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The World Food Programme (WFP) is governed by the WFP Executive Board, which consists of 36 Member States and provides intergovernmental support, direction and supervision of WFP’s activities.

The organization is headed by an Executive Director, who is appointed jointly by the UN Secretary-General and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization. The Executive Director is appointed for fixed five-year terms and is responsible for the administration of the organization as well as the implementation of its programmes, projects and other activities. Since 2012, the post has been held by Ertharin Cousin.

WFP also has one Deputy Executive Director and three Assistant Executive Directors with specific briefs.

The organization's direction is mapped out in its Strategic Plan, which is renewed every four years. The 2017–2021 Strategic Plan aligns WFP with the 2030 Agenda, focusing on ending hunger and contributing to revitalized global partnerships to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.

WFP relies entirely on voluntary contributions for its funding. Its principal donors are governments, but the organization also receive donations from the private sector and individuals. 

Executive Board

WFP's governing body providing intergovernmental support, direction and supervision of activities

Executive Director

Biography of Ertharin Cousin

Senior leadership

  • Ertharin Cousin - Executive Director

    Ertharin Cousin began her tenure as the twelfth Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme on 5 April 2012. Ms Cousin brings more than twenty-five years of national and international non-profit, government, and corporate leadership experience focusing on hunger, food, and resilience strategies. Cousin guides the World Food Programme in meeting urgent food needs while championing longer-term solutions to food insecurity and hunger.

  • Amir Mahmoud Abdulla - Deputy Executive Director

    Amir Mahmoud Abdulla became the Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme in March 2009. Since February 2015, Mr Abdulla has been based in New York, in order to coordinate and enhance WFP’s engagement with the United Nations system, Member States and key stakeholders. In addition to his WFP responsibilities, he was appointed Vice-Chair of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) in January 2016

  • Ramiro Armando De Oliveira Lopes Da Silva - Assistant Executive Director

    Ramiro Armando de Oliveira Lopes da Silva is Assistant Executive Director of the World Food Programme. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Lopes da Silva served as WFP’s Director of Emergencies and Deputy Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Lopes da Silva began his career with the World Food Programme in 1985 as Food Aid Logistics Coordinator during the Great Horn of Africa and Sahel drought emergency. Since then, he has held senior management roles in operations in many countries, including Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Angola and Sudan.

  • Manoj Juneja - Assistant Executive Director

    Manoj Juneja became Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Executive Director for Resource Management at the World Food Programme in January 2013. Prior to joining WFP, from July 2011, he served as Deputy Director-General for Operations at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Mr Juneja joined FAO in 1987, where he held senior management roles as Director of Programme, Budget and Evaluation (2005-07) and Assistant Director-General of Corporate Services, Human Resources and Finance Department (2008-11).

  • Elisabeth Rasmusson - Assistant Executive Director

    Elisabeth Rasmusson became the World Food Programme’s Assistant Executive Director for the Partnership, Governance and Advocacy Department in April 2013. In this role, Ms Rasmusson oversees the organization’s partnership activities with governments, NGOs, the Rome-based UN agencies and the private sector, as well as our offices in Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dubai, London, Madrid, Paris, Seoul, Tokyo and Washington.

  • James Harvey - Chief of Staff

    James Harvey was appointed Chief of Staff of the World Food Programme in June 2012. The post was upgraded to Assistant Secretary General in June 2015. He has nearly four decades of experience as an agricultural scientist, programme manager, senior manager and senior adviser. Prior to joining WFP Jim was the United Kingdom Ambassador to the UN food and agriculture agencies in Rome (June 2007 to June 2012). In this role he was UK Governor of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and WFP Executive Board member.