The World Food Programme (WFP) works to bring closer a world without hunger. For more than 50 years, we have been providing food assistance in some of the planet’s most remote and insecure corners. Today, we are active in half of the world’s countries – a partner of choice in the humanitarian response and also, increasingly, in the effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

As crises deepen and multiply, we strive to protect the development gains secured to date. At any given time, vast numbers of our people, food items, and services are on the move. We work with governments and NGOs, with suppliers and with local communities. We engage the private sector and smallholder farmers. We invest in local economies, markets and the private sector.

For both its emergency assistance and its resilience-building projects, WFP turns first to local companies and national first responders. Each year, more than US$2 billion of our supply chain costs is spent in the countries where we operate. By contracting local businesses and working with NGOs and other actors, we contribute to more sustainable agricultural systems, more dynamic retail sectors, more robust transport networks.

Our supply chain expertise and the size of our demand for food, goods and services translate into higher purchasing power of those we serve. With more efficient transport and sharper bulk-buying strategies, our contracted retailers can cut their costs and provide cheaper food for our beneficiaries. In the medium term, by aggregating demand, combining in-kind food and cash assistance, and expanding the use of data analysis through electronic point-of-sale (POS) terminals, we aim to secure a ten percent saving for all users of WFP-contracted shops. Such efforts allow us to make the most of donor resources and professionalize commercial markets, boosting economic growth.

Through it all, we remain part of the greater United Nations and humanitarian family. WFP has a responsibility to offer shared services that enable our partners to reach those in need  – safe and reliable transport for aid workers through UNHAS, the UN's only mandated humanitarian air service; global hubs that store and dispatch pre-positioned relief supplies through the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD); or the ability to coordinate operations through inter-agency mechanisms such as the Logistics Cluster.

During the Ebola virus outbreak, we worked to aggregate the needs of all first responders by establishing a Logistics Cluster-managed Staging Area in Cologne, Germany. Through this Staging Area, we offered air transport of crucial medical supplies and relief items for UN agencies, NGOs and other actors involved in the response. With private sector support, we organized ten inter-agency chartered flights of relief cargo for 40 aid organizations, saving both time and money for our partners.

While perfecting the tools of emergency response, we continue to close the gap between the humanitarian and development contexts. Together with governments and other partners, we seek sustainable solutions to the underlying causes of crises; we invest in more viable markets; and we promote stronger commercial sectors.