Former DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma to spearhead private sector collaboration in new role as WFP Champion

ROME – The World Food Program of the United Nations (WFP) has appointed former Royal DSM CEO, Feike Sijbesma is its first ever Champion. 

Sijbesma has had a long and illustrious career which culminated in him heading Dutch multinational nutritional and health company Royal DSM as Chairman and CEO, a position he held for 13 years. 

The career business executive transitioned to the role of Honorary Chairman of Royal DSM in early 2020 and also serves as the Special Corona Envoy for The Netherlands.  

He sits on a variety of Supervisory Boards, like Royal Philips, Unilever, and the Dutch Central Bank (DNB). He is co-chair, together with Ban Ki-Moon, of the Global Center on Adaptation.  

Additionally, he is one of the Climate Leaders of the World Bank, focusing on carbon pricing (CPLC). He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum and is co-chairing the Climate CEO Climate Leaders group. 

With such a wealth of experience and strategic private sector connections, Sijbsema is a natural fit for his new position as the WFP where he will be tasked with deepening ties with the private sector.  

“One thing we have learnt at WFP is that, if you want to end hunger and achieve a better, fairer world, you can only do it with the help of private sector through innovative partnership,” said Valarie Guarnier, WFP Assistant Executive Director. 

In a statement WFP noted that Feike will leverage his passion and expertise for purpose-driven business, encouraging companies to embrace the SDGs.  

“Together with WFP, Feike will continue to promote the idea that a fairer future for people and the planet is essential for businesses everywhere to thrive,” WFP said in a LinkedIn post. 

In his acceptance speech, Sijbsema invited companies to use their competencies, strengths, and specific scientific knowledge to help the WFP to be more effective in its goal to help all people around the world. 

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Cash strapped: WFP finances dwindle as Ethiopian crisis worsens 

Meanwhile, the WFP has revealed that across Ethiopia, over 13.6 million people are estimated to be food insecure due to the prolonged combined effects of drought, flooding, desert locust invasions, market disruptions, high food prices, and the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The situation has only been made worse by the recent conflict spreading across northern parts of the country.   

WFP said it needs the extra US$426 million to expand its emergency food assistance response over the next six months. 

 The funds would also provide long-term food security solutions for people as they enter the yearly ‘hunger season’.   

“Time is running out for millions across Northern Ethiopia and if we don’t get additional funding right away we will be forced to cut rations or, even worse, halt distributions,” said Mr. Michael Dunford, WFP’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa. 

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