On the occasion of the 2019 annual joint meeting of the Executive Boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-Women and WFP (JMB), the President of the WFP Executive Board, H.E. Mr. Hisham Mohamed Badr, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, travelled to New York City at the end of May 2019. As the coordinating agency for all joint activities of these Boards in 2019, WFP was responsible for organizing and chairing not only the JMB, but also the joint field visit to Colombia which took place two weeks beforehand.
Reunited once again after the joint field visit, the four Board Presidents met first in the Indonesia Lounge at the United Nations Headquarters for a pre-JMB prep session.
Sharing a brief video and summary of the impressions from Colombia was thus an appropriate start to the JMB in order to recall the rationale for the discussions in New York City: improving the lives of beneficiaries through greater effectiveness and efficiency of United Nations agencies cooperation in the field, in partnership with national governments to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Subsequent sessions of the JMB focused on the following three topics:
- Working methods of the Executive Boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-Women and WFP;
- Harassment, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination, and sexual exploitation and abuse; and
- Implementation of UNDS reform, and innovative financing for the SDGs.
Members for each of the Executive Boards acknowledged the relevant recommendations of the JMB through decisions at their annual sessions which were convened in the first half of June.
During a bilateral meeting with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, the President was able to discuss Board Working Methods and United Nations reform further. He stressed the importance of the Rome-based Agencies in helping Member States achieve SDG 2 and how her participation in the Third Annual Informal Joint Meeting of the Rome-based Agencies Governing Bodies, which will take place on 13 September 2019 in Rome, will be key to enhance discussions across the Atlantic.
On the margins of the JMB, the President also had a discussion with UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore on additional efforts required to protect beneficiaries against sexual exploitation and abuse, supported by the Executive Boards both in Rome and New York.
The President also took advantage of the trip to visit the WFP New York Office. While discussing the office’s diverse activities, key topics included the United Nations reform, the WFP partnership with MasterCard, the importance of involving the perspective of youth and the need for WFP to be more visible through public information campaigns involving its Global Ambassadors Against Hunger. All participants greatly enjoyed the interactive, frank exchange and mutual learning.