ROME – The head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, begins today a five-day visit to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Nicaragua to reinforce WFP’s partnerships with governments and communities in their quest to improve food security and nutrition.
In the Dominican Republic, Cousin will meet President-elect Danilo Medina and will visit a local health care centre to see the impact of a programme that uses micronutrient powder added to food to prevent under-nutrition in children aged 6-59 months.
The Executive Director will then travel to Haiti to meet with high-level representatives of the Haitian government and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Mariano Fernandez Amunátegui. On 12 June, Cousin will visit a dairy which is providing milk for WFP’s School Meals programme. WFP has increased the purchase and use of local products for school meals in Haiti, providing access to markets for local farmers. Cousin will also visit schools and a health centre providing nutritional support to women and children who lost their homes in the earthquake of January 2010. Her visit to Haiti, which coincides with the start of the hurricane season, provides an opportunity to reinforce WFP’s commitment to emergency preparedness, lifesaving response, and immediate post-shock recovery.
A press conference is planned in Port-au-Prince on 13 June, prior to Cousin’s departure to Nicaragua. On 14 June, she will travel to the mountainous Matagalpa department of Nicaragua, where she will meet women participants in a European-Union funded programme which helps them grow food in home gardens to improve food security and nutrition and generate income. Cousin will also visit a school serving hot meals to children with food donated by Brazil and Australia.
The following day, Cousin will meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Samuel Santos, and Vice-Minister and Secretary of International Cooperation, Valdrack Ludwig Jaentschke Whitaker, as well as diplomats in Nicaragua.
The Executive Director will depart Nicaragua on 16 June, travelling to Brazil to participate in Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the following week.
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Alejandro Chicheri, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Mob. +507 66715355 (in Haiti +509 37012336)
Elio Rujano, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Mob. +507 6677 0608
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Caroline Hurford, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112
Rene McGuffin, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1 202 6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1 202 4223383