I am pleased to send greetings to the Executive Board of the World Food Programme. You meet at one of the most challenging times in memory for the WFP and all humanitarian actors. The crisis in Syria and the effects of the current El Niño are creating unprecedented demands.
Just a few days ago, Executive Director Ertharin Cousin and I visited communities in Ethiopia affected by severe drought linked to El Niño. I found suffering, but I also found hope. Thanks to the resilience built by WFP’s Productive Safety Net Programme, these communities are confident that they can rebound stronger when the next rains come.
As we embark on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring food security, improving nutrition and creating inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems will be essential. How we choose to grow, process, distribute and consume the food we eat will have a profound effect on people, planet, prosperity and peace.
A lasting end to hunger and undernutrition cannot be achieved in isolation. To achieve zero hunger we must deliver on all the Sustainable Development Goals. And we will have to make extra effort to reach the millions of people who are so often left behind, not least those affected by protracted crises. The World Humanitarian Summit, in Istanbul in May will discuss how we can help people better prepare for and respond to shocks, and become more resilient.
The entire United Nations system must work in synergy to support Governments and their people to implement the 2030 Agenda. I am encouraged that WFP is aligning its 2017-2021 Strategic Plan with the SDGs. WFP has consistently demonstrated how integrated approaches can deliver for people and planet. Through your Purchase for Progress and safety net programmes you have enhanced resilience, improved nutrition and health, and empowered small producers.
In 2012, I issued my Zero Hunger Challenge to end hunger within a generation. Since then, we have steadily accelerated advocacy, action and accountability to build a global movement to end hunger and malnutrition and to build truly sustainable agriculture and food systems. We must not yield until we can say that we are Generation Zero Hunger.
I thank you, and wish you a fruitful meeting.