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France partners with WFP to join Humanitarian Response Depot Network

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ROME – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs today signed a partnership agreement to join a network aimed at boosting global emergency preparedness with UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD).

‪“After a partnership agreement in 2009, France marks a new stage in its operational cooperation with WFP in the framework of the UNHRD, increasing its capacity for rapid response,” said Wolfgang Herbinger, WFP's head of logistics. Becoming a UNHRD partner and the 47th UNHRD network user will enable France to enhance its preparedness capacity during humanitarian crises.

“During our visit to UNHRD Brindisi, I was impressed by the efficiency of UNHRD, the team managing the programme as well as the equipment,” said Bérengère Quincy, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations Agencies (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and WFP) in Rome. “We are pleased with our dynamic collaboration with WFP, a relation which will be further strengthened by this agreement.”

The UNHRD Network is a preparedness tool that supports the strategic stockpiling efforts of UN agencies, international and governmental organisations and NGOs, serving the humanitarian community by pre-positioning and deploying emergency assistance.

UNHRD consists of five depots around the world near areas vulnerable to catastrophes and located within or near international airports, major ports and international corridors. When an emergency strikes, deployment of emergency aid can be carried out in affected areas around the world within 24 to 48 hours.

Under the agreement, WFP agrees to purchase, store and deploy emergency humanitarian supplies at the request of and on behalf of the Crisis Center of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

The first Humanitarian Response Depot was established by WFP in Brindisi in 2000. Since 2006, WFP has established four similar hubs in strategic locations around the world: Panama City (Panama), Accra (Ghana), Dubai (UAE) and Subang (Malaysia). In 2010, UNHRD organized close to 400 aid deliveries, representing nearly 9,000 metric tonnes of relief items valued at US$35 million.

The partnership is testimony to France’s commitment to WFP’s fight against hunger. This year, France has allocated emergency food assistance of €10 million towards WFP activities in the Sahel region of West Africa.