The Executive Board is WFP's supreme 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, policy direction and supervision of the activities of WFP.
- 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, management plan budgets, 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 Executive Board strives to make its decisions by consensus and it is the role of the Executive Board President to ensure that every effort has been made to achieve 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). However, in the history of the Executive Board, no motion has ever been put forward for voting on a programme or activity.
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 36-Member Executive Board in 1996.
The group identified three areas as major functions of the Board:
Furthermore it identified responsibilities for four major interlinked frameworks:
- strategy framework – contained in WFP's Mission Statement and Strategic Plan;
- policy framework – contained in the updated version of the Consolidated Framework of WFP Policies and review of policies as part of the Programme of Work;
- oversight framework – contained in the Biennial Management Plan and oversight and operational documents as well as in evaluation papers;
- accountability framework – contained in the Annual Performance Report, other annual reports and financial documents.
A Governance Group, which consisted of membership from the Executive Board’s five electoral Lists, was established in March 1999 to develop ideas for strengthening the governance of WFP as it evolves and making the Executive Board more strategic, efficient and effective.
The Governance Group, argued that the Executive Board should be responsible for the following interlinked frameworks: the strategy framework; the policy framework; the oversight framework and the accountability framework. The governance tools – resulting from this governance project – constituted the core of the action plan for the future, including the Strategic Plan, the Consolidated Framework of WFP Policies, and the Biennial Management Plan. The governance project was finalized in 2005.
Below are links to documents related to the Governance Project:
Report of the Working Group on Governance
The four official languages of the Executive Board are Arabic, English, French and Spanish (Rule XIV). There are special arrangements for Chinese and Russian.