WFP has successfully concluded the heaviest Executive Board session in its history, covering 48 documents that were either for approval or consideration or discussed at the session. Among these were 14 interim and country strategic plans, bringing the total to 72 of the plans approved since the launch of the Integrated Road Map in 2017. In addition, oral reports on the latest situation in Yemen, the work of the Joint Board/Management Working Group on Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Abuse of Power and Discrimination (HSHAPD) and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) were well received. All documents, supplementary information including presentations, material from the side events and exhibition, a photo gallery and a video are available under the respective tabs at the top of the session page here.
During the opening segment of the annual session, the Board Membership also stood in a minute of silence in honour and commemoration of the victims of the 10 March 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley provided opening remarks highlighting the ever-increasing workload for WFP and how to address the challenges the organization is facing. His full remarks can be found here. As the Executive Board’s special guest, His Majesty King Letsie lll of the Kingdom of Lesotho, passionately spoke on overcoming malnutrition in order to create opportunities. His Majesty highlighted the efforts aimed at improving nutrition across Africa and on the achievements to date in implementing the Africa Regional Nutrition Strategy (2015-2025) to support the continent in achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda.
Representatives from the WFP Professional Staff Association (PSA, see statement here) and the Union of General Service Staff of FAO and WFP (UGSS, see statement here) shared their impressions, observations and concerns on behalf of the staff they represent. Harassment in all its forms was repeatedly stressed as a key issue to resolve, including shortening investigation timelines of such acts.
During a farewell segment on the last day of the annual session, the outgoing Director-General of FAO, Mr. José Graziano da Silva, stressed the importance of collaboration between the Rome-based agencies especially in the field. The WFP Board Membership recounted personal memories and anecdotes from their work with him and expressed their heartfelt gratitude for his dedicated career to fighting hunger and malnutrition.
By Sarah Colbourne, Executive Board Officer, Rome