September 8th, 2015 12:50 EST
UN and U2's Bono Urge Action to Address Hunger Needs of People Fleeing Conflict
As the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) continues to face challenges in funding its emergency response in Syria, the agency`s Executive Director Ertharin Cousin has thanked U2 lead singer and ONE co-founder Bono, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Ireland`s Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney for their efforts to give voice and support to the world`s hungry poor.
Bono and Ms. Cousin met on Sunday night at the Expo Milan 2015 special event `It Begins With Me,` hosted by the governments of Ireland and Italy, to mobilize people in the challenge to end hunger in our lifetimes and raise awareness of the need for more resources to respond to the increasing hunger needs of people fleeing conflict.
To end hunger we count on public will. People must raise their voices to demand a world without hunger. This is why I am so pleased that Bono has come here to Expo to make this happen in what is a very difficult moment, " said Ms. Cousin, referring to the challenge of securing steady funding for the Syrian emergency response.
When she visited the Middle East region in mid-August, Ms. Cousin called on the international community to continue supporting Syrian refugees displaced in neighboring countries, appealing to the world not to forget " the crisis and to provide the agency the means to meet their needs.
For affected populations in Syria and refugees around the region, WFP food assistance provides stability, " she said. To provide this assistance, we rely on the generosity of the international community. We simply cannot let them down, " said Ms. Cousin at the time.
Since the beginning of the year, WFP has faced critical funding shortages that forced it to reduce the level of the assistance it provides to some 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, but also in Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
I think it is extraordinary that an organization like WFP even exists when each year you and your staff have to go out and ask for funds to do your work. In Jordan right now we have a refugee crisis and " WFP is forced to cut for lack of funds, " said Bono at yesterday`s Milan Expo event. This is shameful! "
In his opening remarks, Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, one of the driving forces behind the event, announced that Ireland will donate 60 million euros to WFP over three years, with a specific focus on refugees.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi underlined the need for more resources to fight hunger and promised that by 2017 Italy would be back in fourth place in the country ranking for international cooperation among the G7 countries.
Italian Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said that we need both citizens and institutions to support the fight against hunger and Expo is the ideal venue to put fighting hunger at the top of the agenda.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia