Alibaba Group will partner with the United Nations World Food Program to tackle one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – eradicating hunger – using advanced technologies to do so, they said in a joint release.
The cloud-computing arm of Alibaba, Alibaba Cloud, will leverage its big-data capabilities to help the WFP build a digital “World Hunger Map” to monitor the status of global hunger, while also digitizing WFP’s overall operations. The agreement was signed at Alibaba Group headquarters in Hangzhou on Saturday.
“Alleviating global poverty and fighting hunger is the shared vision of Alibaba and WFP,” said Alibaba Foundation Chairman Sun Lijun (pictured above, right). “We look forward to joining the global campaign of fighting hunger, using our innovative technologies in data intelligence and cloud computing, as well as sharing our experience in China and worldwide.”
The World Hunger Map is aimed at helping WFP improve assessment and monitoring of hunger crises around the world to improve its response times and strategies, according to the release. The effort is part of a larger mission to give the WFP a digital upgrade using leveraging Alibaba Cloud’s technologies and resources. Alibaba Cloud and WFP said they would create a Digital Transformation Working Group to plan, execute and review that upgrade.
The UN in 2015 set 17 Sustainable Development Goals to improve the quality of life of all people by 2030. Among these goals, eliminating hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and developing sustainable agriculture – called the “zero hunger goal” – are priorities for WFP. According to the UN’s The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018 report, there are still nearly 821 million people facing starvation and malnutrition.
“We now have a great ally in the fight against hunger,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley (pictured above, left). “The support and expertise of the Alibaba Group – including their cloud computing, advanced data analytic capabilities, and online platforms – will help WFP become even more efficient and effective in its work to reverse the trend of rising hunger around the world.”
Established in December 2017, the Alibaba Poverty Relief Program plans to invest RMB10 billion over five years to alleviate poverty, with focuses on education, rural commerce advancement, women’s empowerment, healthcare and environmental sustainability. Alibaba last August worked with WFP to connect small farmers in Anhui, a province in Eastern China, directly with the market to obtain better prices for their produce.