WFP Executive Director James T. Morris and UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman met in Panama City on 9 May 2006 with the heads of their Latin America and Caribbean country offices to intensify common efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the international community.
The focus of the inter-agency meeting was on combating child malnutrition and HIV/AIDS, preparing for the upcoming hurricane season and strengthening UN Reform initiatives across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Morris said that in a region where many countries are likely to achieve the MDG target of halving the proportion of children who are underweight for their age by the year 2015, “it is easy to forget that an even more insidious and invisible form of hunger – chronic malnutrition – is stunting the growth and undermining the development of nine million children, fully 16 percent of the region’s girls and boys under the age of five.”
Morris and Veneman met with the President of Panama, Martin Torrijos, and the Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Samuel Lewis Navarro, to thank the Panamanian Government for turning the City of Knowledge, an international campus located next to the Panama Canal, into regional UN hub. Four UN agencies have established their regional headquarters in Panama.