, the Information Technology Division, the Human Resources Division, the Governing Bodies Servicing Division, the Finance Division and the Logistics Services Division. He has responsibility for Business Continuity Management, and safety and security of FAO employees worldwide. As Designated Official ad interim, he supports the Director-General in managing security and safety of UN Personnel in Italy.
Laurent Thomas oversees the work of the Office of Emergency and Resilience, and acts as alternate (B role) to relevant members of the Director-General’s Leadership Team for overseeing FAO’s Investment Centre, the Division for Partnerships and UN Collaboration, and the Project Support Division.
Prior to this role, for the past three years he was Deputy Director-General in charge of FAO operations and before this, FAO Assistant Director-General leading the Organization’s Technical Cooperation and Programme Management Department for over six years. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the Senior Directors’ team in charge of Strategic Programmes Leadership; programming investment in food security, agriculture and rural development; preparing for and responding to food and agriculture threats and crisis; mobilizing resources including through South-South Cooperation partnerships; and administrating FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme.
He is an agro-economist by training and has over 35 years of experience in development and humanitarian assistance issues. Throughout his career, he has worked on the challenges of food and agriculture systems transformation. Before joining FAO headquarters, he worked for over a decade in developing countries on farming systems research and agriculture extension. With FAO for more than 30 years, he has held positions of increasing managerial responsibility in technical advisory services, investment programming, oversight of the Organization’s Decentralized Offices’ network and the management of programmes to help contribute to eliminating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; make agriculture forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable; reduce rural poverty; enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems; and increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters.