My name is Nerissa Cook and I am Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs. It is a pleasure to be back here in Rome to visit the World Food Program. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with WFP’s Executive Director Ertharin Cousin and her senior staff and we had a wide-ranging conversation about the food emergencies that they are helping to address around the world.
You may be aware that the World Food Program helps provide emergency food assistance to those who have been through man made emergencies as well as natural disasters; but the World Food Program also provides nutritional assistance to school children, they provide assistance to the elderly and to nursing mothers, and they also help those who are suffering the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS.
The United States is the largest donor to the World Food Program, and our commitment to the program is over 50 years old now - and is rooted in our dedication to humanitarian ideals. WFP and its cousin organizations the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the International Fund for Agricultural Development play a central role in the international community’s efforts to address food emergencies, to promote agriculture development and to create a world in which food security is a reality for all.