UN Announces Appointment of Ertharin Cousin as World Food Programme Executive Director

January 17, 2012

The United Nations announced today the appointment of Ertharin Cousin as the new executive director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

Ambassador Cousin, currently the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture (FAO), is expected to assume this position in April when outgoing WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran moves to her new position as vice chair for the World Economic Forum.

"It has been an honor to support Ambassador Cousin’s work as U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, where she has been central to designing and implementing our country’s food security policies," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. "I am confident that she will continue to be a powerful voice in the global fight against hunger and lend her energy, optimism and experience to the World Food Programme."

"I am proud to join Secretary Clinton in supporting Ambassador Cousin as she takes on this important role," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. "Ambassador Cousin is building upon a strong legacy of leadership and accomplishment by the current executive director, Josette Sheeran, whom we congratulate as she prepares for her new role at the World Economic Forum."

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also congratulated Cousin. "We greatly appreciate Ambassador Cousin's support in fulfilling the United States' strategic objectives with FAO," Vilsack said. "We know she will bring the same level of dedication to her new role."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva made the announcement Tuesday.

"In partnership with the World Food Programme and other agencies, the United States will continue to advance global food security through Feed the Future, President Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative, which works to reduce poverty and undernutrition while recognizing the importance of food aid and other humanitarian assistance during crises to save lives and protect livelihoods," Shah said.