The Executive Board is WFP's governing body. Comprising 36 States Members of the United Nations or Member Nations of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the united Nations (FAO), the Board provides intergovernmental support for, policy direction to and supervision of the activities of WFP.
The powers and functions of the Board are to:
- evolve and coordinate short-term and longer-term food assistance policies;
- provide intergovernmental supervision and direction of WFP management;
- review, modify as necessary and approve programmes, projects and activities submitted to it by the Executive Director (delegating to the Executive Director such authority in those approvals as it may specify);
- review the administration and execution of approved programmes, projects and activities of WFP; and
- report annually on WFP's programmes, projects and activities, to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and the FAO Council.
The Board strives to make its decisions by consensus of the members and it is the role of the President to make sure that every effort has been made to ensure consensus. Only on the rare occasions when the President determines that consensus is not possible does s/he put the matter to a vote (see Rule IX.2).
WFP's first governing body was the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC), which held its first session in 1962. The Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes (CFA) replaced the IGC in 1976, and was reconstituted as the Executive Board in 1996.
The Executive Director of WFP heads the WFP Secretariat. S/he is appointed jointly by the United Nations Secretary-General and the Director-General of the FAO, in consultation with the Board.
The four official languages of the Board are Arabic, English, French and Spanish (Rule XIV). There are special arrangements for Chinese and Russian.