The snow was falling as about 70 guests arrived for WFP’s annual dinner-discussion forum with international leaders at the World Economic Forum at Davos. The event was sponsored and co-hosted by Peter Bakker (photo below) the CEO of the global transport company TNT.
Guests came to listen to a Haiti update from WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, and to discuss ways to improve nutrition and response to both chronic hunger and emergency operations.
She praised the global response to the Haiti emergency, with more than $190 million contributed by governments, more than $50 million from the private sector and about $3.5 million from members of the public through WFP’s website.
And she thanked the people who had contributed to talks on improving nutrition in WFP’s food for children with an eye to the future: “In an era where we expect we could see more urban crises, we need to prepare to respond,” Ms Sheeran said.
Mr. Bakker told the gathering that his company TNT was joining with UPS and Agility to set up a pre-emptive disaster relief structure for logistics companies to support rapid response to emergencies like Haiti.
Simon Maxwell of the Overseas Development Institute said economic development is fundamental to helping countries prepare for and bounce back from natural disasters. “We need to move countries from the Haiti column to the China column,” he said, referring to the devastating earthquake in China last year, when the country was badly hit, but still able to respond to the crisis.
Brazil’s Celso Amorin urged business leaders to go to Haiti and invest in local industries.