ROME -- WFP and Reuters AlertNet will host a high-profile event in London on Friday to examine the way hunger is reported in the media and to provide insight into the challenges involved in delivering food assistance in dangerous environments.
The Hunger Seminar, to be opened by WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran and Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, will draw heavily but not exclusively on WFP’s 47-year experience of delivering food aid in places like Darfur, Haiti and Somalia.
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“It's an opportunity not only for us to explain the challenges we face but also for WFP to listen to other ideas and approaches to delivering humanitarian assistance,” said WFP’s Greg Barrow.
Senior representatives from British-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and think-tanks will attend, including Shaheen Chughtai from Oxfam, Richard Dowden from the Royal African Society, Brendan Gormley from the Disasters Emergency Committee and Simon Maxwell, the ODI.
Feike Sibjesma, CEO of Dutch company DSM, will be present to talk about private sector involvement in the fight against hunger.
As well as looking at the many costs of getting food aid to the hungry in danger zones, debate will also explore the concept of ‘intelligent’ food aid – food assistance which is precisely targeted and designed to have maximum impact, now and in the future.
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For WFP, nutrition is at the core of intelligent food aid and its operations frequently focus on providing nutritious food to the under twos, thus ensuring that they avoid the irreversible effects on growth and mental development that undernutrition can cause.
The first of Friday’s panel discussions will focus on the way hunger is reported in the media. Josette Sheeran, a former journalist herself, will participate in this debate, alongside senior Reuters News journalists and prominent media commentators, such as Jonathan Rugman of Channel 4 News.
One of the goals of the seminar is to give the media a better understanding of how humanitarian agencies respond to emergencies – especially in complex situations such as Haiti and Somalia - so as to allow the best possible reporting.