LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA� Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain today visited for the first time, the Logistics Base of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, on the occasion of their official trip to Canarias to see first-hand the projects related to social and economic development of the islands.
Their Majesties King Felipe and Queen Letizia, together with the President of the Government of Canarias, Fernando Clavijo; the President of the town council of Gran Canaria; Antonio Morales; the major of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Augusto Hidalgo; the President of the Canary Parliament, Carolina Darias; the Secretary of State for Tourism, Matilde Asian; the Delegate of the Government of Canarias, Mercedes Roldos; the Director of WFP’s Logistics Base in Las Palmas, Pablo Yuste, and the Head of WFP’s Madrid Office, Antonio Salort visited one of the two warehouses that WFP uses at La Luz Port of Las Palmas, which is key to delivering humanitarian aid to the African continent.
WFP’s Logistics Hub was inaugurated in 2014 thanks to the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)’s funding and the support of the Ministry of Public Works through the State Ports. Since then the base has become a vital element in efforts by the international community to be ready and to respond quickly to emergencies and it has managed more than 355,000 metric tons of food.
The Port of Las Palmas is strategic for WFP’s supply chain, thanks to its excellent connections and location, which serves as bridge between Europe, Africa and Latin America. In 2016, WFP has used the base to respond to 20 countries in West Africa, in addition to emergencies in Haiti and Nicaragua. The Logistics Base was fundamental in the response to the Ebola crisis, as it served as a place for transhipment, preparation and delivery of emergency equipment and food by sea. More recently, vital supplies have been moved through the hub to alleviate the crisis caused by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin.
The Logistics Hub contains one of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD). WFP procures, stocks and transports basic commodities on behalf of many humanitarian agents (NGOs, other UN agencies and governments) through this depot network. They enable the international community to react in less than 48 hours to armed conflicts, natural disasters and health alerts globally. The depot in Las Palmas is one of the six global response depots. The other ones are in Accra (Ghana), Brindisi (Italy), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Panama (Panama) and Subang (Malaysia).
Las Palmas is also a centre for the Global Commodity Management Facility that enables WFP to buy food in advance at the right time for its operations, when prices are more affordable, to preposition and send them to the areas where it is needed. This way, it improves profitability and reduces the lead-time needed for delivery. The facility currently operates in other ports that give access to the main humanitarian corridors, which are: the port of Qasim (Pakistan), the port of Douala (Cameroon), Mombasa (Kenya), Djibouti (Djibouti) and Berbera (Somalia).
Recently, Vice President, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ildefonso Castro, visited the base, on the occasion of the International Meeting on Preventive Diplomacy in Sub-Saharan Africa hosted in Casa A�frica.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
Her Majesty Queen Letizia was named in 2015 Special Ambassador for Nutrition by the Food and Agriculture Organization of ht eunited Nations (FAO). This appointment was made in recognition of the Queen’s personal commitment to building a world free from hunger and Spain’s efforts to promot global food and nutritional security.
Source: World Food Programme