Ghedira Re-elected Executive Director of IOC

Several incumbents retained their positions at the top of the International Olive Council hierarchy, but not without controversy as Italy again missed out on a leadership role and Israel's representative was unable to vote.

Abdellatif Ghedira (third from left) was re-elected to lead the International Olive Council.
Jul. 1, 2019
By Ylenia Granitto
Abdellatif Ghedira (third from left) was re-elected to lead the International Olive Council.

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Abdel­latif Ghedira was re-elected exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil (IOC) for another four-year term at the 109th ses­sion of the Coun­cil of Mem­bers meet­ing held in Mar­rakech, Morocco last month.

Deputy Direc­tors Jaime Lillo (of Spain), in charge of admin­is­tra­tive and finan­cial affairs, and Mustafa Sepetçi (of Turkey), who is respon­si­ble for the tech­ni­cal, eco­nomic and pro­mo­tional units also had their man­dates extended until 2023.

Many in the indus­try saw this as a lost oppor­tu­nity for Italy, which accord­ing to pre­vi­ous diplo­matic agree­ments, was expect­ing to obtain a lead­ing posi­tion in the orga­ni­za­tion. The world’s sec­ond largest pro­ducer of olive oil will now need to wait another four years before get­ting the oppor­tu­nity to have a lead­ing role in the only inter­na­tional body that gov­erns olive oil pro­duc­tion and stan­dards.

Shortly after his re-elec­tion, Ghedira also dis­missed an Ital­ian tech­ni­cian who had a piv­otal posi­tion in the orga­ni­za­tion. This move also upset Ital­ian offi­cials and sparked con­tro­versy among oper­a­tors in the sec­tor.

Accord­ing to Ital­ian media reports, sev­eral oth­ers also crit­i­cized some of the issues that emerged dur­ing and after the ses­sion.


These reports said that the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Israel was not allowed to par­tic­i­pate in the ses­sion of the Coun­cil of Mem­bers, and there­fore was pre­vented from vot­ing on the new direc­tors. The rea­son cited for Israel’s exclu­sion was an error on the coun­try’s reg­is­tra­tion.

Accord­ing to the daily news­pa­per Ital­iaOggi, a tech­ni­cal­ity was found by the com­mit­tee, which was com­posed of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Euro­pean Union, Tunisia, Alge­ria and Turkey, that allowed the vote to go ahead with­out Israel’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive present. The rules of the IOC state that if less than two-thirds of mem­ber nations are present, a sin­gle vote against re-elec­tion can block the reap­point­ment of the incum­bent direc­tors.

The meet­ing was opened by the Egypt­ian Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Ezz El Din Abu Steit, who is the chair of the IOC for 2019, and was attended by the mem­ber coun­tries Alge­ria, Argentina, Egypt, the Euro­pean Union (which also rep­re­sented Mon­tene­gro), Jor­dan, Libya, Morocco, Pales­tine, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay.

The United States and Geor­gia also par­tic­i­pated in the ses­sion as observers, with the IOC approv­ing lat­ter’s request for acces­sion. Geor­gia is now set to become the orga­ni­za­tion’s sev­en­teenth mem­ber. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Alba­nia and Iran were also at the meet­ing, with the two nations join­ing the IOC’s advi­sory com­mit­tee.

Sev­eral insti­tu­tions, includ­ing the Arab Fed­er­a­tion for Food Indus­tries, the United Nations Food and Agri­cul­ture Orga­ni­za­tion (FAO), the Inter­na­tional Cen­ter for Advanced Mediter­ranean Agro­nomic Stud­ies and the Euro­pean Bank for Recon­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment also took part in the ses­sion as observers.

Dur­ing the ses­sion, the Arab Fed­er­a­tion for Food Indus­tries reached an agree­ment with the IOC to spread the orga­ni­za­tion’s qual­ity stan­dards across all Arab coun­tries, even those cur­rently out­side of the IOC.

There was a meet­ing of the IOC Admin­is­tra­tive and Finan­cial Affairs Com­mit­tee, which was held on June 17, and an inter­na­tional sem­i­nar on the future of the olive sec­tor in Morocco, orga­nized by the Moroc­can del­e­ga­tion and the IOC tech­nol­ogy and envi­ron­ment unit, which was held on June 20.

At the end of the ses­sion, Ghedira thanked Nabil Chaouki of the Agri­cul­ture Min­istry of Morocco, for the smooth run­ning of the ses­sion.

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