18th May 2023, Suva— The World Food Program of the United Nations has been lauded for its key role during the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway assistance through the global border closures caused the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pacific Islands Forum Acting Director of Policy Joel Nilon recalled the role of the WFP in a special 60th anniversary function at the Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva, attended by the WFP Regional Director John Aylieff, senior UN and regional development officials, and partners.
Commending the role of the WFP working with member governments and airlines across the region during the global pandemic, Nilon recalled the uncertainty and anxiety felt by many during the early months of 2020 as countries announced border closures.
“The Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19, the PHP-C, as it came to be known, provided the enabling political environment and commitment to expedite assistance and cooperation between member countries in preparing for and responding to COVID-19 — Forum Foreign Ministers wanted the PHP-C to enable the provision of medical and humanitarian assistance from regional and international partners, across the region, in a timely, safe, and equitable manner – but we knew we couldn’t do it alone,” he said.
Crediting the success of the Pathway initiative to key supporters including the World Food Programme, he said, “the vaccines, health, and humanitarian supplies that the Air Service delivered undoubtedly saved lives. The technical experts that you brought to the region assisted Forum Members in countless ways—you helped our region in the darkest of hours, and for that, we say a sincere vinaka vaka levu, fa’afetai, thank you.”
Noting new challenges for the Pacific, he said WFP would continue to be a vital partner bringing its global experience to the impact of global challenges in the region. –ForumNews
Acting Dir.Policy Joel Nilon, remarks in full