U.S. Statement given by Ambassador Kip Tom at the Opening of the June 2019 WFP Executive Board

Rome, Italy, 10 June 2019 Annual Session of the Executive Board Photo: WFP/Giulio Napolitano
Rome, June 10, 2019


Thank you Mr. Vice President, Executive Director and His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho for your thoughtful and comprehensive presentations.

We honor the WFP staff and implementing partners who have lost their lives while undertaking the work of WFP, we are very saddened by the tragic loss of so many lives on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10.  The United States offers its sincere condolences to their families, friends and colleagues.  We salute the dedication of WFP staff and recognize the danger they face every day.

We commend Executive Director Beasley for his continued strong and principled stand on the situation in Yemen to best ensure that relief reaches those who most need it.

The role of the United Nations and its partners is indispensable in reaching the most vulnerable people.  We rely on organizations like WFP within the United Nations (UN)family to help mitigate the worst impacts of crises and keep beneficiary needs at the center of all humanitarian interventions.

WFP provided food, cash-based transfers and commodity vouchers to over 86 million people in 2018 but the scale of humanitarian need and forced displacement around the world is unprecedented.  With a staggering 131.7 million people requiring assistance globally, the international community is struggling to address dire needs amid increasingly protracted conflicts and devastating natural disasters.

With the expansion of humanitarian crises outpacing global capacity to respond, we urge WFP to continue to work with UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other UN Agencies to improve joint needs assessments and joint analysis that informs and improves prioritized humanitarian response plans and appeals.  This prioritization should present the most accurate information on the scale of needs to better inform emergency response funding and implementation.

In line with global commitments, including the Grand Bargain, we encourage WFP to continue to employ efforts to improve collaboration between humanitarian and development actorsin crisis-affected and fragile contexts.  WFP must lead and work alongside others in the humanitarian and development communities to improve joint planning. Together, we must strive towards collective outcomes to maximize the impact of our development and humanitarian programs and promote rapid recovery and longer-term resilience to better address needs and underlying vulnerabilities.

We appreciate the opportunities at this session to review the crucial oversight documents that assist donors and other stakeholders to understand how WFP is protecting and safeguarding its resources.  We know that WFP has made great strides in risk management and improvements in internal controls.  Through these reports, we know that more work must be done to strengthen these areas and ensure controls are enforced and implemented.   The United States looks forward to supporting management’s efforts in this regard.

We are pleased with Executive Director Beasley’s continued focus on school feeding as an important way to reduce hunger and promote learning, and we appreciate WFP’s work to support national ownership of school meals programs by host governments.  We also applaud WFP’s efforts to develop a new school feeding strategy and look forward to continued collaboration in this area.

Thank you.