ROME — The executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, announces that he will step down at the end of a six-year term at the head of the largest world humanitarian organization.
David Beasley, a Republican, served one term as governor of South Carolina from 1995 to 1999. In a statement Saturday, Beasley said he would step down when his term ends in April 2023.
“Serving in this capacity has been the greatest joy and deepest sorrow of my life,” Beasley said. “Thanks to the generosity of governments and individuals, we have fed so many millions of people. But the reality is that we haven’t been able to feed them all – and the tragedy of extreme hunger in a rich world persists.
Beasley was nominated for the UN post in 2017 by then US President Donald Trump and was recommended for the job by Nikki Haley, another former South Carolina governor. Haley also served as US Ambassador to the UN during the Trump administration. Beasley succeeded Ertharin Cousin, an American lawyer and former US Ambassador.
The World Food Program won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for fighting hunger and seeking to end its use as a ‘weapon of war and conflict’ at a time when the coronavirus pandemic threatened to exacerbate famine .
In March 2022, Beasley’s term was extended under the Biden administration for an additional year. In September, he said that when he took office in 2017, only 80 million people worldwide were heading towards starvation. But climate problems, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine pushed that number to 135 million.
The Rome-based World Food Program was established in 1961 at the request of US President Dwight Eisenhower and has provided aid to multiple crises, including the 1984 Ethiopian famine, the 2004 Asian tsunami and the Haiti earthquake. of 2010.
Beasley said the process of selecting his successor has already begun.