Between 11-14 June 2019, the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU together with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) organized in Brussels, in the Council of the EU, an interactive exhibit that showcases how innovation enhances the EU’s response to humanitarian crises worldwide. Collectively, the EU and its Member States are the world’s leading humanitarian donor. Over the past five years they have also been the biggest contributor to WFP’s budget and operations.
The exhibit allowed visitors to explore innovative solutions applied by WFP through virtual andaugmented reality experiences for advocacy with donors and inspiring empathy and positive social change; the use of drones for gathering information in humanitarian emergencies; blockchain financing and digital tools to transfer cash and how hydroponics solutions can help to grow food in the desert without any soil at all.
Regarding this event, Romania’s Ambassador to the EU, Luminița Odobescu, said: “In our humanitarian action we need to move from an approach that is about responding to a crisis once it’s crystalized and more about anticipating crises in advance. Leveraging innovation and technology in the humanitarian field will enable us to make this shift to be able to better prepare and to better respond to crises. And if we are to bring the power of technology to scale, we need to extend and connect partnerships including with the private sector”. Background information: During the first half of 2019, the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has been promoting innovation in humanitarian assistance as a priority for the Council Working Party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA), in order to address the needs of the most vulnerable people around the world with efficient and technology-driven assistance.
With ever more crises and more than 140 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2019, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the humanitarian response is essential.
The United Nations World Food’s Programme (WFP) is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, as well as development assistance. With a major role in logistical and programmatic support to the broader humanitarian community, WFP fosters innovation across the organization, the UN-agency community, and beyond. Last year, WFP assisted 91.4 million people in around 83 countries.
For more details on the exhibit see this two-page leaflet.