WFP Executive Board, U.S. Opening Statement by Ambassador David Lane

Thank you, Madam President.

Madam Executive Director, and Distinguished Colleagues:

Please allow me to begin by thanking Commissioner Georgieva for her tireless work to help the world meet humanity’s greatest challenges.

Georgieva spoke powerfully of the partnerships.  The United States is grateful for the partnerships you have championed between Europe, the United States, the United Nations and others in places like Syria and the Sahel, where together we are helping people to not just survive, but to realize a better future for themselves and their communities.

As members of the Board and the UN system, we each share the responsibility of advocating for WFP, and for financial resources to fund WFP programs, not only within our own governments, but with a wider global community.   We appreciate the ongoing efforts of WFP Management to introduce new, and in some cases, innovative financing through new donors and partnerships.  We also appreciate Management’s ongoing efforts through the Financial Framework Review to find and implement better approaches to managing the organization’s resources, so that WFP achieves more with what it has; and for ongoing efforts towards more deliberate and strategic partnering with others.  However, it is important to reinforce that responsibility for resourcing WFP and improving its efficiency also lies with us as members.  With four L3 emergencies ongoing, I urge each of us here today to recommit ourselves to resource WFP and find ways to contribute to the organization’s improved efficiency and impact.   As members, we need to give Management the tools and support it needs to respond quickly and effectively in a dynamic operating environment.

In this vein, I am pleased to announce that USAID’s Office of Food for Peace has made a general contribution of $10 million to WFP.  We hope this grant will contribute to core corporate priorities like strengthened knowledge systems, nutrition capacity, and monitoring and evaluation, areas that improve WFP’s ability to target and meet humanitarian needs.

We look forward to this Annual Session of the Executive Board.  Under the able leadership of Executive Director Cousin and the senior management team, we are pleased to see another year of impressive performance, with WFP’s life saving assistance reaching nearly 81 million people in 2013.  We are also pleased to note that even with significant increases in resources and programming and with considerable stress on WFP’s systems and staff, the organization continues to maintain adequate financial controls while always seeking to enhance them.  As a Board, we can best help WFP when we have clear and timely understanding of Management’s vision and proposed way forward.  And so, we greatly appreciate Management’s engagement with the Board during the inter-sessional period.  This is a good investment in time and energy to build support for Management’s initiatives, and has proved invaluable for the Financial Framework Review, as well as discussions on WFP’s working capital facilities.  We owe a special thanks to the Boston Consulting Group for their very helpful pro bono services, which represent a good example of WFP corporate partnerships at work.

I would like to close by extending our thanks to the WFP’s staff for their dedication and sacrifice and by extending a fond farewell to our dear friends and colleagues, Maj Hessel and Hideya Yamada.  They have both been friends and earnest champions for WFP and the vulnerable people it WFP serves.  They will certainly be missed in Rome.

Thank you.