Maria Helena Semedo is currently serving as Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Ms Semedo started her career in 1984 as an economist in Cape Verde. In 1993 she was appointed Minister for Fisheries, Agriculture and Rural Affairs – the first ever women Minister in Cape Verde. After serving as Minister for Tourism, Transportation and Marine Affairs, she became Member of Parliament until 2003.
In May 2008, she received the Order of Niger for her distinguished service to the field of agriculture.
In 2018, she was named “Woman of the Year” at the commemoration of the 2018 Women Diplomats Day in Portugal, the Universidade Aberta in Lisbon conferred the Honoris Causa doctorate for her work in global sustainable development, and the Government of Brazil bestowed the honorific Order of Rio Branco.