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World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator: new ideas to combat hunger

11.07.2016 - Article

The Innovation Accelerator aims to identify and promote innovative approaches on the path towards achieving this aim.

Some 795 million people around the world still do not have enough to eat. While this represents a reduction of over 200 million people compared with the 1990s, there is still a great deal to do to eradicate hunger by the year 2030, which is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The Innovation Accelerator, which was opened by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Munich on Monday (11 July), aims to identify and promote innovative approaches on the path towards achieving this aim.

Foreign Minister Steinmeier at the opening of the Innovation Accelerator
Foreign Minister Steinmeier at the opening of the Innovation Accelerator© Photothek / Imo

“New approaches must be found”

“In the face of the most serious global refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War, the need for humanitarian aid is greater than ever before”, said Foreign Minister Steinmeier at the opening of the Innovation Accelerator. As its second-largest donor, Germany has set aside 570 million euros for the WFP in 2016. “Emergency aid on its own will not suffice, however. New approaches must be found if we want to ensure that nobody on our planet has to go hungry any more”, Steinmeier continued.

Instrument from the start‑up scene

The Innovation Accelerator is an instrument from the start‑up scene that aims to promote the development of these new ideas. Experts from the world of science will meet practitioners from the private economy and civil society at this innovation centre in Munich in order to select and refine promising ideas, develop prototypes and facilitate their deployment in the field. Proposals can be submitted by the WFP’s humanitarian aid workers and by external contributors. Steinmeier cited an impressive example following his tour of the centre:

Foreign Minister Steinmeier, Minister of State Brunner, Executive Director Cousin and Minister for Economic Cooperation Müller (second from left to second from right)
Foreign Minister Steinmeier, Minister of State Brunner, Executive Director Cousin and Minister for Economic Cooperation Müller (second from left to second from right)© Photothek / Imo

Big data as a potential path ahead

“We need humanitarian aid, business and research to be more joined up. The Innovation Accelerator will contribute to the development of new technologies and business models that will benefit people in need”, said Steinmeier at the opening. WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin argued that the analysis of big data was a potential path ahead for innovation. “This will transform how we serve, and the speed at which we deliver aid”, said Cousin.

The Innovation Accelerator is supported by the Federal Foreign office, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Bavarian State Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forestry. The development of up to 20 innovation projections in the area of information technology and logistics is being facilitated with the Federal Foreign Office’s financial contribution of two million euros in 2016 alone.

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Speech by Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier at the opening of the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator

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