18 June 2019

PRESS RELEASE

11th Session of the Food Assistance Committee
London 18 June 2019

The Food Assistance Committee held its 11th Session in London on Tuesday 18th June 2019 under the Chairpersonship of Dr Olivier Bangerter, Deputy Head of the Multilateral Division of the Humanitarian Aid, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland.

The meeting was attended by Parties of the Convention, namely Australia, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Japan, Luxembourg, Korea (Rep. of), Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of America. Additionally, representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on Food Assistance (TAFAD), the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) were present as observers.

Participants discussed the unprecedented levels of global food and nutrition insecurity and outlined their current food assistance operations. The persistence of hunger was due in large part to multiple ongoing humanitarian crises linked mainly to conflicts, but also to climate change phenomena and economic shocks. The adverse role of conflict in driving historic levels of displacement and emergency food needs was highlighted in the discussions in places like Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, in countries of the Sahel region and in Bangladesh. The Chairperson thanked Parties for again substantially exceeding their minimum annual commitments.

Concerning other agenda items, members discussed the 2018 Annual Report for approval at the 12th Session in November 2019, the third field mission of the Parties to the Food Assistance Convention planned in 2019 and approved the joint messaging for further promoting the work of the Food Assistance Committee.

Following Dr. Bangerter’s recent appointment as head of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Kabul, the Committee appointed Mr. Philippe Besson, Head of the Multilateral Affairs Division, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, to take over the FAC Chairmanship with effect 1 July 2019.

The Session was preceded on 17 June 2019 by a seminar entitled “Strengthening humanitarian cash assistance with best practices, by mitigating risks and through empowering vulnerable groups” and included interventions from the EU, CALP, GSMA, ICRC, ODI, UNHCR and WFP The aim of the seminar was to optimize the collaboration with private sector service providers to improve the efficiency and impact of cash transfers to the most vulnerable.

PR (FAC June 2019)