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Davos 09 was an opportunity for WFP to make sure leaders keep hunger on the agenda as they discuss the global financial crisis. To see the key hunger-related news and views that emerged during the meeting, look back over the reports filed by our team during the event.


...And We Built The Tent

One of the things that TNT has done for WFP recently is build the organization's tent at Davos, where world leaders are discussing solutions to hunger. Peter Bakker, CEO of the Dutch courier company, explains how the corporate partnership with WFP works, through logistics support for emergency operations,  cash contributions and employee mobilization. 

 

TNT has made a longstanding commitment to helping WFP to fight hunger. Our partnership has been going on for six years. Since 2002, TNT has contributed more than 52 million euros to WFP in 'in-kind' and cash contributions, including more than 10 million euros raised directly by TNT's employees in support of school feeding in countries like Cambodia, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Malawi and The Gambia.  TNT also provides warehouses, aircraft and vehicles to support our emergency operations. It trains logistics staff around the world, and sponsors the annual "Walk the World" fundraising event.

 

 

Authored by Emilia Casella on 30 January 2009

Why Peter Gabriel Keeps Coming to Davos

There are two things about the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos that inspire musician Peter Gabriel: the ideas and the opportunities to make the world better. 

 

Former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel is co-founder of  two important non-governmental organizations. In 1992 he started WITNESS, which trains local groups worldwide to use video and the Internet in human rights advocacy work. Also in the 1990s, he co-founded "The Elders", with entrepreneur Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela. The Elders is dedicated to solving global conflicts and includes members such as former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others.

 

Authored by Emilia Casella on 30 January 2009

"Americans want to fight global hunger"

US Congresswoman Nita Lowey is confident that, despite the pain caused by the financial crisis in the United States, Americans will be ready to step up to the plate in order to help fight hunger in the world. 

Congresswoman Lowey, a Democrat representing New York, spoke to WFP at Davos following a dinner hosted by WFP and its corporate partner TNT. The dinner was a forum for dozens of CEOs, politicians and leaders from civil society to discuss new ways to tackle hunger and malnutrition. Lowey is Chair of the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Foreign Operations. 

Authored on 30 January 2009

A make-or-break year ahead

In the Congress Hall, on the streets (where snow is piled three and four feet high) and in our tent – talk of hunger brings forward an odd mix of pessimism and resolve.  The sense is that the economic downturn will be worse even than the forecasts – yet there is an eagerness to prevent hunger falling away as an issue. It's almost a fear.

The message that gets the most resonance is that hunger can mean civil unrest – that it is not just a humanitarian issue but one of national security.   Heads were nodding last night when Josette and Kofi independently made that point. 

Valerie Jarrett – special adviser to the new US president – told a group of about 100 gathered in the tent last night that President Obama (“It still feels good to say that," she quipped) is committed to the work of WFP.   

A handful of business leaders from Fortune 500 companies said they expected giving from individuals to go up – even as broad corporate giving would be more difficult.  

Policy makers from Donor countries emphasized that 2009 would be a make or break year as governments decide where to place hunger on the long list of priorities. And that’s very much the sense I have here in Davos . . . 

 
Authored on 30 January 2009

Davos: Day 2 Round-Up

A day in Davos is more than the sum of its 24 hours.  You can have more high-powered meetings and churn through more policy discussions than could normally be accomplished in a week.

For us at WFP, the day started with a visit by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to our tent, where he led a session on water. He also stressed to journalists that the food crisis is certainly not over.

Then there was the “Nutrition Breakfast”. CEOs of several global food companies came to the WFP Tent for a brainstorming session aimed at finding new solutions to malnutrition around the world. 

Josette Sheeran crammed in a bunch of interviews between her meetings. At 8 am, she did one with Reuters Television, for their Davos Today programme. She did a live with CNN’s Charles Hodson at noon. After that, there was another live with the BBC World Service.

A lot of useful talking at Davos happens at the Congress Centre, the nerve-centre of the World Economic Forum. In a short space of time conversations were had with Carl Bildt, the Swedish Foreign Minister;  Arianna Huffington, Editor of the Huffington Post; Ann Venemen, Executive Director of UNICEF; and Simon Maxwell, the highly-respected Director of the Overseas Development Institute. 

The afternoon was a succession of meetings, while staff prepared for the evening’s main event: a dinner for more than 60 political and business leaders hosted by Ms. Sheeran and Peter Bakker, CEO of our Dutch donor TNT. 

The dinner was to honor King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as “Champion in the Battle Against Hunger” for 2008. Among the items on the menu: a taste of CSB, a high-nutrient blend of corn and soya that is a major component of WFP’s supplementary feeding programmes for malnourished children. 

 
Authored by Emilia Casella on 30 January 2009

WFP's Mission at Davos

Hear it in the words of WFP's Executive Director, Josette Sheeran.

Today, there are nearly 1 billion hungry people in the world.  If people in the industrialized world are hurting, imagine the ‘bottom billion’. Last year they were hit by a global rise in the price of food, and now a global economic crisis has made them even more vulnerable. They don’t have the finances or coping mechanisms to protect themselves from this latest shock.

If leaders commit just a fraction of what they're spending on bank bailouts to programs that support small farmers, educate mothers or feed school children, we can make a lasting impact on people’s lives, and maybe even reach the Millenium Development Goal number 1: to halve world hunger by 2015.

WFP was invited to Davos to take part in discussions on hunger and malnutrition, poverty, climate change and other key issues. Among her other commitments, WFP’s Executive Director Josette Sheeran on Friday chaired a session on Fresh Solutions for Food Security.

WFP sees Davos as a unique opportunity to re-focus attention on how the world's poorest and hungriest people are being affected by the global financial downturn. Part of WFP’s job is to keep global hunger on the world agenda – so that together we can find ways to solve it.

Authored on 29 January 2009

A project born at breakfast

This morning Executive Director Josette Sheeran, myself and others from WFP joined 11 CEOs of food companies including General Mills, Kraft, Unilever, and PepsiCo, to brainstorm about solutions to hunger. 

We had a one-hour conversation that ranged from turning indigenous foods like Cassava into something delicious, to developing packaging that you can eat  (I was the only one brave enough to take a bite of an allegedly edible tray still under development – and I must say that it needed salt or something).  But you get the idea – the conversation was far ranging and spiked with enthusiasm.  

Fortune 500 Companies want to help us to reach the bottom billion faster and smarter.  We walked away with the skeleton of an idea for project I dubbed  Project Laser Beam – a developing plan to focus this attention on a single country, yet to be chosen.  . . Stay tuned . . .  

Authored on 29 January 2009

"Open talk about solutions"

Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director of GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) spoke to WFP after Thursday's 'Nutrition Breakfast' talks with the organization's corporate partners from the food industry. Hear what he had to say about the talks going on in Davos.

 

Authored on 29 January 2009

Josette Sheeran and her Red Cup

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, who takes her Red Cup with her everywhere, naturally has it in Davos also. Hear her explain what the Red Cup means and how much it would cost to make sure that no child in the world goes to school hungry.

 

Authored on 29 January 2009

The WFP tent at Davos

What's inside WFP's tent at Davos? Find out from someone who's there: Nancy Roman, WFP's Director of Public Policy, Communications and Private Partnerships.

 

Authored on 29 January 2009

About Davos

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, often referred to simply as 'Davos' after the Swiss town where it is held, is attended by leaders from industry, government and civil society. It’s a forum where leaders can talk about the difficult challenges facing the world and discuss ways to address them.

 

Josette Sheeran: why WFP went to Davos

 

 

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