The Board approved the “Annual Report for 2012 to ECOSOC and FAO Council” (WFP/EB.1/2013/4). In accordance with decision 2004/EB.A/11, the Board requested that the Annual Report be forwarded to ECOSOC and the FAO Council along with the Board’s decisions and recommendations.
The Secretariat presented this report on WFP’s contribution to the coherence and effectiveness of the United Nations system in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and building sustainable food security through interagency, multilateral and NGO partnership initiatives. The Board commended the report’s comprehensive analysis of WFP’s work in this regard. Members welcomed WFP’s partnership with the other RBAs, in particular its work to highlight issues relating to food security and nutrition at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20); in support of the Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge; and in the overall process to elaborate a post-2015 development agenda. The Board expressed its appreciation for WFP’s collaboration with partners on the development and food security agendas of the G8 and G20; its participation in fora such as the Committee on World Food Security and the Standing Committee on Nutrition; its work in promoting South–South and triangular cooperation; and the support it provided to the African Risk Capacity. Members appreciated the new format of the annual WFP partnership consultations in 2012. The Board recognized WFP’s contribution to humanitarian reform and the Transformative Agenda. It welcomed WFP’s cluster lead role; its work to enhance partnerships within the cluster system, including with NGOs; and the outcome of the evaluation of the global logistics cluster. Some members expressed appreciation for WFP’s continued focus on mainstreaming risk management, and for WFP’s joining the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Members welcomed the increased use of common services among United Nations agencies. They stressed the need for predictable, multilateral and multi-year funding and expressed concern at the significant gap between donor contributions and assessed needs. The Secretariat was encouraged to propose candidates for the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator pools, particularly women. The Board urged WFP to continue to make progress on mainstreaming and reporting on gender issues. The Secretariat noted that the report focussed on WFP’s contribution to processes that ensure the coherence and effectiveness of the United Nations system. Information on results and outcomes were covered in the Annual Performance Report.
Following the recommendation by the Executive Director, the Board approved the appointment of Mr David Johnson (United Kingdom) as Inspector General and Director of the Oversight Office for a term of four years from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017.
Summary The Chief of Staff briefly outlined the procedure for the selection of the new Inspector General and Director of the Oversight Office, who was appointed by the Executive Director. Of the 96 responses to the initial advertisement, 23 candidates had been shortlisted for consideration by the selection panel, of whom 8 were interviewed in person by the selection panel during November 2012. From these candidates the three top-ranking candidates were proposed to the Executive Director. The Executive Director met all three candidates and, in consultation with the Audit Committee, selected Mr David Johnson to be presented to the Executive Board for its consent. The Board expressed its appreciation of the rigorous and transparent selection process, in line with the Charter of the Oversight Office. It endorsed the appointment of Mr Johnson. Board members welcomed the opportunity to be involved and observed that internal audit was a management tool that offered valuable support to WFP departments by helping them to optimize their work. The Board expressed its appreciation of the work of the outgoing Inspector General, Mr Suresh Sharma.
The Board took note of “Summary Report of the Joint UNHCR/WFP Impact Evaluation on the Contribution of Food Assistance to Durable Solutions in Protracted Refugee Situations – Chad” (WFP/EB.1/2013/6-A + Corr.1) and the management response in WFP/EB.1/2013/6-A/Add.1 and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
Summary The Director of the Office of Evaluation (OEV) presented the last two of a series of four impact evaluations concerning food assistance in protracted refugee situations – in Chad and in Bangladesh – and a synthesis based on all four evaluations. The 2002 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and WFP had given renewed impetus to a shift from a care–and-maintenance approach towards support for self-reliance and durable solutions. Overall, the evaluations found that WFP and UNHCR assistance had mediated hunger and improved coping strategies in the short term, but food insecurity and chronic malnutrition had persisted in the medium term and the expected evolution towards self-reliance had not happened in the longer term. External factors explaining these results included underfunding of activities supporting self-reliance and restrictive host-government policies. These were exacerbated by internal factors including missed opportunities for synergies within and between programmes, and programme management issues. Evaluation recommendations were therefore directed not only to WFP and UNHCR but also to donors and the international humanitarian community as a whole. The Secretariat had accepted all the recommendations and had already implemented some. Many required political will and support from host countries and communities and donor governments. Mr Machiel Salomons, representing the UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service, reported on a high-level meeting in January 2013 where UNHCR and WFP had committed to strengthening advocacy with host and donor states to increase funding of sustainable livelihoods and self-reliance activities for refugees in protracted situations, improve access to land and employment, develop a joint strategic and operational framework to address internal constraints identified by the evaluation, engage development actors and collaborative partners in activities related to protracted displacement and emergencies, and develop coordinated strategies for the phased reduction of food assistance while safeguarding the nutritional status of refugees. Turning first to the Bangladesh evaluation, Board members raised concerns about the risk of dependency on food assistance by registered Rohingya refugees and noted the need for advocacy with the Government of Bangladesh to improve their conditions – including by allowing them to work – and with the Government of Myanmar in seeking a longer-term solution for displaced Rohingya. A package of livelihood support for all vulnerable groups, including registered and unregistered Rohingya and host communities could help with this. Responding to the Board’s questions and concerns, the Director of OEV noted that the evaluation found the dire situation of the Rohingya refugees made it too early to consider an exit strategy from assistance to refugees. The evaluation had found that food assistance increased the range and safety of refugees’ livelihood options; unassisted refugees were forced to make worse and riskier choices, and their higher cash earnings did not necessarily mean better nutrition or food security. The evaluation confirmed that global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates for unregistered refugees were significantly worse than those for registered refugees. Gender-disaggregated data from the evaluation, requested by members, would be made available. Mr Salomons clarified that UNHCR’s mandate was to support all refugees, regardless of whether the host government had signed the 1951 Refugee Convention. UNHCR would explore options for improving the food security of all groups, particularly women, children and other vulnerable people, and was studying the options for assistance outside camps. The Secretariat welcomed the Board’s encouragement and solidarity. UNHCR and WFP country teams would continue to engage with the Government of Bangladesh and development partners through a comprehensive approach to humanitarian assistance. Management would provide information about WFP’s response to allegations of inappropriate actions at food distributions. The Regional Director for Asia reported that WFP was supporting local safety nets through school feeding and nutrition interventions for unregistered and host populations. Regarding the Chad evaluation, the Board noted that there were better prospects for finding durable solutions for refugees in Chad because of the lower numbers of refugees involved, the closer affinity between refugee and host populations, and the good agro-climatic conditions in refugee-hosting areas, but that the lack of a coherent strategy on transition to self-reliance was of concern. The achievements in reducing GAM rates were noted as important and members were ready to support alternative livelihood options, which were considered more relevant than increasing the frequency of food distributions to enhance ration use. To facilitate return and resettlement, WFP and UNHCR should collaborate in Chad and the Central African Republic to promote access to resources and cross-border livelihoods, with support from donors. Mr Salomons reported that UNHCR was conducting studies on the transition from relief to development to draw lessons for its ongoing Transition Solution Initiative; information on findings and progress related to this initiative would be shared with WFP. The Secretariat acknowledged the strong commitment from the United States Government in funding the integrated security detachment in Bangladesh, which could potentially enhance cross-border opportunities and a united approach to implement operational intents of both agencies. Regarding the synthesis report, the Board welcomed it and drew attention to its relevance for all humanitarian agencies in protracted refugee situations: worldwide there were 10.5 million refugees plus 14.5 million internally displaced persons, most in protracted situations. The issues identified had been concerns for many decades. It was clear that new solutions were needed; however, this was a complex political problem and there was need for realism about what could be achieved concerning durable solutions. Members acknowledged the contribution they could make to changing the international response system to support transition to self-reliance – which required a global response beyond the capacity of individual agencies. They welcomed the formulation of a joint strategy for refugees in protracted displacement situations and recommended that it give refugees a say in the assistance provided; allow flexibility for appropriate responses at the country level; and take into account host populations and the Do-No-Harm approach. The Board also welcomed UNHCR’s Transition Solution Initiative and urged WFP to reflect on its implications for the role of food assistance. It affirmed that increased advocacy and dialogue between international organizations and host governments would help remove the barriers to refugees’ livelihoods and improve their security. Members suggested that long-term development investment in host governments would help improve the prospects for both host communities and long-term refugees. More specific issues noted by the Board as requiring renewed efforts included strengthening needs assessment to ensure the most appropriate tools; registration and verification of refugee numbers; better strategies to achieve gender equality and more attention to issues of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV); more attention to limit the sales of rations, which could have wide-ranging repercussions – including for donors, as in Somalia; and better selection of sites. The Director of OEV emphasized that any strategy for durable solutions had to ensure that refugees were able to move from camps to better situations. She clarified that the countries covered by the impact evaluations had been selected to provide a representative range of WFP and UNHCR activities and mandates worldwide. The synthesis report provided strategic recommendations directed to the policy level. WFP/EB.1/2013/15 7 Mr Salomons noted that international refugee law did not define local integration, which included legal and economic processes. Site selection was complicated by refugees often preferring to settle near borders and remain in initial settlement areas while UNHCR sought sites further from borders. Biometric systems were used for verification of refugee registration. Prevention of SGBV was a cornerstone of UNHCR policies; all evaluation missions covered SGBV practices. Support to returnees was not part of UNHCR’s official mandate, but it had developed expertise in addressing resettlement issues. The Secretariat would keep the Board informed of progress in developing the joint WFP/UNHCR corporate strategy and operational framework, which would take into account the new WFP Strategic Plan. Updates on recommendation implementation would be included in the Annual Performance Report. Increased multilateral funding had given WFP slightly more flexibility, but saving lives would remain a higher priority than building sustainable livelihoods. The President of the Board noted that these reports would be presented jointly by UNHCR and WFP to the March session of the UNHCR Board.
The Board took note of “Summary Report of the Joint UNHCR/WFP Impact Evaluation on the Contribution of Food Assistance to Durable Solutions in Protracted Refugee Situations – Bangladesh” (WFP/EB.1/2013/6-B) and the management response in WFP/EB.1/2013/6-B/Add.1 and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
The Board took note of “Synthesis Summary Report of the Joint UNHCR/WFP Impact Evaluations on the Contribution of Food Assistance to Durable Solutions in Protracted Refugee Situations” (WFP/EB.1/2013/6-C) and the management response in WFP/EB.1/2013/6-C/Add.1 and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
The following finalized country programme documents posted on the web will be taken up for discussion at the First Regular Session only if five Board members request it in writing by 25 January. Requests must be addressed to the Secretary of the Executive Board, with a copy to the Board's President.
The Board approved the proposed protracted relief and recovery operation Burkina Faso 200509 “Building Resilience and Reducing Malnutrition” (WFP/EB.1/2013/8-A/1).
Summary The Country Director observed that in spite of the good 2012 harvest, the recent drought meant that between 20 percent and 40 percent of households remained food-insecure and malnutrition rates remained high. The protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO) was intended to address these challenges by promoting recovery through accelerated nutrition interventions and asset-creation activities, building on earlier successes. The nutrition and food security situation had also been affected by the influx of refugees from Mali. A major focus of the PRRO was to transfer vulnerability analysis and mapping (VAM) skills to the Government and partners and to develop cash-based approaches with partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Oxfam, local NGOs and microfinance institutions. The Board welcomed the PRRO proposals, commending the asset-creation component as an effective approach to maximizing resilience at the household and community levels. Board members also supported the supplementary feeding for children and pregnant and lactating women as an initial step in addressing the high malnutrition rates, and welcomed the proposals for enhancing local capacities with a view to increasing resilience to shocks. The alignment of the PRRO activities with the Millennium Development Goals and with government programmes was also applauded. Board members noted that experienced partners would be essential to the success of the various components, especially those involving small-scale farmers, and urged the Secretariat to ensure that interventions targeting global acute malnutrition were fully aligned with the national protocols. Board members recommended regular assessment of the appropriateness of the food component to ensure that it did not create dependence. Board members were pleased to note that the partnership agreements were based on assessments of comparative advantages and alignment with government priorities. The participatory and gender-aware nature of the PRRO was commended by Board members, who noted that women headed a large proportion of households in Burkina Faso. The Board also approved of the proposals for eventual transition to a country programme. The Secretariat thanked the Board, noting that under the partnership arrangements the WFP country office had signed agreements with UNICEF and FAO to strengthen the value chain of United Nations agencies in tackling malnutrition and building resilience in the country. WFP intended, however, to use its nutrition and cash-based activities to promote education and awareness and to ensure that robust gender analysis was integrated into its operations. The Secretariat reiterated that the main underlying cause of malnutrition in Burkina Faso was chronic poverty; in this context the education and awareness aspects of the PRRO would be essential and would be supported by UNICEF and other partners. The hand-over strategy was based on the establishment of an early-warning system: WFP’s VAM unit was working with the Government to inculcate the required skills. The Secretariat observed that the geographical coverage of NGO partners was limited to the extent that WFP resources would directly assist 1.4 million of the overall 1.7 million beneficiaries.
The Board approved the proposed protracted relief and recovery and operation Zimbabwe 200453 “Responding to Humanitarian Needs and Strengthening Resilience to Food Insecurity” (WFP/EB.1/2013/8-A/2).
Summary The Country Director presented this PRRO, which assisted the transition from emergency to recovery while allowing for a rapid response to emergency if necessary. The PRRO anticipated the development of a social security framework and a WFP country programme. The Board commended WFP for its work in Zimbabwe, where the situation had improved since 2009 although rates of rural food insecurity were expected to increase in 2013. Members supported the PRRO, noting that it took into consideration recommendations from the country portfolio evaluation of 2011. They welcomed the transition to recovery, the enhancement of national safety net systems, the emphasis on local ownership, and the alignment with government policies; and welcomed the increased use of new tools, which had been found to enhance impacts, and the PRRO’s gender sensitivity, with women and girls making up 52 percent of beneficiaries. In response to the Board’s comments and queries, the Regional Director confirmed that the PRRO had been designed in consultation with food security stakeholders in Zimbabwe. The Country Director reported that efforts to reduce inclusion and – particularly – exclusion errors included setting up help desks at every distribution site, where civil society, WFP and partner staff recorded allegations of unjust exclusions; these were investigated and corrected. Communities’ selection of the assets to be created ensured community and partner support for WFP livelihoods promotion activities, with some partners contributing their own funds; assets selected included dip tanks, water harvesting and small dams. Monthly meetings provided donors, implementing partners and government with progress reports.
The Board approved the budget increase of US$163.9 million for protracted relief and recovery operation Niger 200051, with a ten-month extension from 1 March to 31 December 2013 (WFP/EB.1/2013/8-B)
Summary The Country Director presented the request for the budget increase explaining that it served to fund the transition from the emergency operation (EMOP) and current PRRO activities to long-term resilience-building. At the onset of the 2012 crisis, WFP had expanded its activities to protect household assets and keep people on their land. These activities were gradually scaled up to respond to the deteriorating situation. WFP support had contributed to reduced recourse to negative coping strategies; food security and nutrition activities were integrated so that the most vulnerable families received a package of support. The increased risk and threat environment, directly related to the war in Mali, had the potential to interfere in the implementation of WFP’s programmes in the west of the country. As a response to the security environment, security training for WFP staff had been introduced; United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) capacity required reinforcement. The Board expressed support for the budget increase, voicing concerns at the worsening situation in Niger. Members expressed some misgivings that the refugee crisis caused by the war in neighbouring Mali had not been properly budgeted for. Questions were raised about the use of cash rather than food distribution and the estimate of 1.1 million beneficiaries. WFP’s early identification of emergency needs was commended. The country office was urged to carry out evaluations. Responding to Board comments and questions, the Country Director explained that WFP was working within the framework of the Government’s national plan and the expectation was that there would be about 2.2 million beneficiaries. Post-distribution monitoring would help discern the effectiveness of blanket feeding. Evaluations were underway; preliminary results suggested that cash helped increase dietary diversity and resilience. The Regional Director for West Africa clarified that the refugee crisis was being treated as a regional issue involving Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger and would be addressed with a regional EMOP. The Niger representative, remarking on the success of the WFP interventions in his country, conveyed official government appreciation to the Country Director.
Agenda item 9 - Reports of the Executive Director on Operational Matters
The Board takes note of the “Biennial Programme of Work of the Executive Board (2013–2014)” (WFP/EB.1/2013/10) as proposed by the Bureau and the Secretariat, and as amended by the addition of an update of WFP’s Gender Policy for consideration at the Second Regular Session in 2014.
Summary The Board President presented the Biennial Programme of Work of the Executive Board. While submitted for information, the Board had requested discussion during the session. In a joint statement, four Lists asked that in light of the 6 February consultations on gender, an update of WFP’s gender policy be added to the Biennial Programme of Work for the 2014 Second Regular Session. The update would allow the alignment of the gender policy with the new Strategic Plan (2014–2017); the incorporation of recommendations arising from the evaluation of the gender policy scheduled for submission at the First Regular Session, 2014; the synchronization with the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women; and progress in implementing the work plan to address gaps in gender programming. A representative of the fifth List indicated that changes to the Biennial Programme of Work should be the result of joint coordinated work among Member States and the Secretariat. A Board member requested more time to consult with capitals before considering any changes, along with detailed information from the Secretariat concerning organizational and financial implications of those changes. Members agreed that future changes would certainly be the result of joint work and consultation, and reiterated the request that the update be added to the Biennial Programme of Work. The Secretariat clarified that the timing was appropriate because the update would follow the evaluation of the gender policy and the adoption of the Strategic Plan (2014-2017). The Executive Director emphasized that gender was a priority for WFP since she took office. While no additional financial requirements were envisioned as a result of changes to the Programme of Work, any change in requirements would be consulted with the Board. The Board President suggested that the request for the change be added to the draft decision and any changes introduced at the Annual Session. Board members preferred to introduce the change at the current session. The President recalled that the Rules of Procedure required that proposals to change draft decisions be submitted in writing and distributed to members in all Board languages. Following a recess during which a revised draft decision was translated and distributed, consensus was reached to include the update as proposed.
Agenda item 11 - Administrative and Managerial Matters
The Board took note of the information and recommendations in “Reports by the Joint Inspection Unit Relevant to the Work of WFP” (WFP/EB.1/2013/11/Rev.1).
Summary The Secretariat expressed its appreciation of the independent evaluations carried out by the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), noting that the JIU had issued seven new reports for WFP action since the last report to the Board. The Secretariat thanked the Executive Board Bureau for its collaboration on recommendations for legislative body action and reported that 53 percent of outstanding recommendations for management and Board action had been closed, compared to 28 percent in 2011. The Secretariat noted that in the spirit of transparency and information-sharing, it had for the first time included an annex of JIU Notes, which were sent for the attention of the Executive Head and were not required to be reported to the Board. Board members acknowledged the value of JIU reports and thanked the Secretariat for the progress made in following up recommendations. Board members requested and received clarification about updating the framework for the administration of trust funds, geographic representation among staff, and funding for mandatory ethics training. The Secretariat updated the Board on the status of the JIU recommendation tracking system. WFP implemented the system on a pilot basis in 2012, and would fully implement it in 2013. The system was “live” and had significantly improved communication with JIU about recommendation implementation. The JIU was developing a portal for read-only access for Member States; the Secretariat would inform Board members of the access protocol when it became available.
Agenda item 13 - Other Business
Oral Report on the Joint Meeting of the Executive Boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-Women and WFP WFP/EB.1/2013/13
The Board approved “WFP’s Role in Peacebuilding in Transition Settings” (WFP/EB.2/2013/4-A/Rev.1), noting that: - the Board looked forward to being informed on progress in implementing the policy at the Second Regular Session of the Board in 2014; and - the Board looked forward to considering a timetable for the review of the relevant transition-related policies at the Annual Session of the Board in 2014.
Having considered WFP’s strategic and management results frameworks (2014–2017) (WFP/EB.2/2013/4-B/Rev.1), the Board: - approved the Strategic Results Framework (2014–2017); and - took note of the Management Results Framework (2014–2017). The Board looked forward to receiving further information on WFP’s comprehensive performance management system at its First Regular Session in 2014.
Having considered the WFP Management Plan (2014–2016), as submitted by the Executive Director in document WFP/EB.2/2013/5-A/1 the Board:
i) took note of the projected operational requirements of US$5.86 billion for 2014, excluding any provision for unforeseen emergencies and including direct support costs, as outlined in Section II; ii) took note that the 2014 Programme Support and Administrative appropriation assumes a funding level of US$4.20 billion in 2014; iii) approved a 2014 Programme Support and Administrative appropriation of US$281.8 million, to be allocated as follows:
Programme support: regional bureaux and country offices US$96.7 million
Programme support: Headquarters US$55.5 million
Management and administration US$129.6 million
Total US$281.8 million
iv) approved a supplementary Programme Support and Administrative appropriation of US$9.2 million, as outlined in Section III; v) approved expenditures of up to US$10.0 million funded from the General Fund for the United Nations Department of Safety and Security and for the WFP Security Emergency Fund; vi) approved an indirect support cost recovery rate of 7.0 percent for 2014; vii) approved an increase in the Working Capital Financing Facility fund level, from US$557.0 million to US$607.0 million, through increasing the Operational Reserve by US$8.3 million in order to be able to meet a sudden surge in supply chain capacity in any emergency; and viii) authorized the Executive Director to adjust the Programme Support and Administrative component of the budget in accordance with any variation in the volume of operational requirements of more than 10 percent from levels outlined in Section II. The Board also took note of the comments of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (WFP/EB.2/2013/5(A,B)/2) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Finance Committee (WFP/EB.2/2013/5(A,B)/3).
The Board took note of “Summary Report of the Evaluation of the Impact of Food for Assets on Livelihood Resilience in Bangladesh (2008–2011)” (WFP/EB.2/2013/6-A/Rev.1) and the management response in WFP/EB.2/2013/6-A/Add.1, and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
The Board took note of “Summary Report of the Evaluation of the Impact of Food for Assets on Livelihood Resilience in Nepal (2002–2010)” (WFP/EB.2/2013/6-B/Rev.1) and the management response in WFP/EB.2/2013/6-B/Add.1/Rev.1, and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
The Board took note of “Summary Evaluation Report – The Sudan Country Portfolio (2010–2012)” (WFP/EB.2/2013/6-C) and the management response in WFP/EB.2/2013/6-C/Add.1, and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
The Board took note of “Summary Evaluation Report – The Congo Country Portfolio (2009–2012)” (WFP/EB.2/2013/6-D) and the management response in WFP/EB.2/2013/6-D/Add.1, and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
The Board approved the proposed protracted relief and recovery operation Afghanistan 200447 “Assistance to Address Food Insecurity and Undernutrition” (WFP/EB.2/2013/7-C/1) and recommended that subject to developments in 2014: - the implementation arrangement be re-examined regarding the participation of relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the PRRO, as part of the regular and on-going consultations of WFP; and - the PRRO be reviewed with respect to its size, components and geographic coverage, and adjusted as appropriate.
The Board approved the proposed protracted relief and recovery operation – the Niger 200583 “Saving Lives, Protecting Livelihoods and Enhancing the Resilience of Chronically Vulnerable Populations” (WFP/EB.2/2013/7-C/3/Rev.1).
The Board approved the proposed protracted relief and recovery operation Central America 200490 “Restoring Food Security and Livelihoods for Vulnerable Groups Affected by Recurrent Shocks in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua” (WFP/EB.2/2013/7-C/4).
The Board approved the proposed protracted relief and recovery operation South Sudan 200572 “Food and Nutrition Assistance for Relief and Recovery, Supporting Transition and Enhancing Capabilities to Ensure Sustainable Hunger Solutions” (WFP/EB.2/2013/7-C/5 + Corr.1).
The Board approved the proposed budget increase of US$508.6 million for Ethiopia protracted relief and recovery operation 200290 “Responding to Humanitarian Crises and Enhancing Resilience to Food Insecurity” (WFP/EB.2/2013/7-D/1), with an 18-month extension from 1 January 2014 to 30 June 2015.
The Board approved the proposed budget increase of US$151.3 million for Chad protracted relief and recovery operation 200289 “Targeted Food Assistance for Refugees and Vulnerable People Affected by Malnutrition and Recurrent Food Crises” (WFP/EB.2/2013/7-D/2), with a one-year extension from 1 January to 31 December 2014.
Agenda item 8 - Reports of the Executive Director on Operational Matters
The Board approved the Annual Performance Report for 2012 (WFP/EB.A/2013/4/Rev.1), noting that it provides a comprehensive record of WFP’s performance for the year.
Summary The Secretariat presented the Annual Performance Report (APR) for 2012, recalling that it was both an accountability document and a learning tool. The report incorporated enhancements suggested by the Board. The Board welcomed the positive results reported: WFP’s greater share of global food assistance; increased procurement in developing countries; greater use of innovative tools such as C&V and Purchase for Progress (P4P); higher percentages of women and children maintained in total WFP beneficiaries; reduced delivery times and other efficiencies from use of the Forward Purchase Facility (FPF) and strategic food stocks; improved compliance with minimum operating security standards; integration of gender equality into programming and performance measurement, and inclusion of men and boys in nutrition activities; resilience-building efforts in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa; strengthened partnerships and monitoring activities by partners; and retained inclusion of annual reporting of the Ethics Office in the Annex. Members also noted some negative findings: fewer total beneficiaries, IDPs and schoolchildren receiving food assistance; declining trend in food for training, asset-creation and resilience-building; fewer corporate and other private contributions; increasing numbers of children requiring nutrition support; and a large gap between contributions received and the programme of work. The Board recognized improvements in this high-quality APR. Members suggested it should provide a stronger sense of WFP’s strategic direction and indications on how WFP would use the lessons learned from findings. They suggested reporting results in other contexts such as the Management Plan and felt that management results were overemphasized in comparison with reporting on Strategic Objectives. It was noted that performance indicators should reflect changes in quality rather than achievement of targets. More information was requested on capacity-development results and the benefits of multilateral contributions. The Board encouraged the Secretariat to improve its tracking of partnerships, and continue enhancing the effectiveness of emergency response, including through roll-out of the emergency response package for country offices. Assessment of the impact and effectiveness of new tools – including comparisons with other tools – and use of learning from country offices where costs had been cut would help reassure donors about WFP’s efficient use of resources. WFP was urged to work with the rest of the humanitarian community to develop ways to measure performance in resilience-building. The Secretariat took note of the Board’s comments and suggestions. The APR source of information was drawn from Standard Project Reports, evaluation findings and the audited financial statements, which complemented information on results. All performance measurement on humanitarian and disaster responses was in reference to the Sphere Standards. The benefits of multilateral funding included enabled FPF and strategic stocks. Furthermore, lessons learned from the APR would be passed on to country offices and regional bureaux to guide their work, and efforts were being made to improve reporting on capacity development and of outcomes in addition to outputs.
The Board approved the WFP Strategic Plan (2014–2017) (WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/1), in accordance with General Rule VI.1. It looked forward to the submission of the Strategic Results Framework at its Second Regular Session in November 2013. The Board also took note of the comments of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
Summary The Executive Director presented the WFP Strategic Plan (2014–2017), which had been discussed at three informal consultations, thanking the Board for its support. The plan sought to prepare and respond to shocks, restore and rebuild lives and livelihoods, and reduce vulnerability and build resilience, with four Strategic Objectives. It renewed WFP’s commitment to working with partners, including governments, communities and the Rome-based agencies (RBAs), and to the work of the Committee on World Food Security; mainstreamed gender equality and women’s empowerment; elevated capacity development in all programming phases; improved operational services; built on core strengths; and was committed to catalysing innovative operational solutions. The Strategic Results Framework (SRF) was being refined in consultation with the Board and other stakeholders. It would be aligned with the Management Results Framework and presented, as part of the performance management system, at the Second Regular Session 2013. The Management Plan also supported implementation of the Strategic Plan. The Board thanked the Secretariat for incorporating suggestions made at informal consultations; for the document’s emphasis on WFP’s core strengths, partnerships and capacity development; and for the attention being paid to cost-saving and efficiency. It particularly welcomed the promotion and mainstreaming of gender equality, and encouraged WFP to devote more resources to gender. While lauding the sharper focus of the plan, the Board looked forward to more details, which the SRF might provide. Board members encouraged WFP to focus on emergency work, while others appreciated the Strategic Plan’s recognition of middle-income countries and of the importance of development work and technical assistance. The Board encouraged an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to overcoming vulnerability, recognizing the continuum of humanitarian and development work. Some emphasized the importance of a longer-term perspective and continuing to provide technical as well as food assistance. Members requested information on how WFP would adhere to humanitarian principles in particular contexts, and recalled the importance of Do-No-Harm principles. They expressed appreciation for the plan’s mention of the Food Assistance Convention and data-validation strategies. They asked for clarification of how Fit for Purpose was expected to move the plan forward, and for a vision of how WFP was to meet future challenges in the areas of management, resourcing and staffing. Encouraging prompt scale-up of C&V schemes, they recalled the importance of ensuring WFP staff had the right skill sets. Members also mentioned the relevance of the post-2015 agenda, climate change, triangular cooperation lessons learned, the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. The Executive Director assured the Board that, where possible, its concerns would be taken into account in the SRF. She further committed that WFP would ensure alignment of its results frameworks with other United Nations funds and programmes as part of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review process, including on gender issues and management results. Management had lent priority to formalizing learning and knowledge management across WFP; the Board would be updated on performance management along with other activities at the Second Regular Session, 2013. She clarified that “undernutrition” rather than “acute malnutrition” had been used in the Strategic Plan in order to fully address beneficiary needs in emergency responses. The Executive Director also clarified that while P4P continued to be a pilot activity, it was a key example of innovative work being undertaken. The Assistant Executive Director, Operations Services Department, provided an overview of WFP’s evolution from its inception, through the introduction of emergency work in the mid-1990s, and to where it was positioning itself for 2014–2017. He explained how WFP’s mandate enabled it to work with food-insecure communities in a range of contexts.
The Board approved “WFP Private-Sector Partnerships and Fundraising Strategy (2013–2017)” (WFP/EB.A/2013/5-B).
Summary The Secretariat presented the document, which reflected changes in the private sector’s role since the original 2008 strategy, and incorporated the additional information requested by the Board at a recent informal consultation. The Board welcomed the new strategy, particularly its new due diligence process, six principles for private-sector partnership, recognition of the private sector as a source of partners for both fundraising and internal capacity development, process for assessing strategy implementation and results, closer links to the Strategic Objectives, and greater involvement of regional bureaux and country offices. Members noted that the high initial costs of private fundraising were offset by the sustainability and flexibility of private contributions. Members noted that private-sector partnerships were concentrated in a few countries and were mostly corporate. The Secretariat should seek more partnerships in middle-income countries, which could lead to greater government involvement in and public awareness of WFP in those countries; in turn, greater public awareness encouraged more private-sector contributions, including from individuals. Fundraising efforts should focus on the programme areas most likely to attract private support, with partner selection based on shared values and principles and consistency with United Nations partnership and human rights principles. Regional bureaux and country offices could provide Headquarters with valuable feedback. Staff with the requisite skills in identifying and establishing private-sector partnerships were required. Members recognized the benefits of full cost recovery from private partners, but feared it might discourage potential partners; the 9 percent annual increase in private contributions seemed ambitious. The Secretariat added that it had identified capacity gaps that the private sector could fill and was working to increase the geographic diversity of its partnerships. The exceptional circumstances in which lower cost-recovery rates were applied included in rapid private-sector fundraising for sudden-onset emergencies. As part of the new organizational design, a research team at the Legal Office reviewed all potential partners, passing its findings to a senior-level committee for decision-making.
The Board took note of “Update on WFP’s Role in the Humanitarian Assistance System” (WFP/EB.A/2013/5-C).
Summary The Secretariat introduced the report and briefed the Board on WFP’s participation in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Transformative Agenda (TA) and leadership in the cluster system. Efforts to advance accountability to affected populations (AAP) mechanisms through the IASC Task Force co-led by WFP were highlighted, in particular ensuring consultation with beneficiaries throughout the programme cycle, which also improved staff safety and security. IASC Principals had endorsed the Commitments to AAP and supported work to develop an operational framework to implement them in the field. A common strategy on preparedness was being developed, spanning disaster risk-reduction to resilience. An integrated simulation exercise would be held to refine the TA Protocols, with the inter-agency rapid response mechanism deploying in Switzerland. Normative guidance built on best practices would be incorporated into internal WFP guidance for leadership. Coordination needed to enable delivery and was not an end in itself. The Board welcomed WFP’s leading role in the humanitarian system and suggested that such updates be submitted for consideration in future. Members supported TA implementation and requested a timeline and regular updates; one member suggested that the TA also be applied to non-Level 3 emergencies, incorporating lessons learned from ongoing emergencies. Members commended the transparency of communications to donors on organizational change and TA implementation. The Board recalled that the TA was intended to facilitate collective accountability for collective results. One member suggested that WFP Country Directors be given dual lines of accountability to Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs) and WFP, perhaps through performance evaluations. Senior staff should be encouraged to serve as HCs. The Board commended WFP’s lead roles with clusters, the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot network and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service, requesting further analysis of recurring costs and noting the need to mainstream global clusters into agency budgets. It requested further information on the new protection policy and encouraged WFP’s robust participation in protection clusters. Responding to Board comments, the Secretariat noted a number of positive aspects resulting from the IASC’s system-wide L3 activation for the Syrian crisis and committed to updating the Board on TA implementation. The terms for the “empowered leadership” of HCs during the first three months of a system-wide Level 3 response were recalled, noting that there was consensus within the IASC on retaining accountability of agency country representatives to their agencies; however, management was open to considering HC input to Country Director performance evaluations and had advocated for OCHA to reopen the L3 HC pool. The Secretariat agreed that sustainable funding was needed for cluster activities, which were still supported in part by extra-budgetary contributions. The AED, Partnerships and Governance Services Department, had been appointed as WFP’s senior focal point for AAP and the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. Regular updates on protection would be provided to forthcoming meetings. The President proposed amending the Biennial Programme of Work to submit the current agenda item for consideration rather than information at future sessions.
The Board took note of “Update on the Nutrition Policy” (WFP/EB.A/2013/5-E).
Summary The Secretariat outlined recent developments in research and the coordination of nutrition approaches through the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) and Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and Undernutrition (REACH) movements and other organizations. With the focus of nutrition programmes shifting to include adolescents, there was a need for research into the relative effects of food-based and of cash-based approaches and into the development of cheaper specialized food products. There was also a need for more trained nutritionists, particularly because more nutrition work was being carried out in partnerships. The Board praised the quality of the document. Members recommended the introduction of more accurate indicators for reporting on nutrition issues, which could be done under the SRF. They urged WFP to explore cash-based nutrition interventions based on thorough studies and recommended increased attention to food safety and food quality in nutrition approaches and noted the need to scale up the production of specialized nutritional foods. The Board noted the fundamental significance of nutrition in all of WFP’s food assistance, and emphasized that multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder initiatives were the best way forward. It commended WFP work in achieving political commitment and international coordination with regard to nutrition issues, particularly through its involvement in the SUN and REACH initiatives. WFP was urged to integrate nutrition programmes with social protection programmes and sectoral policies for agriculture, hygiene and education; and to base approaches on community and household needs rather than available products. Members noted that school feeding was an ideal vehicle for nutrition interventions. The Secretariat was asked to provide at least annual updates on developments in nutrition, particularly in the context of the post-2015 agenda. Board members urged WFP to ensure that country and regional offices had the tools and systems to manage nutrition interventions. Responding to the Board’s observations, the Secretariat noted that vaccinations were a necessary but subsidiary component of nutrition interventions, and that HIV patients were supported at the earliest possible stage to maximize positive outcomes. Work was ongoing with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners to optimize nutrition value chains, for example with regard to local production, food quality and delivery modalities. Nutrition experts were being recruited, and staff were being trained to handle nutrition in operational settings. WFP’s involvement in nutrition research would continue: its experience in the field was a valuable input.
The Board: i) approved the 2012 Annual Financial Statements of WFP, together with the Report of the External Auditor, pursuant to General Regulation XIV.6 (b); ii) noted the funding from the General Fund of US$632,889 during 2012 for the write-off of cash losses and receivables; and iii) noted post-delivery losses of commodities during 2012 forming part of the operating expenses for the same period. The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
Summary Observing that the document complied with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), that it had received an unqualified audit opinion from the External Auditor, and that it had been scrutinized by the Audit Committee, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the FAO Finance Committee, the Secretariat outlined the principal changes in WFP’s financial position and financial performance since the previous reporting period. The External Auditor highlighted the significant issues and recommendations, related mainly to inventory management, presented in the Audit Report. The Board welcomed an unqualified opinion on the Financial Statements from the External Auditor, supported all the recommendations and urged their timely implementation. It noted that the decline in the level of cash and short-term investments reflected WFP’s use of its resources in operations, transfer to long-term investments and purchase of capital assets. Contribution revenues and expenses, and the proportion of resources allocated to C&V modalities, had increased significantly. Board members were assured that the current deficit position was not a cause of concern, given the overall positive fund balance. The improved position of funding for staff liabilities – currently at 60 percent – was welcomed. The Board was particularly pleased that the Statement on Internal Control, which included a risk management component, was now an integral part of WFP’s governance system and that the five areas identified as needing improvement were continuing to be addressed. Members also looked forward to improvements being made to the Performance and Competency Enhancement system that should lead to increased accountability for staff performance. The Board suggested that the new Logistics Execution Support System (LESS) for food tracking be rolled out as soon as possible, noting that it would resolve some inventory issues. Members asked for details of the allocation of the US$20 million from the Programme Support and Administrative (PSA) funds for organizational strengthening; the levels of risk inherent in WFP’s FPF; and WFP’s approaches to valued added tax (VAT) exemptions. Board members were pleased to know that WFP’s system of internal controls provided levels of assurance over and above those required by IPSAS, and that the system was attracting interest from other United Nations organizations. The Secretariat thanked the Board for its observations, noting that LESS constituted a major investment in data quality whose advantages would accrue over time and that funding alternatives were being explored. The FPF risk element would be addressed, and the Board kept up to date. The reconciliation of stocks held by cooperating partners would be improved under a new system of internal reviews, in line with the recommendation of the External Auditor. The Secretariat pointed out that several figures in the financial statements were not comparable year by year in that they reflected different types of operational intervention. It was noted that the employee benefit liabilities were subject to variation because of demographic and economic factors such as the discount rate used in the annual actuarial valuation. With regard to the VAT receivable, WFP normally negotiated exemptions up front; where this was not possible it sought refunds. Improvement of WFP’s organizational systems was proceeding under the organizational strengthening workstreams addressing issues relating to regional and country presence, country office resource management, liaison offices, business processes, partnerships, management, communications and reassignments. Of the US$20 million from PSA, around half had been allocated to finance the workstreams, while the other half would be used to cover human resource-related costs arising from the reorganization.
The Board approved the following appointments to the selection panel of Audit Committee members in relation to the selection or renewal, as appropriate, of two Audit Committee members: Mr Zulfiqar Haider Khan, Alternate Permanent Representative of Pakistan, as representative of the Executive Board Mr Benito Santiago Jiménez Sauma, Alternate Permanent Representative of Mexico, as representative of the Executive Board and requested the selection panel to report its recommendations to the Executive Director and the President of the Board. The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
Summary The Board approved the following appointments to the selection panel of Audit Committee members in relation to the selection or renewal, as appropriate, of two Audit Committee members: -Mr Zulfiqar Haider Khan, Alternate Permanent Representative of Pakistan, as representative of the Executive Board -Mr Benito Santiago Jiménez Sauma, Alternate Permanent Representative of Mexico, as representative of the Executive Board and requested the selection panel to report its recommendations to the Executive Director and the President of the Board. The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
The Board approved a change to Financial Regulation 9.2 by which the proposed Management Plan shall be circulated to members of the Board no later than 30 days before its last regular session of each calendar year. It requested that the Secretariat provide a draft of the key extracts of the Management Plan 10 days prior to the last informal consultation on the proposed Management Plan so that all comments and concerns could be taken into consideration before the document is finalized. The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
Summary The Board approved a change to Financial Regulation 9.2 by which the proposed Management Plan shall be circulated to members of the Board no later than 30 days before its last regular session of each calendar year. It requested that the Secretariat provide a draft of the key extracts of the Management Plan 10 days prior to the last informal consultation on the proposed Management Plan so that all comments and concerns could be taken into consideration before the document is finalized. The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
The Board took note of “Annual Report of the Audit Committee” (WFP/EB.A/2013/6-D/1). The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
Summary The Board took note of “Annual Report of the Audit Committee” (WFP/EB.A/2013/6-D/1). The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
The Board took note of “Annual Report of the WFP Inspector General” (WFP/EB.A/2013/6-E/1 + Corr.1) and the note by the Executive Director (WFP/EB.A/2013/6-E/1/Add.1) and noted that the oversight work performed and reported did not disclose any significant weaknesses in the internal control, governance or risk management processes in place across WFP that would have a pervasive effect on the achievement of WFP’s objectives. The Board encouraged management to take advantage of the opportunities for further improvement highlighted in the report. The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
Summary The new Inspector General introduced the 2012 report. The Secretariat introduced the note by the Executive Director setting out her response. The Board noted with satisfaction the assurance opinion. It appreciated the proactive management response, including the seven actions already underway to address high-risk internal audit recommendations. It noted with concern the reported perception that WFP did not apply zero tolerance consistently or rigorously. Members encouraged management to pay more attention to reputational risk; accelerate management decision-making processes; implement deadlines for internal justice; and establish corporate standard operating procedures for high-risk operations. They recommended more investment in staff development to ensure better matching of experienced staff to posts, and other support for food safety and quality. The Inspector General agreed that the number of outstanding high- and medium-risk recommendations was high. He commended the management response in recent months and urged swift action over the coming year. He would launch a quality review of the investigations function to enhance preventative measures. He would also look into the prospects and time scale for moving from limited to positive assurance and share his perspective with the AC in 2013. The Secretariat noted a positive trend: 263 recommendations implemented in 2012, up from 151 in 2011. Outstanding recommendations would inform 2014 management planning, which would also consider whether funding constraints had impacted implementation. Financial rules already included the charter of the Office of the Inspector General as an appendage. While the Executive Director had not responded specifically to the issue of standard corporate operating procedures for complex operational environments, such risks were a concern across WFP and incorporated into the Inspector General and Oversight Office 2013 work plan. The current work plan did include review of complex environments, such as in the Syrian Arab Republic and DRC. In addition, the Secretariat was incorporating lessons learned through prior audit, evaluation and review exercises; for example, procedures put in place in the Syrian response had been guided by experiences in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. The Executive Director was committed to a review of internal justice and would shortly discuss it with the AC. There was no question of the Secretariat’s commitment to zero tolerance of fraud and corruption but there could be a need to look into how other types of misconduct were handled. On staff development, the Secretariat was taking steps to map succession planning among senior staff and to build the internal and external pools of talent, in addition to addressing skill and career development.
The Board took note of “Report of the External Auditor on Working with Cooperating Partners” (WFP/EB.A/2013/6-F/1*) and the management response in WFP/EB.A/2013/6-F/1/Add.1 and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion. The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
Summary The External Auditor presented the report, outlining the key areas of weakness of WFP’s work with the non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government partners at Headquarters and in selected field offices. Accepting the report’s ten recommendations, the Secretariat noted that the ongoing business process review and partnership strategy would underlie their implementation. It emphasized that partnerships were varied, complex and generally strong; the report had focussed on weaknesses in processes for managing those partnerships. The Board welcomed the document and commended the detailed research on which it was based. It appreciated the concrete recommendations and welcomed their acceptance by management, especially in view of the increased focus on partnership in the new Strategic Plan. Noting the extent of WFP’s engagement with partners, the Board urged strengthening of internal controls to improve compliance with procedures for managing partnerships. Board members requested clarification on the regional bureaux’s increased oversight role under the Fit for Purpose organizational design, including with regard to the central unit to manage information and operational procedures relating to cooperating partners. They urged the Secretariat to develop tools to improve monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of cooperating partner activities and suggested that the report could have examined partnerships with other United Nations agencies. Noting that field-level agreements (FLAs) were not always up to date, the Board recommended that WFP expedite implementation of stronger mechanisms for FLA review and management. A question was raised as to the feasibility of implementing the recommendations in the time envisaged, but overall the Board welcomed the proposed approach. The External Auditor thanked the Board for its positive comments. While acknowledging the significant role being played by United Nations agencies, she pointed out that the scope of the audit covered WFP’s partnerships with NGOs and governments given that they shared similar food distribution and operational roles on the ground; in future reporting on partnerships, audit could also examine those with United Nations agencies. The Secretariat observed that information and guidance related to cooperating partners was to be centralized in Headquarters; management of partner relationships was delegated to Country Directors with oversight by the regional bureaux, supported by Headquarters as needed. Regional bureaux oversight would be enhanced with new tools and standard operating procedures that were to be available by June 2014. Updated templates for FLAs had been issued and guidance for Country Directors was to be issued shortly; guidance was to be revisited when the business process review and partnership strategy were finalized. Reiterating its commitment to following up the reports’ recommendations, the Secretariat committed to holding a follow-up discussion with the External Auditor by October 2013. The Secretariat was to fully update the Board at its 2014 Annual Session.
The Board took note of “Report of the External Auditor on the Use of Cash and Vouchers” (WFP/EB.A/2013/6-G/1) and the management response in WFP/EB.A/2013/6-G/1/Add.1 and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion. The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
Summary The External Auditor presented the key findings of the performance audit related to gaps in selection of appropriate transfer modalities; engagement of cooperating partners and financial service providers for C&V; delivery of assistance; capacity-building; oversight by regional bureaux and Headquarters; and impact evaluation. All 11 recommendations were accepted by management. The Secretariat provided additional information on progress made by the Cash-for-Change initiative and efforts to increase WFP knowledge of C&V use and to ensure proper design, implementation and monitoring of operations. The Board recognized the good timing of the audit for guiding the scale-up of C&V use and commended the quality of the report. It supported all the External Auditor recommendations and welcomed management’s acceptance of them. Members commented on the pressing need to develop corporate tools for C&V interventions, measure their cost-effectiveness and select the best partners for their implementation. They emphasized the importance of gender considerations, post-distribution monitoring, rolling out of the corporate information technology system, risk mitigation measures and periodic impact evaluations, as highlighted in the report. WFP’s lack of internal capacity and funding for C&V development were particular concerns; the target of providing 40 percent of WFP assistance through C&V seemed overambitious, as noted by the FAO Finance Committee. Members suggested analysing capacity gaps at all levels and in particular at the regional bureau and country office levels; learning from NGOs with C&V expertise; expanding partnerships with financial service providers including contingency planning and putting the systems in place before scaling up. Decision-making on C&V needed to be based on feasibility studies and market analysis, to avoid negative effects on local markets and vulnerable people. The Board noted the C&V evaluation planned in 2014, and suggested it should analyse the effects of C&V on local food markets in comparison with food distributions. The External Auditor thanked the Board for its positive comments and took note of its suggestions for future audits. The Secretariat explained that regional bureaux and country offices would be involved in implementing the recommendations. Many of the tools examined were still being developed or finalized at the time of the audit; expertise in the use of C&V in emergency response was difficult to find. Evaluations had begun to include assessment of whether the right transfer modality had been selected. According to gender and protection studies by WFP and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, C&V interventions did not have significant negative or positive impacts on gender issues, but they were taken into account when selecting transfer modalities. Updates on implementation of the recommendations would be presented in the annual report on implementation of all External Auditor recommendations. The Executive Director noted that WFP aimed to develop a sustainable C&V system that could adapt to changes and developments and make it a leader in this area.
The Board took note of “Report on the Implementation of the External Auditor Recommendations” (WFP/EB.A/2013/6-H/1). The Board also took note of the comments of the ACABQ (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/2, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/2) and the FAO Finance Committee (WFP/EB.A/2013/6(A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)/3, WFP/EB.A/2013/5-A/3).
Summary The Secretariat presented this annual document, which since 2012 had been supported by a mid-year review in September. The Board welcomed this valuable oversight tool and appreciated the progress reported. Members asked the Secretariat to consider prioritizing recommendations for implementation and establishing a central platform for all internal and external recommendations. The Secretariat noted that the timeframe for implementing recommendations was a form of prioritization. While noting the overall progress, the External Auditor drew attention of the Board to the need to focus on the implementation of recommendations of the 2011 performance audit on management of projects. She pointed out that the feasibility and value of all recommendations was discussed with management and that their prioritization could be considered for inclusion in future reports.
The Board took note of “Annual Evaluation Report 2012” (WFP/EB.A/2013/7-A) and management response in WFP/EB.A/2013/7-A/Add.1, and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
Summary The President reminded the Board that evaluations had been discussed at the Annual Consultation on Evaluation in May. The Director of the Office of Evaluation (OEV) presented the report, noting that it highlighted partnership findings. WFP was highly valued by partners for its country presence, scale, staff and results-oriented culture. However, partnership principles needed to be mainstreamed and a more strategic partnership perspective was required, supported by financial and reporting systems to meet partners’ transparency needs. The recommendations focused on partnerships, country strategies, monitoring and application of analytical tools for programme effectiveness. The Secretariat presented the management response. The Board welcomed the report, its focus on partnerships and its increased clarity on using the lessons learned from evaluations. Members encouraged OEV to: continue disseminating its findings to guide strategy and policy design; increase its attention to partnerships in country portfolio evaluations (CPEs); and continue coordinating its work with that of other United Nations agency evaluation offices. Emphasizing the importance of gender reporting, the Board recommended inclusion of the gender marker in all projects. M&E was a continuing concern; the new strategy would improve it, but there was much to be done to make the planned decentralized evaluations a reality. WFP’s improved tools would be especially valuable in high-risk and fragile situations. Country strategies enhanced WFP’s alignment with governments and other partners, creating synergies in the field; their design should involve more consultations with national partners. The Board looked forward to the results of deepened partnerships and WFP’s participation in inter-agency discussions of cooperation such as the planned joint strategy with UNHCR on enhancing self-reliance in protracted refugee situations. It also looked forward to the findings of the ongoing peer review of WFP’s evaluation function. In response, the Director noted that OEV was increasing its attention to partnerships in CPEs. She reported that 21 percent of the consultants used for evaluations were from developing countries, excluding researchers subcontracted locally; future evaluations would continue to track the issue closely. She would inform the Board on future collaboration among United Nations evaluation offices. The Secretariat confirmed that it would follow up on formulating a joint WFP-UNHCR corporate strategy. Training was an integral part of the overall M&E strategy and plan, particularly at field level. Decentralized evaluations were in the early stages of development and would be discussed with Regional Directors in the coming days. The Secretariat recognized the need to ensure adequate capacity at the regional and country levels, along with the value of consultations with national stakeholders during formulation of country strategies.
The Board took note of “Summary Evaluation Report – The Kyrgyz Republic Country Portfolio (2008–2012)” (WFP/EB.A/2013/7-B) and the management response in WFP/EB.A/2013/7-B/Add.1, and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
Summary The Director of OEV summarized the main findings and conclusions of the evaluation, noting that operations had been appropriate and efficiently delivered, particularly direct food assistance. Partnerships with the Government and NGOs had been fundamental to the successes achieved. The country portfolio positioning had improved as it moved away from the original emergency focus. WFP’s food assistance should be better integrated into national social protection and structural safety-net reforms. Accepting all the evaluation recommendations, the Secretariat observed the document had noted the need to re-examine the roles and funding of small country offices. The Board expressed its approval of the efficiency, timeliness, appropriateness and continuity of WFP’s interventions in spite of funding constraints. Partnerships had been effective and beneficiary satisfaction high, and the logistics and oversight functions had worked well. It was generally accepted that the programme had provided good returns on investment and that the lessons learned could be usefully applied in other contexts. Board members praised the way in which WFP’s operations had supported development objectives and contributed to national stability, noting that small country offices needed to maximize partnerships. The Board approved the positive gender outcomes achieved. Board members recommended that WFP look into ways of optimizing its funding and support for small country offices with a view to enabling them to operate to their fullest potential, and in particular to engage in policy and development dialogue with governments. The Secretariat assured the Board that the question of funding and support for small country offices was being addressed in the Fit for Purpose exercise; the WFP funding model was being re-examined, especially with regard to capacity development activities and predictable, long-term funding. Multi-year funding would give WFP greater flexibility in re-aligning its country office system, especially with regard to the sustainability of small country offices. The Secretariat thanked the Board and donors for their support.
The Board took note of “Summary Evaluation Report – The Niger Country Portfolio (2007–2011)” (WFP/EB.A/2013/7-C/Rev.1) and the management response in WFP/EB.A/2013/7-C/Add.1, and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
Summary The Director of OEV presented the report. The overall assessment was positive, despite the highly challenging country context during the portfolio evaluation period. The Secretariat noted that the country office was already implementing some of the recommendations. The Board welcomed the evaluation as a sound basis for discussion of WFP’s future involvement in the Niger. It commended WFP’s responsiveness to changing national circumstances; alignment with the priorities and policies of the Government and other partners; targeting of vulnerable areas with different combinations of responses; and longer-term partnerships with FAO and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on food- and cash-for-work (FFW and CFW) activities, noting that field-level collaboration was particularly valuable. Members encouraged the Secretariat to increase policy dialogue with the Government and strengthen the country office’s capacity to engage with the Government; include NGOs in enhanced efforts to develop national capacity to manage crisis response and food safety nets; and collaborate with bilateral programmes to avoid duplication of efforts. WFP should exploit the opportunities offered by the Preparedness and Response Enhancement Programme and the country office’s new Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) Unit, scale up cash transfers, roll out the corporate beneficiary management system currently being piloted, and develop a knowledge bank on blanket feeding and its targeting. The Director of OEV noted that future evaluations would provide more information on the effectiveness of CFW compared with FFW. This evaluation was a portfolio evaluation and thus had not addressed the issue; in addition, there was limited data available on the use of cash. The Secretariat acknowledged the importance of ensuring clarity concerning what WFP would be able to undertake. The previous Country Director in Niger added that WFP inter-agency collaboration included community-level targeting for IFAD’s country presence, and local procurement for school feeding, with FAO supporting local farmers on seed quality and storage. The regional bureau had provided training on seasonal livelihood programming for asset creation. Voucher distributions in refugee camps had started recently and appeared to be working. The household economy approach was used for the targeting of cash and food; WFP was working with the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) on improved targeting for food security and blanket feeding interventions.
The Board took note of “Summary Evaluation Report – Timor-Leste Country Portfolio (2008–2012)” (WFP/EB.A/2013/7-D) and the management response in WFP/EB.A/2013/7-D/Add.1, and encouraged further action on the recommendations, taking into account considerations raised by the Board during its discussion.
Summary Presenting the evaluation, the Director of OEV noted that the activities of this small country portfolio were to be handed over to the Government and WFP was to exit by December. Thus the evaluation gave special attention to capacity development and transition, and drew lessons that may have wider relevance for WFP. The work of the country office had been effective, particularly in partnerships, and had contributed to state-building. The quality and reach of monitoring and addressing of gender issues had been limited, in part owing to chronic underfunding. In accepting the recommendations, the Secretariat acknowledged that a multi-sectoral approach to malnutrition would have been desirable, but WFP had been the only major organization working at scale. The Board noted that overall the evaluation was thorough and highlighted a number of successes that could be applied elsewhere. It appreciated the portfolio’s alignment with government policies, and was encouraged that the Government was to take over school feeding even though funding was a problem. Noting the resourcing problems that had affected the portfolio, Board members suggested that WFP re-examine its funding model and the roles and budgeting of small country offices; it should also evaluate the cost of continuing operations as requested by the Government. The local food procurement element of the programme would help to ensure sustainability, but national capabilities had to be developed to continue the work. Board members urged WFP to ensure that it reported fully on the extent to which capacity development targets were met. Several members recommended that WFP ensure that its hand-over plans were practicable and that gender issues were taken into account. The Secretariat assured the Board that reporting would address capacity development more fully. The hand-over strategy would be developed in accordance with the country strategy, in full consultation with the Government and other partners. The Regional Director was to provide a regional update on gender issues at the Second Regular Session, 2013. It was estimated that US$4.3 million would be needed to continue WFP’s work for another 12 months beyond December in support of Government’s efforts and its goodwill contribution.
After due consideration, the Board approved, on an extraordinary basis, the proposed country programme Egypt 200238 (2013–2017) (WFP/EB.A/2013/8/1), for which the food requirement is 74,022 mt at a cost of US$52.0 million and the voucher requirement is US$9.3 million; with associated costs, the total cost to WFP is US$87.2 million.
Summary The Country Director introduced the country programme (CP), which reflected the complex political transition and deteriorating economic situation with a focus on vulnerable regions in partnership with national institutions. The Board welcomed the CP and acknowledged the need to take the political transition and government priorities into account. It praised the technical assistance for addressing food insecurity and the broad consultations and partnerships, but encouraged more analysis to ensure adherence to Do-No-Harm principles and to reach the most vulnerable, including those without ration cards. Members urged WFP to provide further details on its objectives; more precise indicators in the logical framework; a clearer idea of how the CP aligned with the Strategic Plan(s); and what the hand-over strategy was for all components. Monitoring should continue to ensure that targeted communities were reached and to avoid security risks. It was suggested that given the number of people in need the CP be scaled up, and that assistance to Syrian refugees in Egypt be aligned with the CP. In response to Board comments, the Country Director explained the links between the CP and the previous and newly adopted Strategic Objectives; more precise indicators would be developed in relation to the new SRF. Board advocacy for a more ambitious CP encouraged expanded future interventions. Hand-over was incorporated into activities through capacity development and technical assistance; the feasibility of expanded social security nets would have to be assessed. WFP participated in dialogue on targeting and other challenges with partners in the context of the Cairo-based Development Partners Group. WFP would continue to monitor security closely to prevent risks to staff, partners or beneficiaries. The Regional Director underscored that the CP leveraged a mix of in-kind, cash and voucher modalities; incorporated funding for climate change adaptation; used an innovative funding model; and showed WFP was a good partner in middle-income countries.
The Board approved common country programme Rwanda (2013–2018) (WFP/EB.A/2013/8/2) and the WFP Results and Resources Framework (WFP/EB.A/2013/8/2/Add.1), for which the total cost to WFP is US$31 million.
Summary The Country Director outlined the document, which was common to UNICEF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and WFP, with a WFP Results Framework being submitted to the Board for approval. WFP would work in the most food-insecure areas and provide capacity development and technical support for the Government’s programmes until hand-over was feasible. The Board approved the alignment of the common country programme with the One UN initiative and the United Nations Development Action Framework (UNDAF), and with the Government’s economic and development targets. Some members felt that the targets were ambitious, particularly because donor support was declining, with success depending largely on the establishment of peace and stability across the country. The multi-sector programme approach to addressing chronic malnutrition was seen as suitable. Board members also approved the local purchase plans and the focus on smallholder farmers. Some members urged WFP to ensure that its assessments were reconciled with those of the Government and that adequate risk analysis was carried out. Board members recommended that WFP ensure that an effective hand-over plan was in place. In general the Board commended the programme, particularly in that it involved communities in work to ensure that the activities were sustainable. The Country Director noted that stability was indeed a prerequisite for success, confirmed that local procurement was part of the country programme and described training conducted through triangular cooperation with Brazil. An oversight committee was tasked to ensure coordination of activities; refugees were primarily the responsibility of UNHCR, but WFP also provided support. WFP and other stakeholders were carrying out nutrition studies to supplement the Government’s household surveys and ensure accurate beneficiary counts; the SUN and REACH frameworks also helped coordinate the nutrition activities. The Regional Director emphasized how the common country programme demonstrated WFP alignment with other United Nations agencies and the Government.
The Board approved the proposed development project Côte d’Ivoire 200465 – “Support for the Integrated Programme for Sustainable School Feeding” (WFP/EB.A/2013/9-A/1).
Summary The Country Director presented the Côte d’Ivoire development project in support of school feeding, which aimed to increase enrolment and improve gender balance. The project had an ambitious scope requiring extensive resources, but the context in the country had improved to the point where such a project was appropriate. The Board appreciated the project’s emphasis on enhancing local structures and community involvement, and its alignment with the national school feeding programme. WFP’s support to school feeding had been flexible over the years, adapting to the emergency and post-crisis contexts. Members welcomed the national education strategy, with which the project was aligned, and urged WFP to follow-up on government partnership. Replying to specific questions, the Country Director reported that the use of cash transfers to encourage families to keep girls in school was a pilot intervention for 10,000 girls in the first year, the only such WFP intervention in the region. Lack of infrastructure was unlikely to impede project implementation, because the Government had already restored most school infrastructure as one of its priorities. Indicators for monitoring the project’s contribution to national school feeding objectives would be included in the logical framework. The country’s President prioritized investments in human capital, and WFP was working with the Minister of Education and Professional Training to increase cooperation with the private sector. In response to the suggestion of a Board member, the Secretariat agreed to investigate the feasibility of holding a round table on a recent WFP report on global school feeding, possibly involving other agencies. The Minister of Education and Professional Training of Côte d’Ivoire thanked the Board for approving the project and emphasized the contribution of school feeding in children’s return to and retention in school after the crisis.
The Board approved the proposed development project Yemen 200432 “Food Assistance to Promote Girls’ Education” (WFP/EB.A/2013/9-A/2).
Summary The Country Director introduced the development project, noting that the situation in Yemen was fragile: 45 percent of the population were food-insecure. The project would address the needs to increase girls’ school attendance, along with nutrition and health needs in partnership with UNICEF and the World Health Organization. The Board strongly approved of the food assistance approach to increasing girls’ schooling. The Board observed that major international support was needed to enable the project to address gender disparities and contribute to stability and democracy in Yemen. Some members felt that the proposed project was inadequate in view of the seriousness of the situation with regard to girls’ education and raised concern on the proposed decreased beneficiary numbers. Board members suggested redesigning of the project after one year of operation to increase its coverage. Donors highly appreciated the country office’s efforts to give them high visibility, which they felt would help them to be transparently accountable to taxpayers. The Country Director thanked the Board for its observations and strong support for the project. There was much more to be done in support of girls’ education; the country office would to increase coverage if more resources were made available. He stressed that every effort would be made to raise the resources needed from private and international sources: the outlook was encouraging and he appealed for support from the membership. He assured the Board that insecurity had not so far hampered humanitarian access in Yemen, and thanked donors for their generous contributions.
The Board approved the proposed protracted relief and recovery operation Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 200532 “Nutrition Support for Children and Women” (WFP/EB.A/2013/9-B/1).
Summary The Country Director presented this PRRO. Despite increased food imports and production in DPRK, 3.5 million people remained vulnerable to food insecurity. A Letter of Understanding between the Government and WFP guaranteed immediate access to the field for monitoring, access to markets, international Korean-speaking staff, and permission to travel over weekends; similar operating conditions to those of the previous PRRO and EMOP. The Board commended WFP’s work in DPRK and its collaboration with the Government. The PRRO built on previous programmes; was well targeted and feasible; supported government efforts to increase food security and development; and contributed to national disaster preparedness and response capacity. Members emphasized the PRRO’s humanitarian focus on vulnerable women and children, and welcomed WFP’s cooperation with UNICEF and FAO. Members were concerned about the current lack of funding, and urged the country office to ensure adequate monitoring and transparency. Thanking the Board for its support, the Regional Director clarified that the PRRO sought to improve nutrition status using locally produced products, rather than filling gaps in the Government’s public distribution system. WFP had strengthened its collaboration with UNICEF, which was vital to the PRRO, including for annual impact monitoring. WFP provided food to the families of pregnant and lactating women and through orphanages, paediatric hospitals, schools etc. The Government covered the costs of fortified food production, with WFP providing capacity development, in preparation for eventual hand-over. Far more socio-economic development was necessary before WFP could plan its exit from DPRK.
The Board approved the proposed protracted relief and recovery operation Democratic Republic of the Congo 200540 “Targeted Food Assistance to Victims of Armed Conflict and other Vulnerable Groups” (WFP/EB.A/2013/9-B/2).
Summary The Country Director presented this protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO), noting the recent developments in re-establishing peace in DRC. The Board commended WFP’s leadership role in DRC, congratulating staff and partners on their perseverance in insecure conditions. It encouraged the continued scale-up of C&V distributions where conditions were appropriate. Concerns were expressed regarding risks to beneficiaries and cooperating partners from use of C&V and the limited ability to reach beneficiaries and ensure monitoring in several parts of DRC. Members recommended that monitoring activities include beneficiary feedback and that beneficiaries be involved in the selection of assets for cash-for-assets and food-for-assets activities. WFP should seek new partnerships with stakeholders and other agencies, and carry out joint contingency planning to ensure beneficiaries’ protection. Some members requested more information on lessons learned, particularly regarding security and partners; the transfer modalities used and their different impacts on protection issues; and WFP’s plans for increasing the resilience of severely food-insecure communities. The Country Director reported that C&V had increased to 15 percent of WFP distributions. Application of the Do-No-Harm principles included common assessments with partners to ensure their application and to select the safest intervention mode, minimizing the risk of beneficiaries before and after distributions. Regarding questions about the impact of the intervention brigade and how WFP would work with others to minimize humanitarian risks, the Country Director mentioned that WFP was working with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to understand its plans and adjust accordingly. WFP had deployed a civil-military coordinator to Goma, but it was difficult to predict the impact of the brigade. WFP, UNHCR and UNICEF were seeking innovative ways of reaching refugees and IDPs outside camps, including via helicopter and through NGOs. Resilience-building included P4P activities with small farmers where security conditions allowed. DRC operations faced frequent pipeline breaks, a risk mitigated by increased local procurement.
Agenda item 10 - Organizational and Procedural Matters
The Board took note of the report on the joint field visit of the Executive Boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-Women and WFP to Bangkok, Thailand and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (WFP/EB.A/2013/13/Rev.1).
Summary The Ambassador of Brazil, who had led the delegation consisting of 23 members representing 21 member states of the Executive Boards of the six United Nations funds and programmes, introduced the report and expressed his appreciation to the United Nations country team (UNCT) in Yangon, the United Nations Development Group in Bangkok, the Resident Coordinator in Myanmar and the people and Government of Myanmar for having made the joint visit successful. The Board praised the Secretariat for the comprehensive programme and excellent coordination, which had been appreciated by all delegations, and commended the WFP staff, who often worked under extremely difficult conditions. The Board noted the report’s recommendations and underscored its particular concerns at the conditions observed in some remote IDP camps in Rakhine State, advocating for the Government to relocate camps and take timely action to avoid a protracted IDP crisis. More broadly, there was an urgent need to close funding gaps for conducting the 2014 census, realign UNCT efforts so as to foster national ownership in setting the development agenda, and scale up assistance to achieve national poverty-reduction goals.
Oral Report on the Joint Meeting of the Executive Board Bureaux of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-Women and WFP WFP/EB.A/2013/13/B