Norway and the World Food Programme (WFP) have signed a four-year agreement on Norwegian funding of NOK 245 million a year, amounting to a total of nearly NOK 1 billion.
Norwegian Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås commented, “The financial crisis and extreme weather events have created uncertainty about food prices and access to food. We hope this agreement will enable us, together with WFP, to increase certainty and predictability.”
Norway has previously supported the Programme through annual agreements.
“For the third time in ten years, millions of people are suffering from hunger in the Sahel belt in Africa. Women and children are being hardest hit. I met a number of them when I visited Niger earlier this year. WFP is doing a fantastic job to fight hunger and malnutrition. It is one of the most effective humanitarian organisations,” said Mr Holmås.
The finding provided by Norway will be used to provide emergency relief, including access to nutritionally appropriate food, and disaster risk reduction. In addition, Norway also provides annual funding for the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). This totalled around NOK 100 million in 2011, but the amount varies somewhat from year to year.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre commented, “WFP is one of our most important humanitarian partners, I have deep respect for its ability and capacity to deliver emergency relief on a large scale in difficult and often dangerous situations, such as in Syria, Mali, Somalia and South Sudan.
“Just as important as its emergency relief is WFP’s work on improving food security and preventing crises, and accelerating progress towards UN MDG 1: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.”
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. This UN agency distributes food, food vouchers and cash to around 100 million people all over the world. It has increased its focus on locally produced food, and also provides logistical assistance to other humanitarian organisations, in the form of aircraft, ships and trucks.