Cindy H. McCain, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), expressed gratitude for the UAE's unwavering support of the WFP.

She highlighted the UAE's significant role in providing aid to millions of people worldwide and emphasised the country's continuous support through financial contributions, in-kind donations, and strategic partnerships.

In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024, she also noted that the UAE has played a crucial role in ensuring that food aid reaches the most vulnerable populations, particularly those in conflict-affected areas.

She added that the WFP recently received a contribution of $11.7 million from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) in the form of direct food aid, which will benefit more than one million people in Gaza.

She pointed out that in the period 2022-2023, with the support of the MBRGI, the WFP provided more than 121 million meals to vulnerable communities in countries such as Burkina Faso, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Bangladesh, and we look forward to continuing cooperation to deliver more meals to those affected around the world.

Cindy McCain said that the turmoil the world is witnessing is having a serious impact on global food security, as it disrupts food supply chains, fuels conflicts, and hampers the delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations.

She added, "With more than 333 million people suffering from acute hunger worldwide, it is essential for world leaders to prioritise cooperation and increase humanitarian funding. We must work together - before it's too late."

Cindy McCain said that ongoing global crises have led to increased demand for urgent humanitarian and development aid. Acute hunger remains at persistently high levels. We are also seeing rising rates of malnutrition, increasing prevalence of undernutrition, and limited access to nutritious foods. All of these are tangible indicators of the worrying state of global food insecurity.

She added, “World leaders must work together to invest in sustainable and long-term programmes and initiatives to strengthen global food security. This should include supporting sustainable agriculture, improving infrastructure, promoting safe and regular access to resources, strengthening social safety nets, and enhancing international cooperation to address the root causes of hunger and poverty.”

She pointed out that the WFP works closely with partners to share knowledge and expertise to serve vulnerable communities around the world in the most cost-effective and sustainable ways.

Cindy McCain said that the WGS is an inspiring global platform that helps to promote global cooperation by bringing together world leaders and decision-makers to discuss and address important global issues and challenges.

She added that with the rise of global hunger in many parts of the world, it is essential to find and implement long-term and sustainable solutions to support food security, sustainability, and peace.

On the role of advanced technology in supporting the initiatives of the WFP, Cindy McCain said that in a rapidly changing world and amid the growing need for humanitarian support, harnessing advanced technologies such as blockchain, satellite imagery, and data analytics can improve the ways in which we provide food assistance. It can also enhance agricultural productivity and ensure better monitoring of food security indicators.

She explained that the WFP has been implementing innovative solutions in fragile areas for over six decades." We are constantly working to scale up advanced technologies that improve program implementation. We also empower local innovators to create local solutions in all of our operations."

She pointed out that the WFP recently signed a partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment and Food Tech Valley to make lasting changes to global food systems through the transformative power of innovation and technology. She stressed that this important partnership with the UAE aims to benefit from its expertise in the field of technology and innovation.