All photos: WFP/Antonello Nusca

Italy has long been an avid supporter and Partner of the UNHRD Network, and their outstanding efforts were again in play last week: the Italian Government hosted the second “Group of Friends of UNHRD” event during last week’s WFP Executive Board session while at the same time, airlifting medical supplies to Libya from our Brindisi hub.  

Ambassador Pierfrancesco Sacco, Italian Permanent Representative to the UN in Rome, welcomed more than 40 representatives from different countries, calling the UNHRDs “hubs of hope” drawing sustainable support.

In her remarks WFP’s Executive Director Ertharin Cousin stressed that the Humanitarian Response Depots, which are now used by 80 partners, have led to a dramatic reduction in emergency response time and that they remained a core actor in service provision and relief items prepositioning. These were key elements in the ongoing integration and streamlining within WFP’s supply chain division.

Among the panelists, Ambassador Angélica Jácome, Permanent Representative of Panama to the UN Agencies in Rome, praised the work of UNHRD, particularly the hub it has in Panama, in responding to Hurricane Matthew. Mr. Ramiro Lopes da Silva, Assistant Executive Director for Operations Services, noted that with UNHRD, a “seed was planted in Brindisi that has grown and become a platform that we are now leveraging […] to support capacity building and strengthening around the world". Mr. Cesar Arroyo, WFP’s Deputy Director for Supply Chain, stressed that UNHRD remains a crucial part of “the future of the supply chain”.

The German Permanent Representative to the UN Agencies in Rome, Ambassador Hinrich Thölken, thanked UNHRD for hosting him and a delegation of German journalists in Brindisi recently and invited other countries to “get your shoes and hands dirty, go to Brindisi [...] it’s a really special experience”. Also Ambassador Rafael Osorio, speaking on behalf of Spain, praised the efforts UNHRD in serving the Humanitarian Community.

The Group of Friends of UNHRD was officially launched by the Italian Government in February 2015, bringing together partners, donors, and actors who recognize the need to invest in preparedness and want to help ensure a sustainable UNHRD Network.

For more pictures, please check our photogallery.

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