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Ambassador Cindy McCain Delivers the U.S. Opening Statement at the World Food Program Executive Board
February 27, 2023


© WFP/Massimo Tartaglia


Before I begin my statement, I offer condolences on behalf of the United States to the people of Türkiye and Syria.  We are saddened by the tens of thousands of lives lost that include members of our own UN family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Thank you, Mr. President.  The United States warmly welcomes the new members of the Executive Board and congratulates Poland on the Presidency and Morocco on its election to the Vice Presidency.  We thank outgoing President, Ambassador Ahsan, for your wisdom and guidance of the Board through a complicated year.

Colleagues, this is the fourth time we have gathered in the shadow of Russia’s illegal and unjustified war against Ukraine.  For more than a year, President Putin has tried to break the will and spirit of the Ukrainian people, targeting civilian infrastructure when he could not win on the battlefield.  The United States will stand with the brave people of Ukraine for as long as it takes. To Russia, I say—stop this senseless and unjustified war.  Return to the principles of the UN Charter.

WFP has a continued responsibility to ensure everyone benefits from help regardless of gender, age, disability, or minority group status. As such, we must condemn in the strongest terms recent Taliban decisions to ban Afghan girls and women from education and restrict their employment and movement. These decisions have already prevented the delivery of crucial aid during a freezing winter. We will continue to support the nearly 20 million Afghans facing food insecurity and demand the inclusion of female staff in the full cycle of aid delivery in Afghanistan. We join the international community and the UN in calling on the Taliban to reverse these discriminatory policies that interfere with the delivery of assistance, enjoyment of human rights, and fundamental freedoms.

Mr. President, as we celebrate WFP’s 60th anniversary, we continue to rely on the organization to help people around the globe reach the long-desired goal of zero hunger.  The United States is proud to be the leading donor having provided over 7 billion dollars in 2022.  That said, the needs gap is larger than we have ever seen. In that vein, we look forward to hearing from the President of the World Bank and the Executive Director of the UN Environment Program this week.

We also appreciate WFP’s commitment to preventing sexual exploitation and abuse and urge WFP to ensure we are going beyond complaint mechanisms to design programs to prevent SEA from occurring.

Before I close, I want to take a moment to thank the Executive Director, and my friend David Beasley.  David—you have so much to be proud of.  Under your watch, WFP won the Nobel Peace Prize and more than doubled its budget.  You have tirelessly brought the plight of millions of hungry people to the world’s attention and have undoubtedly saved many lives.  We owe you a debt of gratitude and look forward to continuing to build on what you have accomplished.  On behalf of the United States, our most sincere thanks.

Thank you, Mr. President.