PARIS – The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, starts a two-day visit to Paris today. On her first official trip to France since becoming Executive Director last year, Cousin will meet with the Minister for Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll and Minister for Development Pascal Canfin. She will also meet Paul Jean Ortiz, Diplomatic Advisor to President François Hollande and other high-level officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to thank them for France’s unwavering efforts alongside WFP in the fight against hunger.
France actively supports WFP’s nutrition-based programmes and the emphasis on providing the right food at the right time. Cousin’s visit presents an opportunity to reinforce this collaboration and promote the inclusion of food and nutrition security as a pillar of the post-2015 global development agenda, a priority for the French government.
Cousin will encounter representatives from French civil society and the private sector to encourage partnerships to address hunger. France is home to 19 of WFP’s NGO partners, including organizations such as Action Contre la Faim and ACTED, with whom WFP works in hotspots such as Mali and Syria to deliver essential aid to those affected by ongoing conflict.
Cousin will meet with UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, on the joint WFP UNESCO-UNICEF initiative ‘Nourishing Bodies, Nourishing Minds’. She will also meet Abdou Diouf, Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and former President of Senegal. WFP is present in 34 OIF-member countries and has collaborated with OIF on the International Day of the Francophonie, which takes place each year on 20 March, and the French version of WFP’s online word game, Freerice (fr.freerice.com).
In addition, Cousin will visit the Malian singers Amadou & Mariam, WFP Ambassadors Against Hunger for the European Union, currently in France for their tour “Africa mon Afrique.” The duo were named WFP Ambassadors in November 2010 and have since visited WFP EU-funded operations in Haiti, the inspiration behind their song ‘Labendela’ dedicated to the fight against hunger.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
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Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel: +41 22 917 8564 Mob. +41 79 4734570
Rucha Naware, WFP/Paris, Tel. +33 (0)1 45684920, Mob. +33 (0)6 27772708