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Spanish Foreign Minister Sees How WFP Logistics Hub in Las Palmas Helps Swifter Emergency Response

LAS PALMAS –The Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso Dastis, visited the logistics base of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Las Palmas of Gran Canaria this morning. The logistics base, located in the port of Las Palmas, is a key hub for responding to humanitarian needs in West Africa.

During the visit, Minister Dastis toured the 9,000 square metre warehouse used for storing emergency food stocks and commended the innovative manner in which WFP manages resources to increase efficiency. 

“I want to express my admiration and support for this logistic base, which is an example of the excellence of Spain's relationship with WFP, one of the most important programs of the United Nations,” said Minister Dastis. “We cannot feel but very proud of the fact that humanitarian emergencies get to be responded to from Spain, and how this contributes, among other things, to the Zero Hunger goal of the 2030 Agenda.”

The WFP logistics base in Las Palmas operates within WFP’s Global Commodity Management Facility (GCMF), which anticipates the demand for food in countries prone to humanitarian emergencies, and allows the purchase of food when market prices are more favourable. As a result, food is readily available when needed and donated funds can buy larger quantities of food in the international markets. The GCMF mechanism, in place since 2010, has reduced from 120 to 38 the number of days to deliver food.

In 2017 Las Palmas base served over 36,000 mt of food, a third of which were directed to populations affected by large-scale emergency and displacement caused by conflict in North East Nigeria. Basic staples such as rice, beans, vegetable oil or sorghum arrive in bulk to Las Palmas in large vessels for which most West Africa ports lack capacity. Using Las Palmas port facilities and silos, WFP packs food in bags and stores them, ready to be shipped in smaller vessels when needed.

WFP Las Palmas also manages stocks of specialized products to prevent and treat malnutrition, particularly targeted to children under five and pregnant and nursing mothers.

The Las Palmas logistics base has proven to be critical to WFP’s response to humanitarian emergencies in West Africa. Thanks to the base, WFP was able to provide timely food to vulnerable populations in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region last year, and provide key assistance to tackle the ebola epidemic, among other humanitarian operations in the region.  

“We are proud of how much the Las Palmas base contributes to WFP’s operations, providing an invaluable service to vulnerable populations across West Africa and beyond, as we make use of the state-of-the-art facilities of the Port of Las Palmas,” said the Manager of the WFP logistics base, Pablo Yuste, who guided the visit. “WFP is pleased to rely on Spain as a partner in our continued efforts to increase the efficiency of our humanitarian work”. 

During the tour of the facilities Minister Dastis was accompanied by the President of the Government of Canarias, Fernando Clavijo, and the Spanish Government Delegate to Canarias, Mercedes Roldos. The visit took place in the framework of the International Economic Forum organized by Casa Africa in Las Palmas and follows a meeting of Minister Dastis and WFP’s Executive Director, David Beasley, in Madrid last month.

WFP presence in Spain also includes an Office in Madrid that is responsible for Government Relations, Private Sector Partnerships and Communications.  The WFP Logistics Base in Las Palmas started operations in 2012 thanks to the support of the Spanish Cooperation. The Humanitarian Office of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) funds the operations of WFP Las Palmas and the base facilities have been ceded to WFP by the Las Palmas Port Authority and the Cabildo of Gran Canaria.

 

The United Nations World Food Programme - saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

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Contact

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Lucía Fernández, WFP/Madrid, Tel. +34 913 475 054, Cell. +34 672 068 169