WFP Leaders' Dinner - Davos 2009
TNT, the global courier company and one of WFP's largest corporate partners, is the official sponsor of the WFP Tent in Davos. TNT's Chief Executive Officer Peter Bakker welcomed guests to the event.
Kofi Annan, now head of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), challenged the assembled leaders to fund sustainable solutions to the problems faced by the world's one billion hungry people. In the current economic crisis billions are being found to help the financial sector, he noted.
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran announced that the "Champion in the Battle Against Hunger, 2008" award would go to His Royal Highness King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The award was received by the King's representative H.E. Abdullah Ahmed Zainal Alireza, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Saudi Arabia.
H.E. Abdullah Ahmed Zainal Alireza, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Saudi Arabia, accepted the award on behalf of the King. In 2008, when the food price crisis threw more than 75 million more people into the ranks of the hungry, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia responded rapidly with a $500 million donation to help WFP deliver food to those most in need.
Valerie Jarrett emphasized the U.S. administration's interest in working with WFP and the entire humanitarian community, along with business, governments and civil society, to find innovative solutions to hunger and malnutrition around the globe. Jarret is Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison, in the office of President Barak Obama.
Philippine Secretary of Agriculture Arthur Cua Yap said that investment in agriculture is vital to ensure global food security. He called for a global food reserve to be set up by a neutral international agency, to stabilize the global price of rice.
"Governments have a responsibility and we must accept that role," said Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development for the United Kingdom. He emphasized the need to invest in agriculture and highlighted the inspiration he received from speaking to people at a WFP food distribution site in
Simon Maxwell, Director of the Overseas Development Institute, predicted that hunger emergencies will increasingly be caused by 'sudden onset' crises such as natural disasters provoked by climate change. "The Role of humanitarian NGOs and agencies will need to change to work more with existing institutions, local markets, purchasing from farmers," he said.
Carl Bildt, Foreign Minister of Sweden, said: "We need
quick thinking, responsive institutions. WFP will be with us for a
very long time. Our task is to make you less in demand. "