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World Food Programme (WFP)

  • 06 Nov 2020
  • 9 min read

Last Updated: July 2022

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.

  • It was founded in 1961 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with its headquarters in Rome, Italy.
  • It is also a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), a coalition of UN agencies and organizations aimed at fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    • The international community has committed to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition by 2030.
  • WFP works in over 120 countries and territories to bring life-saving food to people displaced by conflict and made destitute by disasters.

What are the Objectives?

  • WFP focuses on emergency assistance as well as rehabilitation and development aid.
    • Two-thirds of its work is in conflict-affected countries, where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than elsewhere.
  • It works closely with the other two Rome-based UN agencies:
    • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which helps countries draw up policy and change legislation to support sustainable agriculture
    • The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which finances projects in poor rural areas.
  • To end hunger by protecting access to food.
  • Improving nutrition and achieving food security.
  • Supporting the SDG implementation and partnering for its results.

What is WFP’s Strategic Plan (2022-2025) – Turning the tide against hunger?

  • WFP’s Strategic Plan for 2022-2025 is grounded within renewed global commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    • It outlines the many ways that WFP, working in partnership, can most efficiently save and change lives.
  • The vision for 2030 underlying WFP’s strategic plan is:
    • The world has eradicated food insecurity and malnutrition (SDG 2 – Zero Hunger)
    • National and global actors have achieved the SDGs (SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals).
  • The Strategic Plan emphasizes the inter-connectedness of the SDGs, highlighting that WFP’s activities also contribute towards and depend on other Goals.
  • The key drivers of hunger – conflict, the climate crisis and economic downturns – provide entry points for WFP’s programming, new partnerships and the generation of evidence. Amidst such sizeable and complex global challenges, WFP will primarily meet urgent needs, while seizing opportunities to build resilience and address the root causes of vulnerability.
  • Turning the tide against hunger and achieving WFP’s vision relies on 5 outcomes:
    • People are better able to meet their urgent food and nutrition needs
    • People have better nutrition, health and education outcomes
    • People have improved and sustainable livelihoods
    • National programmes and systems are strengthened
    • Humanitarian and development actors are more efficient and effective
  • WFP’s work will be guided by seven principles, with four cross-cutting priorities maximizing programme efficiency and effectiveness.
    • Investing in people, strengthening partnerships, growing and diversifying funding, building on evidence, leveraging technology and fostering innovation – building blocks that enable WFP’s strategic plan.

How the Funding is done for WFP?

  • The WFP has no independent source of funds, it is funded entirely by voluntary donations. Its principal donors are governments, but the organization also receives donations from the private sector and individuals.
    • Governments: governments are the principal source of funding for WFP; the organization receives no dues or portions of the UN assessed contributions. On average, over 60 governments underwrite the humanitarian and development projects of WFP
    • Corporates: Through corporate-giving programmes, individual companies make vital contributions to fighting hunger.
      • Donations from private and not-for-profit entities have included frontline support to several emergency operations; expertise to enhance WFP's logistics and fundraising capacities; and critical cash for school feeding.
    • Individuals: Individual contributions can make a difference in the lives of the hungry. A personal donation can provide:
      • Emergency food rations during a crisis
      • Special food for hungry children in schools.
      • Food incentives to encourage poor families to send their girls to school.
      • Food as payment for people to rebuild schools, roads and other infrastructure in the wake of conflicts and natural disasters.

What is Share the Meal Initiative?

  • ShareTheMeal is an initiative of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
  • Donations from the ShareTheMeal app support various WFP operations ranging from resilience building and school feeding programmes to providing food assistance in emergencies.
  • The app was launched in 2015 and since then, it has helped provide aid to some of the largest food crises in the world including Yemen, Syria and Nigeria.

WFP and India: What is the Scenario?

  • WFP has been working in India since 1963, with work transitioning from food distribution to technical assistance since the country achieved self-sufficiency in cereal production. The areas in which WFP mainly assists in India are:
    • Transforming the targeted public distribution system: WFP is working to improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of India’s own subsidized food distribution system, which brings supplies of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil to around 800 million poor people across the country.
    • Fortification of government distributed food: To boost the nutritional value of the Government’s Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman or PM-POSHAN (erstwhile known as Midday Meal Scheme) for Government and Government-aided schools, WFP is pioneering the multi-micronutrient fortification of school meals.
    • Mapping and monitoring of food insecurity: WFP has used Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping softwares to identify India’s most food insecure areas, which allows policy and relief work to be targeted appropriately.
      • WFP is also supporting the government’s Poverty and Human Development Monitoring Agency in establishing a State-level Food Security Analysis Unit, working towards the goal of achieving Zero Hunger.
    • Strategy Plan for India: According to the country strategy plan for India (2019 – 2023), WFP aims to:

      • Enable the most vulnerable people of India to meet their minimum food and nutrition requirements throughout the year.

      • Enable people with a high risk of malnutrition, especially women, children and adolescent girls, to have improved nutrition by 2025.

    • Wheat Agreement: In February 2022, India signed an agreement with the WFP for the distribution of 50,000 MT of wheat that it has committed to sending to Afghanistan as part of a humanitarian assistance.

What are the Reports Released by WFP?

  • Global Report on Food Crisis- The Global Report on Food Crises describes the scale of acute hunger in the world. It provides an analysis of the drivers that are contributing to food crises across the globe.
    • The report is produced by the Global Network against Food Crises, an international alliance working to address the root causes of extreme hunger.

How many Awards are Won by WFP?

  • The WFP has been awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace 2020 for its efforts to combat hunger, bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
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