Germany's Opening Statement at the Second Regular Session of the WFP Executive Board


Rome, 18 - 21 November 2019 - WFP's Executive Board met in Rome for the Second Regular Session in 2019. Read here the opening speech given by Ambassador Seidenberger.

WFP Executive Board
WFP Executive Board© WFP
German Opening Statement

Second regular Session of the Executive Board,

November 2019

Mr President,

Executive Director,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start by thanking you, Executive Director, for your clear, strong and inspiring words of introduction and for providing the context for our work in the coming days.

As it has become a good tradition, I would like to first of all express our profound gratitude to WFP Management and All staff for their incredibly hard work in often extremely difficult environments. The employees of WFP are its most valuable resource, or as you, Executive Director, have put it, its lifeblood. To say it in your own words in your last All Staff Message: every WFP employee has to be empowered, supported and protected against any form of Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Abuse of Power and Discrimination.

It is reassuring to hear from you today that you do not only reiterate verbally your zero tolerance approach vis-à-vis HSHAPD in light of the findings of the WTW Survey and of the recommendations of the M - EB Joint Working Group, but that you and Management in general are ready to “walk the talk” and to take concrete action immediately also in phase II. We believe it is crucial - and it would be a major value added in comparison to a certain lack of contextualization in the WTW Survey - that implementation of action is governed by measurable benchmarks and performance indicators that allow for progress and impact to be monitored on a regular basis in the future. We expect Management to keep the membership apprised of all further measures taken and their respective impact evaluated.

Let me turn to the huge challenges ahead for WFP as the largest organization within the humanitarian system - and an organization with a dual mandate.

Conflicts are the main driver of food crises. WFP‘s five largest operations are impacted by conflict. These are protracted crises where humanitarian, development and peace aspects are intertwined.

Against this background, we have two Messages:

  • Firstly, we fully support WFP’s commitment to excellence in emergency response and our joint commitment to the Grand Bargain. WFP is the largest humanitarian actor and plays an indispensable role in humanitarian response and for the humanitarian system. At the same time, WFP is reducing humanitarian needs through resilience building measures. Germany fully supports efforts of different actors in crisis contexts, to strengthen, within their mandates, collaboration, coherence and complementarity across the HDP-Nexus. Therefore, we welcome WFP’s efforts to build internal capacities to this end and look forward to learn about progress.
  • Secondly, we are seriously concerned about the predicted funding shortfall; including the disproportionate reductions of up to 50% in development and resilience programs. We cannot separate humanitarian needs from resilience and root causes. Given this reality, it is very necessary for WFP to broaden its funding base to fill at least part of the funding gap. In addition, we need an approach, which is based on the nexus insight: namely, that cooperation across humanitarian and development actors is actually the source for more effective and efficient support and for a reduction of humanitarian needs. We encourage management to work on a respective operationalization of the Nexus. In the end, the dual mandate requires us to do both, save lives today, but at the same time change lives to save tomorrow’s lives.

Thank you.

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