Ambassador Lane Remarks at November 2012 WFP Executive Board

Ambassador David J. Lane speaking at a desk
Ambassador David J. Lane (WFP/Rein Skullerud)

Thank you, Madame Executive Director, for outlining your vision, the actions you have already taken, and your proposed way forward to make the World Food Program more “fit for purpose.”

Madame Executive Director, the United States supports the approach you have outlined and we commend you for your bold vision and initiative to best position the WFP to meet the ever evolving threat of global hunger and food insecurity.   Equally important, the US supports WFP’s efforts to contribute to and make use of the growing body of knowledge and tools available to meet these challenges as we work together to develop more resilient societies.

In taking this agenda forward, we appreciate the substantial technical and institutional implications of shifting from “food aid” to “food assistance,” and the need to build capacity at WFP, within donor agencies, and for the recipient countries themselves, for selecting and using the best mix of food assistance, or other resources in responding to food insecurity. We value our long-standing and productive collaboration, and  we look forward to working together with the WFP to build our joint expertise in this area.

We also commend you for your commitment to increase transparency, accountability and efficiency, and the actions you have taken to advance these principles at the WFP.  The United States also appreciates your emphasis on the importance of Monitoring and Evaluation.

Monitoring and Evaluation tools, and the resulting knowledge they produce, are vital to ascertaining how well the re-organization is better serving the world’s hungry and improving efficiency and efficacy.

We are pleased with the ongoing collaboration between the U.S. and the World Food Program on how to better target and measure the results of new improved nutrition products. We now need to work closely together in broader partnership with others to find a common way forward in using these products.

Building on the idea of partnership, we appreciate the emphasis that you place on working closely  with development partners and developing countries, as well as host countries, and your efforts to diversify the WFP’s traditional donor base.

We commend you and your management team for the fruitful and creative ways that the World Food Program is working with non-traditional partners, like emerging economy countries and the private sector.

The participation of UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in today’s Executive Board exemplifies the increased cooperation between the WFP and other UN agencies, and a commitment to work as One UN.  We are particularly heartened to see this collaboration in the critically important field of nutrition and encourage the WFP to continue to deepen its cooperation with all UN agencies, with the aim of mutually reinforcing food security outcomes and reducing redundancy.

The U.S. shares Executive Director Lake’s continued concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen, where the United States has provided over $117 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen in our Fiscal Year 2012 alone.

Among the priority actions that the World Food Program is taking, including in nutrition, we appreciate the increased focus being given to gender and resilience. These are key elements of a comprehensive approach to ensuring sustained food security.

I’d like to reinforce the need for collaborative approaches to nutrition needs outlined by Executive Director Anthony Lake in his remarks.

We appreciate the World Food Program’s strong support of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which was launched by the G8, African Heads of State, and private sector leaders in May of this year, particularly in the areas of strengthening nutrition outcomes for vulnerable populations, and in risk management.  We are grateful for the WFP’s partnership with USAID and IFAD on the establishment of the Global Action Network to Advance Index Insurance.

At the same time, the ongoing drought conditions over the past few years in the Horn and Sahel regions of Africa are symptomatic of the widespread need to collectively and systematically address the underlying causes of chronic poverty and hunger for vulnerable populations, and to create concrete mechanisms that build resilient and adaptive communities.  We value WFP’s continued engagement with global resilience efforts in the Horn and the Sahel and look forward to continued collaboration and coordination on efforts to improve the effectiveness and expand availability of these important instruments.

We also look forward to continuing discussions with the WFP, European Union and other key stakeholders about how the humanitarian and development assistance communities commit to doing business differently along the disaster to development continuum, and to find innovative ways in which meeting humanitarian needs can also contribute to building resilience.

I would like to close by thanking the women and men who comprise the management and staff of the WFP for their dedication and tireless efforts to provide critically important food assistance to people in need around the world in more than 76 countries.  Because of your creativity, commitment, professionalism and personal sacrifice, there is hope today in the most challenging and often dangerous parts of the world.   In particular, we thank you for your selfless work in Mali and Syria, and the lives and the dignity you are preserving there.

We appreciate that restructuring and retooling the WFP to better fit its activities for its purpose is not easy for WFP’s management and staff. So we would like to also thank and encourage management and staff for their support to a process that will better position the WFP to fight hunger and save lives around the world.

The United States remains a strong and steadfast partner to the WFP in the fight to end hunger and food insecurity, and we look forward to learning more about the implementation and impact of the World Food Program’s Plan of Action in the weeks and months to come.