President Joe Biden is working to promote Cindy McCain, the U.S. ambassador to United Nations agencies for food and agriculture, to lead the U.N.'s World Food Programme, sources informed Devex earlier this month.
McCain, the widow of longtime Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, is slated to face off against onetime U.S. official David Lane, who served as ambassador to the U.N. food agencies under former President Barack Obama.
"I think Cindy deserves a promotion," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said to Axios about the news of McCain's consideration. "I think she's doing a great job."
It comes as WFP Executive Director David Beasley is scheduled to conclude his six-year term in April 2023. Over the Republican appointee's tenure, Beasley has tried to convince U.S. lawmakers that funding the agency saves money long-term.
"I think the crisis that we're facing today has been a wake-up call to many of the leaders," Beasley told Agri-Pulse in an interview, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has threatened grain supply chains worldwide.
"If we are, in fact, strategic and effective, it will save taxpayers' dollars," he added, pointing out that "if we're not there strategically, you end up with mass migration, destabilization of nations and famine. And that's a thousand times more expensive."
Although the U.N. secretary-general technically decides who leads the WFP, the U.S.'s role in funding and sustaining the organization has led it to de facto control who receives the top spot.
Under Beasley, funding for the WFP grew to $10.6 billion in 2022 from $5.6 billion in 2016, with U.S. contributions tripling to $5.9 billion this year.
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