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Ertharin Cousin of United States appointed as head of UN World Food Programme

Article / Review by on January 17, 2012 – 5:21 pmNo Comments

Ertharin Cousin of United States appointed as head of UN World Food Programme

Ambassador Ertharin Cousin at the November 2011 meeting of WFP's Executive Board in Rome. (Copyright: WFP/Giulio D'Adamo)Ambassador Ertharin Cousin at the November 2011 meeting of WFP’s Executive Board in Rome./(Copyright: WFP/Giulio D’Adamo)

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed the appointment of Ertharin Cousin of the United States as the new head of the Rome-based agency.

Ms. Cousin will replace Josette Sheeran, also a US national, whose term as WFP’s Executive Director expires in April.

“Leading WFP is a great honour and a critical link to the world’s most vulnerable,” said Ms. Sheeran following the announcement of the new appointment.

“I offer every support to Ertharin Cousin and wish her the greatest success at this critical time for the world’s most vulnerable nations and people,” said Ms. Sheeran.

Leading WFP is a great honour and a critical link to the world’s most vulnerable. 

The appointment of Ms. Cousin was announced today by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Ms. Cousin, who has over 25 years of national and international corporate, non-profit and government leadership experience, is currently the US Representative to the UN agencies that have food and agriculture mandates – FAO and WFP – and are based in the Italian capital.

The President of WFP’s Executive Board, Jim Harvey, also congratulated Ms. Cousin on her appointment. “We have known and appreciated her as a colleague in Rome and we now look forward to working with her in her new role,” he said.

“We also congratulate the current Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, on her new appointment at the World Economic Forum that will allow her to build on her many accomplishments at WFP,” Mr. Harvey added.

Ms. Sheeran will become Vice Chairman of the World Economic Forum in April.

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WFP Welcomes Appointment Of New Executive Director 


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed the appointment of Ertharin Cousin as its new Executive Director, following confirmation by the office of the UN Secretary General that she would assume the post at the head of the world’s largest humanitarian agency later this year.

17 January 2012, ROME — “Leading WFP is a great honour and a critical link to the world’s most vulnerable. I offer every support to Ertharin Cousin and wish her the greatest success at this critical time for the world’s most vulnerable nations and people,” said WFP’s current Executive Director, Josette Sheeran.

Cousin is currently the United States Representative to the United Nations agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, Italy.

“On behalf of the WFP Executive Board I wish to congratulate Ertharin Cousin on her appointment as next Executive Director. We have known and appreciated her as a colleague in Rome and we now look forward to working with her in her new role,” said Ambassador Jim Harvey, President of WFP’s Executive Board. “We also congratulate the current Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, on her new appointment at the World Economic Forum that will allow her to build on her many accomplishments at WFP. Both Josette and Ertharin are outstanding champions in the fight against world hunger”.

Cousin is expected to assume her new role as Executive Director of WFP when Sheeran’s term ends in April. Earlier this month, Sheeran announced that she will move to the World Economic Forum in Geneva where she will be the new Vice Chairman at the world’s leading platform for engaging corporate and government leaders in solutions to global social, economic and humanitarian challenges.

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About United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

Fighting hunger worldwide

Medicinezine.com United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Logo

The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.

“In emergencies, we get food to where it is needed, saving the lives of victims of war, civil conflict and natural disasters. After the cause of an emergency has passed, we use food to help communities rebuild their shattered lives.”

WFP is part of the United Nations system and is voluntarily funded.

Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. We work towards that vision with our sister UN agencies in Rome — the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) — as well as other government, UN and NGO partners.

In 2011 we aim to reach more than 90 million people with food assistance in more than 70 countries. Around 10,000 people work for the organization, most of them in remote areas, directly serving the hungry poor.

WFP’s five objectives:

  1. Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies
  2. Prepare for emergencies
  3. Restore and rebuild lives after emergencies
  4. Reduce chronic hunger and undernutrition everywhere
  5. Strengthen the capacity of countries to reduce hunger

WFP’s Mission statement

WFP is the food aid arm of the United Nations system. Food aid is one of the many instruments that can help to promote food security, which is defined as access of all people at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. ¹ The policies governing the use of World Food Programme food aid must be oriented towards the objective of eradicating hunger and poverty. The ultimate objective of food aid should be the elimination of the need for food aid.

Targeted interventions are needed to help to improve the lives of the poorest people – people who, either permanently or during crisis periods, are unable to produce enough food or do not have the resources to otherwise obtain the food that they and their households require for active and healthy lives.

Consistent with its mandate, which also reflects the principle of universality, WFP will continue to:

  • use food aid to support economic and social development;
  • meet refugee and other emergency food needs, and the associated logistics support; and
  • promote world food security in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations and FAO.

The core policies and strategies that govern WFP activities are to provide food aid:

  • to save lives in refugee and other emergency situations;
  • to improve the nutrition and quality of life of the most vulnerable people at critical times in their lives; and
  • to help build assets and promote the self-reliance of poor people and communities, particularly through labour-intensive works programmes.

Share food, change lives

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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