ROME—The importance of involving partners in WFP’s overall strategy to fight world hunger emerged as a key theme during the Annual Partnership Consultations that took place this week in Rome.
A new format put WFP’s partners in the driver’s seat of the meeting, inviting them to take the lead on developing recommendations on the key themes and topics. This year’s consultations brought together a greater number of partners than ever before.
"No one organization is good enough to work alone," said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, emphasizing the increasing importance of NGOs and other partner agencies to WFP’s strategy and operations.
Participants stressed the importance of having greater input in the decision-making process in the field as well as at agency headquarters.
"While attendees drove commitments at the global level, attention towards the local level, specifically empowering local communities and local solutions, was maintained throughout the two day event,” said the co-founder of Islamic Relief Worldwide, Hany El-Banna. “The importance of widening the partnership base to capture those organizations that are instrumental in leading change in their countries, was acknowledged.”
It was also recognized that, as the food insecurity landscape changes, WFP and its partners will need to refine and develop new and innovative ways of working together, such as by making use of the latest technologies.
Participants agreed to explore the possibility of establishing a WFP/NGO Programme Innovation Fund. Such funds would be used to generate ideas for providing food assistance in new ways, drawing on the specialized knowledge of NGOs of communities and their contexts.
Participants also highlighted the need for sustained interaction with all stakeholders, including national governments, private sector, academia and the donor community.
Particular areas like risk management and cost efficiency and effectiveness within humanitarian work needed more dialogue and development. In her concluding remarks, the Executive Director outlined potential ways of taking it forward and committed to presenting the suggestions to WFP’s Executive Management and Policy Council, to ensure a corporate backing to all new initiatives.