Madrid, 8 July 2014. The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations Ertharin Cousin and the ministers of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria, Public Works, Ana Pastor, Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García-Margallo, and the Secretary General for International Development Cooperation Gonzalo Robles, officially inaugurated today the Humanitarian Logistics Hub of the World Food Progamme (WFP) at the Port of Las Palmas.
The inauguration was attended by a wide group of African ambassadors in Spain.
The logistics hub, funded by Spain, seeks to provide immediate response to any humanitarian emergency, particularly those happening in Africa.
Prior to inaugurating the facilities, the authorities signed the Administrative Agreement linking the logistics hub at Las Palmas to the network of United Nations Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD).
The network, managed by the WFP, comprises another five hubs in Dubai, Italy, Ghana, Malaysia and Panama. With Las Palmas, the network will be able to assist populations affected by humanitarian crises anywhere in the world in a maximum of 48 hours.
SPANISH COOPERATION FOR AFRICA
In 2008 the Spanish Cooperation and the World Food Programme started negotiations to make Spain one of the hubs for strategic logistics support and therefore improve the efficiency of operations, particularly in West Africa, but also in support to Central Africa.
After this inauguration in Las Palmas the WFP will be able to operate from Spain on food aid with transport and conditioning of food products, and on emergency aid with non-food items: emergency logistics, medical, hygiene and shelter supplies in case of sudden emergencies.
UNHRD, A GLOBAL NETWORK OF HUMANITARIAN AID
WFP manages the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot network that comprises other five humanitarian hubs around the world, all of them in geo-strategic locations that allow for an immediate response to any crisis, anywhere, in less than 48 hours.
UNHRD logistic hubs stock mainly emergency materials including hygienic and sanitary kits, tents, mobile offices, blankets and up to 1,500 additional references, needed to respond to the most vulnerable populations in crises situations.
The UNHRD network is mandated by a United Nations resolution and it is an inter-agency tool servicing all United Nations agencies, NGOs and governments that adhere to the system through a technical agreement.
A WELL CONNECTED LOGISTICS HUB
The hub has two warehouses at the Port of La Luz (Las Palmas) with 1,300 square meters of indoor surface and 5.200 square metres outdoors, a space prepared to store medicines and an office from which to coordinate aid operations.
The selection of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria by the WFP for the second European location of its logistics hub reflects a strategic choice to have a regional logistics hub with maximized capacity, efficiency and connectivity with the main African ports, with the firm target of responding more quickly to the humanitarian needs in that continent.