The new WFP Representative and Country Director for Sri Lanka, Brenda Barton, officially presented her credentials to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera.
“I am very pleased to have assumed my position in Sri Lanka at a time when the country is taking positive steps to tackle the adverse effects of civil war and climate change, as seen by this year’s floods and drought,” said Barton. “The government is showing strong leadership and together with other partners, there is real potential to achieve Zero Hunger in Sri Lanka.”
She added that a National Hunger Strategic Review is underway in the country, conducted by South Asia Policy and Research Institute (SAPRI) under the leadership of Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumartunga. This will be pivotal in defining the landscape for new, innovative food and nutrition approaches, aligned with the Government’s national plans, the roll out of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the next cycle of the UN Sustainable Development Agreement Framework.
Barton has worked for WFP for 25 years. Before assuming her post in Sri Lanka, she was Deputy Regional Director for WFP in Southern Africa for 5 years, most recently overseeing WFP’s emergency preparedness and response to the current El Nino humanitarian crisis, with almost 15 million people in 7 countries requiring emergency food assistance. She also actively supported programmes related to nutrition, resilience building and linking smallholder farmers to markets in 11 countries in the region, many of them middle income countries facing similar developmental challenges to those of Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka, WFP supports the Government to implement programmes to improve food and nutrition security, emergency preparedness and response and empowerment of vulnerable communities to be resistant to climate shocks for resilient livelihoods. In 2016-2017, WFP aims to support more than 270,000 Sri Lankans in chronic food and nutrition insecure areas.
“Food and nutrition security for all Sri Lankans by 2030 is truly attainable, and I look forward to working with government and other key partners to achieve this important goal,” said Barton. (Colombo Gazette)