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Cindy McCain to head UN World Food Programme

McCain to succeed outgoing WFP director David Beasley.

Cindy McCain, currently the US ambassador and permanent representative to the UN Agencies in Rome, was appointed as executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday.

McCain, 68, will succeed the outgoing WFP executive director David Beasley once his term ends on 4 April, after six years at the helm of the Rome-based organisation.

In a tweet, Beasley hailed McCain's "extraordinary experience and leadership" which he said "will be critical as conflicts, climate shocks and hunger soar."

Her appointment was welcomed by the president of the WFP executive board, Artur Andrzej Pollok, ambassador and permanent representative of Poland, who said: “McCain takes over as head of the World Food Programme at a moment when the world confronts the most serious food security crisis in modern history and this leadership role has never been more important."

"I am ready to roll up my sleeves and spend time both in Rome and in the field" - McCain said - "deepening my understanding of WFP’s vital work, and making sure it continues to grow to meet the needs of a hungry world."

The diplomat, widow of the former American senator John McCain who died in 2018, is a long-time ally of US president Joe Biden.

WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation in the world that provides food assistance to people recovering from conflicts and disasters, as well as those suffering the impacts of climate change.

The recipient of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger, WFP is one of a trio of UN agencies based in Rome along with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

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