Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), together with German Federal Foreign Secretary Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Bavaria’s Minister of Agriculture Helmut Brunner and German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller (left to right) at the opening ceremony for the Innovation Center in Munich.
Photo: Klapatauskaite/WFP

WFP launches “Innovation Accelerator”

In a new World Food Programme innovation centre, digital founders and start-ups are to develop new solutions for combating hunger.

The Word Food Programme (WFP) has opened an innovation centre in Munich/Germany that is to develop new solutions for a world without hunger. At the “Innovation Accelerator”, in-house WFP staff will be working on selected ideas with experts and entrepreneurs from across the private sector and civil society for three- to six-month periods.

“Every day, WFP and our partners work to meet the emergency food assistance needs of the world’s poorest, yet toughest people living in the most vulnerable places around the globe.  What we are doing is not enough to achieve our shared goal of ending hunger by 2030.  We must boldly seek new ideas, tools and solutions that make more food available and accessible and ultimately give every person everywhere the ability to feed her or his own children,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin at the opening of the centre. “We must capture the benefits of new technologies and the revolution in big data.”

According to Cousin, the “Innovation Accelerator” should be a key way to help reach Sustainable Development Goal 2 and end hunger by 2030. It is supported by contributions from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the Bavarian State Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forestry. With twelve projects drawn from WFP’s global operations currently in its portfolio, the Accelerator is to both benefit from and contribute to Munich’s strong innovation and start-up community, Cousin stated.

The World Food Programme assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries each year. It delivers food assistance in emergencies and works with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. A year ago, this humanitarian organisation launched the “Share the Meal” app, which, according to the BMZ, has enabled the financing of 6.5 million day rations for people suffering hunger throughout the world. Germany is currently the second-largest donor to WFP.

(WFP/BMZ/sri)