An official website of the United States government

WFP Executive Board – U.S. Opening Statement delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Rodney Hunter
November 13, 2023

World Food Program – Executive Board

Second Regular Session

November 13-16, 2023

U.S. Statement delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Rodney Hunter


Thank you, Mr. President.  We’d like to thank Executive Director McCain for her opening remarks, and we’d also like to take this opportunity to welcome Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, Director General of COP28.

The United States thanks WFP for its dedication to reach the most vulnerable populations with lifesaving humanitarian assistance in increasingly complicated environments, which are often caused or exacerbated by conflict and/or climate change.

The world relies on WFP to swiftly deploy assistance in rapid onset emergencies.  From the floods in Libya, to the earthquakes in Morocco and Afghanistan, to Russia’s war against Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Hamas, WFP’s food assistance and logistical capabilities are the backbone of our collective ability to respond to emergencies in real time.  ED McCain, let me echo your words from earlier, your teams deserve our thanks for the hard work they do every day in extraordinarily difficult circumstances all over the globe.  Thank you.

Most recently, we have seen this humanitarian and logistical expertise deployed in Gaza, where WFP rapidly distributed much-needed food assistance within days of the crisis despite intense access challenges.  The United States is proud to provide critical assistance to these efforts through our diplomatic channels to improve humanitarian access, as well as our support to the WFP humanitarian convoys transporting life-saving supplies to those in dire need.

The United States has been clear that safe, sustained access for humanitarian assistance to reach civilians in need is imperative, as is an adherence to international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians, our staff and our partners.  We support WFP in its efforts to deliver assistance to those impacted by ongoing armed conflict.

Since we last met in June, the need to be more responsive to affected populations and to prioritize and target the use of limited resources has energized the humanitarian community’s reform agenda. Anticipated 2023-2024 resource levels necessitate the prioritization and targeting of assistance to the most vulnerable amidst a growing number of people in need, as was just laid out a few moments ago by the Executive Director.

Widespread diversion schemes uncovered in East Africa oblige the humanitarian community to increase our focus on how we assess risk, monitor programs, and target populations to ensure assistance reaches those who need it most.

We are encouraged by WFP’s Global Reassurance Action Plan and appreciate WFP’s recognition of the need to accelerate reforms and reinforce accountability across the organization.

We are also pleased that food assistance has resumed to refugee populations throughout Ethiopia following the implementation of reforms to the food assistance structure.

The United States supports WFP’s efforts to reform program monitoring to bolster the capacity of country offices to track the delivery of assistance, improve effectiveness of targeting, and provide beneficiary safety and access.

To ensure the right individuals receive humanitarian assistance and programming despite constrained funding, the United States requests that WFP standardize the use of vulnerability-based targeting across programs.  Targeting should be informed by community engagement and independent, evidence-based food security assessments.

Finally, the United States appreciated the opportunity in October to participate in the highly successful first annual global meeting of the School Meals Coalition, hosted by the Government of France in Paris, and we look forward to attending the next one in Kenya.

WFP has played a critical convening role as the Secretariat of the Global School Meals Coalition, and it was gratifying to formally welcome in so many new Member Countries and new partners and learn about what they are doing to support healthy school meals, including innovations and best practices, scaling efforts and more.

We look forward to the discussions this week, and with that, I turn the floor back to you Mr. President.