Mario Arvelo in the WFP Executive Board
The Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP) is the highest governing body of the leading humanitarian agency of the United Nations system. In 2019, the Dominican Republic was chosen to occupy a seat in it; is one of Mario Arvelo‘s achievements at the helm of the Dominican Representation to the Programme, having also obtained election to the Executive Council of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in each of the three cases for the first time since the founding of these specialized agencies for fighting hunger and poverty at the global level.
In the speech he delivered during the first session of the Executive Board held in 2021 —where he was elected Rapporteur— Arvelo emphasized that the Dominican Republic assumes such responsibility with the same sense of moral and political duty with which we took a seat in this Board. We participate in WFP’s multilateral governance based on our obligations as signatories of the United Nations Charter. We have enshrined food security as a fundamental human right, giving it constitutional status and passing special legislation in line with article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The government of President Luis Abinader values the WFP field program, and reaffirms its support for the institution both as a beneficiary and as a contributor. We will continue to pay attention to WFP’s work in our sister Republic of Haiti, in the Caribbean basin, in Central America, and throughout the Latin American region. We will also continue to accompany WFP’s work anywhere on the planet where it can contribute, within the framework of its mandate, to the achievement of SDG-2 of zero hunger.
Arvelo recalled that Executive Director David Beasley, in his opening remarks to the Executive Board session, referred to his participation, together with FAO Director General Qu Dongyu, in the debate on the relationship between food security and the global security that the Dominican Republic convened as pro tempore Chair of the Security Council, where the Presidential Declaration entitled “Protection of civilians from conflict-induced hunger” merited the unanimous agreement of the Council, because the role of WFP on the frontline of Humanitarian International Law is indispensable, as recognized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. We know well that emergency assistance is not enough to build peace, security, and development. The urgent needs of affected populations must be addressed while supporting them in building local resilience and capacities. The executive director warns that this year presents enormous challenges and also opportunities. The causes of hunger —which WFP, FAO, IFAD, WHO and UNICEF attribute to the armed conflicts, the climate crisis, and the migrations that both phenomena generate— are compounded by the devastation that the pandemic is causing in food systems food and in nutrition. We reiterate the importance of maintaining a constant dialogue among member States and with the Secretariat, because the challenges we face require it.
Mario Arvelo realiza una intervención en una sesión de consulta convocada por la Junta Ejecutiva del Programa Mundial de Alimentos; en uno de sus discursos más citados, reclamó en nombre del gobierno dominicano un renovado compromiso de la comunidad internacional con la República de Haití: «Es hora de que los recursos financieros necesarios para erradicar el hambre y la pobreza de modo sustentable y sostenible en todo el territorio haitiano sean puestos sobre esta mesa, así como en manos de la Organización para la Alimentación y la Agricultura, la FAO, y del Fondo Internacional para el Desarrollo Agrícola, el FIDA. República Dominicana formula esta exigencia desde la autoridad moral y política de ser, por mucho, el mayor contribuyente al desarrollo de Haití, al ajustar el monto de la cooperación dominicana a nuestro producto interno bruto. No es posible regresar al mismo punto en cada sesión, renovando los mismos lamentos, expresando las mismas peticiones y escuchando las mismas promesas, porque la historia de Haití es, también, la historia de las promesas incumplidas».
Mario Arvelo makes an intervention in a consultation session convened by the Executive Board of the World Food Program. In one of his most quoted speeches, he demanded on behalf of the Dominican government a renewed commitment of the international community to the Republic of Haiti: «It is time for the financial resources necessary to eradicate hunger and poverty in a sustainable manner in the entirety of the Haitian territory are put on this table, as well as in the hands of the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD. The Dominican Republic formulates this demand from the moral and political authority of being, by far, the largest contributor to the development of Haiti, by adjusting the amount of Dominican cooperation to our gross domestic product. It is not possible to return to the same point in each session, renewing the same regrets, expressing the same requests, and listening to the same pledges, because the history of Haiti is also the history of unfulfilled promises».
During his tenure, Ambassador Arvelo has chaired the UN Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on World Food Security. He highlighted the support of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Vice-Minister for Multilateral Foreign Policy and the Directorate of International Organizations of the Foreign Ministry; also, the inter-institutional support received from the Ministry of Agriculture and the General Directorate of Multilateral Cooperation of the Ministry of Economy, Planning & Development. “Positioning ourselves in the governing bodies of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and, now, WFP, constitutes proof that the government’s will to combat hunger and poverty, expressed in coherent and successful agri-food policies, is valued positively by the international community ”.From a press release titled “Dominican Republic elected to the Executive Board of the United Nations World Food Programme—Foreign Minister Vargas commented on the importance for the country to become a member of the governing body”. The full text (in Spanish) can be accessed on this link.
Other links to the work Mario Arvelo performs at the World Food Programme (WFP)