Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Duffy at the Opening of the WFP Executive Board

Charge Thomas Duffy delivers remarks at the WFP Executive Board (photo credit WFP/Giulio Napolitano)

Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Duffy at the Opening of the WFP Executive Board Second Regular Session

November 26, 2018

We welcome the Brazilian Minister for Social Development to this meeting and to Rome.  We thank you for your earlier statement and for Brazil’s continued leadership on food security.

Executive Director Beasley, thank you for your tireless efforts in places such as Yemen recently where you were able to raise awareness, highlighting the plight of the vulnerable and WFP’s leading role in accessing conflict zones in some of the most geopolitically and logistically challenging parts of the globe.

While the world is consumed by an exceptionally high number of humanitarian emergencies, it remains critical that we not lose sight of longer term development priorities and our progress toward them. As WFP aims to fully implement Country Strategic Plans (CSPs) by 2019, we encourage WFP to use the recent evaluation findings from the pilot CSPs to improve operational effectiveness and inform decisions in the next generation of CSPs.  Very much linked to evaluation is ensuring consistent monitoring and systematic data collection and analysis as these will be vital in showing progress, results and effectiveness of the CSPs.

The Country Strategic Plan process by its very nature has emphasized the interplay of the development-humanitarian nexus and the “resilience” side of WFP programing through layers of activities with outputs and indicators.  The U.S. Government will monitor closely to see that this aspect is not overshadowing or impinging on core WFP competencies in emergency activities. Changing lives and saving livelihoods is important but saving lives is a critical, foundational function of WFP.

Along this line it is important to reflect on progress on the Grand Bargain, which the United States values as a means to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the humanitarian system.  The U.S. Government remains fully committed and engaged, and we encourage all donors and humanitarian actors to do the same.

The U.S. Government is keenly interested in seeing tangible results in two specific areas:  Improved Joint Needs Assessments and Reduced Duplication and Management Costs.  We encourage WFP and all relevant UN agencies to implement joint needs assessments in crisis-affected countries, feeding into holistic and prioritized response strategies that address needs according to urgency and are inclusive of all affected populations.

Across the entirety of the Grand Bargain, the U.S. Government urges signatories to produce robust reporting, as well as renewed efforts to advance those elements that require collective action.  By robust reporting, we mean better quality and transparent reporting as opposed to more reporting.

In that vein we would like to shift the focus of briefings to the board away from process to content. We receive useful briefings on the corporate results framework and the integrated road map and now we look forward to more engagement at the content level, in particular, advances on programming and measuring results.

Given the continued rapid growth of WFP organizationally, we welcome the Executive Director’s comments on running the organization and look forward to hearing more about workforce issues; shining a spotlight on sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment; improving accountability; developing concepts for faster deployments; decentralizing training and mentoring along an articulated career path. We appreciate your listening closely to donors, looking ahead, and planning for the organization that WFP will need to be to meet future challenges.  And we remain cognizant of the difficult balance to strike but one I know that you and WFP are up for—to not wane in the pursuit of organizational change while continuing to address the unprecedented scale of human suffering at the level we’ve all come to expect.

Finally, we would also like to express our appreciation for Executive Director Beasley’s continued commitment to school feeding and for the efforts of the new school feeding unit within WFP.  We look forward to continued collaboration on feeding school aged children and helping countries develop national school meals programs. We also commend WFP’s efforts in support of the Orange Campaign.

Thank you.