Gerda Verburg was born on a dairy farm in the Green Heart of the Netherlands.
In 2007 she was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. In her period as Minister, she gave priority and special attention to innovative and sustainable agriculture and food security, both at national, EU and international level.
She has a degree in social economic relations and started her professional career as Regional Secretary General of the Rural Youth Organization. In 1982 she obtained a position in the Christian Trade Union movement (CNV). In 1990 she was the first woman to be elected on the Board of the Confederation of CNV. She represented the CNV in the National Economic Council and was responsible for labour issues, gender and international cooperation.
In 1998 she was elected Member to the House of Representatives for the Christian Democratic Party (CDA). She was speaker on economics and social affairs. In 2002 she became Vice Chair of her party in the House and also Vice Speaker of the House.
In 2008 she was elected Chair of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 17). During that year core issues were amongst others: sustainable agriculture, food security and climate. CSD 17 had a cross cutting, action and result oriented outcome, which initiated the concept of what is now called: climate smart agriculture or save and grow. She was closely involved with the follow up of CSD recommendations and the post MDG-policy formulation.
After her term as Minister, she returned to the House of Representatives (October 2010) and was speaker on economics, energy and innovation. In July 2011 she was appointed Ambassador/ Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN Organisations for Food and Agriculture in Rome (FAO, WFP and IFAD).
In October 2013 Gerda Verburg was elected as Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This is a multi-stakeholder committee where governments, civil society, private sector, research institutions and others deal with food and nutrition related topics. In 2014 she was appointed to serve as Chair of the Agenda Council for Food and Nutrition of the World Economic Forum (WEF). WEF also appointed her as Trustee in November 2015.
Since August 2016, Gerda Verburg is the Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement appointed by the UN Secretary-General. She brings extensive and broad experience from politics and international cooperation.
(Geneva, August 2016)