WFP Consults Experts on Humanitarian Delivery Systems in Crisis Zones

Published on 18 May 2010

ROME – In an innovative effort to ensure food can more effectively and safely reach the hungriest people in natural disasters or volatile environments such as Haiti, Afghanistan and Somalia, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is today consulting experts from business, humanitarian and military sectors to tap leading-edge knowledge and technology on supply chain controls and risk management.

“Every day we face severe dangers and obstacles as we seek to ensure food reaches the hungry safely and effectively,” said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran.  “I want to tap the best minds in the world - including from businesses - to ensure maximum supply chain security and controls in volatile and destructed environments. We will examine the most technologically advanced methods of tracking and delivering food and seek to implement these approaches in our high risk operations.”

 "My goal is to make the World Food Programme - which provides a lifeline for about 100 million people a year - a centre of best practices on risk management and controls. We must ensure that every risk mitigation method possible is deployed in reaching non-combatants trapped in wars and victims of natural disasters."

Among those participating in the day-long meeting at WFP’s headquarters in Rome, are global logistics experts from private sector leaders such as Walmart and TNT, humanitarian specialists including the UN’s former Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, and senior military supply chain experts.

WFP already deploys a sophisticated array of checks, balances and controls to ensure that food assistance is delivered to the hungry.  These include:

    Detailed assessments to determine beneficiary numbers and locations;

    Strict contracting guidelines to ensure that the most trustworthy and reliable transport companies are identified;

    Commodity tracking systems to trace food from donation to distribution;

    Audits designed to constantly review humanitarian operations.

“WFP doesn’t choose where it wants to work, it is driven by the principle of trying to reach the hungry wherever they are found,” Sheeran said. “This means we cannot avoid taking risks, but we can try to manage them.”


For further information:
Caroline Hurford, WFP/London, Tel. +44 207 2409001, Mob.  +44 796 8008474
Ralf Suedhoff, WFP/Berlin, Tel. +49 302 0614912, Mob.  +49 160 94912547
Tamara Kummer, WFP/Paris, Tel. +33 145 684925, Mob.  +33 675 179660