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Pope Francis meets World Food Programme Head Cindy McCain - conversation focuses on hunger and peace

Copyright Foto © Vatican Media. Ms. Cindy McCain, Executive Director World Food Programme, audience with Pope Francis.
ROME – In a private audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis received the UN World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain to discuss the urgent need to tackle the food insecurity and humanitarian crises besetting the planet.

McCain thanked His Holiness for being a strong voice for the world’s hungry and his advocacy for the most vulnerable.  She emphasized the unique role the Holy See can play in advancing peace, to prevent conflict driving millions toward starvation each year, and that in a deeply polarized world, food can be a unifying force. 

McCain shared how dwindling resources are preventing WFP from saving lives, as WFP is forced to cut assistance in places like South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Jordan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Haiti, and many more.  

The Executive Director told His Holiness of the heartbreaking decisions WFP is forced to make daily because of insufficient funding, reallocating resources dedicated to feeding the hungry to save the starving. WFP estimates indicate that more than 345 million people are facing high levels of food insecurity in 2023 - an increase of almost 200 million since early 2020.  

The conversation also covered to the importance of finding solutions for our planet, with the Executive Director outlining WFP’s work in helping communities adopt new farming practices to mitigate the effects of climate change. 

The Pope’s longstanding concern for the hungry prompted a papal visit to WFP headquarters in 2016, where His Holiness offered his support and encouragement in efforts to achieve a Zero Hunger world. 


Photo Editors: Click here for photos of this visit. 


ED McCain DED Carl Skau,and Chief of Staff Meghan Latcovich and Pope Francis at the Vatican

WFP Deputy Executive Director Carl Skau and Chief of Staff Meghan Latcovich with Executive Director Cindy McCain after her audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. 

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. 


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Executive Director


For more information please contact (email address: 

Frances Kennedy, WFP/ Rome,
Mob. +39 3467600806  

Nina Valente, WFP/ London,
Mob. +44 (0)796 8008 474 

Martin Rentsch, WFP/Berlin,
Mob +49 160 99 26 17 30 

Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York,
Mob. + 1 929 289 9867 

Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington,
Mob.  +1 202 770 5993