Kundhavi Kadiresan

Managing Director, Global Engagement and Innovation

Kundhavi Kadiresan is a development expert with over 25 years of experience in policies and programs. Most recently, she served Assistant Director General for Asia and Pacific for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), where she advocated and supported the FAO’s work on food, agriculture, water, forestry, fisheries, livestock, one health, nutrition and climate change, supporting member states to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meet their commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Prior to joining the FAO, she worked in leading international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations, leading multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary teams on macroeconomic policy, governance, agricultural policy, emergency response, and poverty. She has also led change processes at the FAO, and advanced new ways of doing business in the UN system. Her work spans Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America, where she led senior-level policy dialogues, and managed multi-million dollar loan portfolios and technical assistance grant programs. She strives for innovation in approaches, processes, products and services for better development impact. To this end, she has established creative partnership models with research institutions, private sector and agribusinesses to link research, policies and program delivery. She holds a PhD in Economics and an MBA in International Business.