WFP and Alibaba Unveil Next Generation of Machine Learning Technology in the Fight Against Hunger

Published September 25, 2019

New York/Hangzhou September 25 – Today, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Alibaba Group announced the launch of “Hunger Map LIVE,” a groundbreaking global hunger monitoring system that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and data analytics to predict and track the magnitude and severity of hunger in over 90 countries in close to real-time.

Hunger Map LIVE brings together streams of publicly available information on food security, nutrition, conflict, weather and a variety of macro-economic data – including from WFP – all in one place to show a holistic picture of the food security situation. Advanced data visualization tools then convert the resulting analysis of food insecurity at the global, country and subnational levels, and display it on an interactive map.

By having the most up-to-date information on food security on one central platform, WFP, the broader humanitarian community and global leaders can monitor progress and identify trends early, ultimately enabling better informed decision-making to improve efficiency in response time and curtailing costs.

“The Hunger Map LIVE is a visual wake-up call every day, showing us a real-time snapshot of the problem and reminding all of us that we must do more to defeat hunger,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley, speaking at an event with Heads of State, civil society and technology industry leaders on the sidelines of this year’s UN General Assembly in New York.

“The Hunger Map LIVE demonstrates WFP’s commitment to digital transformation, working strategically with partners to use technology in ways that help us become more efficient and effective,” Beasley said.

Underlining WFP’s renewed commitment to digital transformation, he added: “We started this strategic partnership with Alibaba in 2018 because we know that in the digital age, cooperation with the technology sector is critical. We need to continuously explore the latest technologies, newest ideas, and build lasting synergies with partners like Alibaba to help us reach those furthest behind,” said Beasley.

The announcement marks the first milestone in the long-term partnership signed last year that aims to bring together WFP and Alibaba’s expertise to support efforts to achieve a world free of hunger by 2030.

“We are excited to provide our leading technology and resources to join WFP in the journey to fight hunger. Launching Hunger Map LIVE is only the first step,” said Alibaba Partner and Chairman of Alibaba Foundation Lijun Sun.  “Across the Group we have developed a leading technological ecosystem, and by working with the experts from WFP, we can really see it in a new perspective. This aligns with our vision of using technology to create a better world.”

“Hunger Map LIVE is a global public good, an online resource that will be available for anyone to use,” said WFP’s Chief Economist Arif Husain who oversees the team providing the food security data and analysis. “Food insecurity is usually measured in a static way even though we know that it is dynamic because it changes all the time. With the application of this technology, the global community has access to daily food insecurity estimates, and that is revolutionary.”

About WFP | The United Nations World Food Programme is saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

About Alibaba Group | Our mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. We aim to build the infrastructure of commerce. We envision that our customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that we will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.  In December 2017, Alibaba established the Alibaba Poverty Relief Program to alleviate poverty with a focus on education, rural commerce advancement, empowering women, healthcare and environmental sustainability.


Anoush Tatevossian (WFP New York) | Mob. + 1-703-819-2830

Crystal Liu (Alibaba): | +86 15807506302/+852 6378 5626