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Ambassador Kip Tom delivers the U.S. Opening Statement at the WFP Executive Board
November 16, 2020

Thank you President Siedenberger and Director Beasley for your thoughtful remarks and as usual comprehensive presentations.

Let me begin by reiterating the congratulations of the United States to the World Food Program for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020. This award is recognition for the tremendous impact the World Food Program has under your leadership and that of all the World Food Program staff around the world dealing in such difficult places.  This also underscores the unfortunate connection between food insecurity, conflict, the lack of access to modern innovations in farming and food systems that are needed to improve resilience and capacity building.  But we also need to focus on enabling the private sector’s engagement in order to grow developing economies and improve livelihoods.

I also want to also acknowledge the World Food Program for its tremendous work and the nimbleness and its effectiveness of your response over the course of this year. We know that COVID-19’s global pandemic won’t be the last pandemic and hope we have learned how to track our responses for continuous improvement in the future.

I also want to share I have growing concerns from the direct and indirect impacts of COVID19 such as declining GDPs and national economies collapsing due to the pandemic. We clearly understand why the World Food Program is anticipating a record gap between its resource requirements—some $12 billion—and the $7.4 billion it expects to receive in 2021.  Americans are prepared to continue to offer significant financial support, but I hope the urgent need World Food Program has identified will ensure that countries around the table today, and everywhere, dig deep and deeper into their own pockets to provide World Food Program the resources it needs even at a time when the pandemic is affecting each of our own countries in so many ways.

And next to all our colleagues her:, we have a number of really important policies to consider over the course of the next few days.

One of those policies the United States strongly supports and values is the work the WFP is doing on its Protection Policy and we endorse the Disability Inclusion Roadmap, both of which will come to us for adoption.

We also look forward to the discussion of the Management Plan and the People Policy.

And additionally the United States also strongly endorse the work under Executive Director Beasley’s direction, to ensure there is no tolerance for harassment, sexual exploitation, abuse of power or discrimination of any sort at the World Food Program. So we look forward to working with you E.D. Beasley and the World Food Program on advancing the goal of zero hunger through the Food Systems Summit as we focus on the world’s most vulnerable first and foremost and accept food systems that are inclusive of all approaches.

I also look forward to continuing the discussion on World Food Program’s new Strategic Plan. Our nation wants to encourage the World Food Program to focus on its unique strengths as a provider of assistance to save lives and to respond to acute food insecurity.

So Executive Director Beasley, you have wisely said you hope the Nobel Peace Prize will “go to our hearts, not to our heads.” I see evidence every day with your leadership of the World Food Program’s heart through its dedicated employees working here in Rome and every corner of the globe they serve with their hearts.  I certainly also applaud your unwavering and successful commitment to improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable.  This singular recognition only strengthens the United States in our decades-long commitment to the World Food Program, and we commend your commitment to continued excellence.  I look forward to this week’s discussions and the outcomes to save lives and improve lives of the world’s most vulnerable.

As I say often let’s stop talking and take action now.

Thank you.