Newly-appointed United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Representative and Country Director Brenda Barton has reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to supporting government programs to enhance food security and nutrition and attain zero hunger in the Philippines.
Barton relayed this message during her courtesy call to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. shortly after she presented her letter of credentials at the DFA office in Pasay City on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
During their talks, Barton and Locsin discussed WFP’s work in the Philippines, which began in 1968, but was formally re-established in 2006 following the Philippine government’s request to WFP to support the ongoing peace process in Mindanao at that time.
“My pleasure and honor to meet @teddyboylocsin and to work in close partnership to achieve Zero Hunger in Philippines,” the new WFP representative to the Philippines said on her Twitter account.
In 2020, President Duterte signed Executive Order 101 creating an Inter-Agency Task Force assigned to put an end to hunger in the country by 2030, in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal #2: Zero Hunger.
Along with other UN agencies such as the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and World Health Organization (WHO), WFP had been selected by the Philippine government to support the Zero Hunger Task Force in developing the National Food Policy and achieve the goals of the Task Force.
Currently, the WFP, together with other foreign governments and institutions, coordinates the distribution of assistance to those affected by the series of typhoons that struck the country, most particularly Typhoons Rolly (international name Goni) and Ulysses (Vamco) in the Bicol region, and Typhoon Auring in Surigao del Sur.
Prior to her assignment to Manila, Barton led the WFP Sri Lanka Country Office since October 2016.
The 30-year veteran of the WFP brings extensive experience in the field of food security, nutrition and food systems with a background in communications, partnership and resource mobilization.
She also served as WFP’s Global Deputy Director of Communications, Public Policy and Private Sector Division at its Rome Headquarters.