LONDON, ENGLAND — The Food Assistance Committee (FAC) convened for its 4th formal Session on Nov. 18 at the Secretariat of the International Grains Council in London, England, under the chairmanship of Roger Mireles, assistant deputy administrator, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Committee reviewed the global situation regarding hunger and malnutrition and current food emergencies against the backdrop of recent developments in world markets for grains, rice and oilseeds. Members also provided information on responses to food emergencies, planned operations and policy developments, with particular emphasis on the impact of the Ebola virus, as well as ongoing responses in South Sudan and Syria.

Other items discussed included changes to the template for annual reporting and respective commitments for 2015. Efforts to expand membership were considered, including a proposed messaging document, highlighting the activities, objectives and membership benefits of the FAC.

The Committee elected Dr Florika Fink-Hooijer (director, directorate-general for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection) as chairperson for 2015, representing the E.U.

The session was preceded on Nov. 17 by a seminar exploring how the FAC is building resilience, aimed at fostering long-term solutions that address the underlying causes of vulnerability and crisis.

Members and observers exchanged information on policy developments and provided examples of work being undertaken to build resilience, together with the opportunities and challenges associated with the design and implementation of respective programs. There was widespread recognition and acceptance that resilience building is now an important component of modern humanitarian and development assistance, and that the FAC could play a crucial role in its promotion through cooperation and the exchange of information on best practices.