Last week I had the opportunity to discuss one of the most important issues of our time, global hunger, with UN World Food Programme (WFP) executive director Ertharin Cousin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The largest humanitarian agency dedicated to fighting hunger, WFP brings food assistance to more than 90 million people in 75 countries every year (full disclosure: I am a board member of WFP USA).
The issue of global hunger is more critical than ever in these economic times. When so much of the world’s economic growth plans are focused on places, such as Africa, where there are still high levels of malnutrition and hunger, those economic plans can’t become realities until basics like food and nutrition security are addressed. Yet hunger still kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
Solving such a challenge cannot be done by one agency alone. As Cousin stated, the expertise and knowledge of the private sector are essential to a new path forward. As global companies expand across borders, they need to build healthy communities. It’s the smart thing to do for business, for consumers, for employees and for customers. When the private sector brings to the table its knowledge and expertise, it can help organizations like WFP reach people in need more quickly and efficiently. Only through collaboration will we truly address “the world’s greatest solvable problem.”
Matthew Harrington is the global chief operating officer.
Image by Nite_Owl.