International Finance
Social Initiatives

Flexible donors power WFP with US$180mn to address crises, build resilience

WFP, World Food Programme, Syria, Yemen, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, David Beasley, UN, United Nations

At a time of unprecedented demands on the humanitarian system, a group of government partners are stepping up to ensure that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has flexible funding to meet acute humanitarian needs in sudden onset emergencies and neglected or protracted crises.

With the help of these donors, WFP recently allocated US$180mn to some 60 country operations -while providing a vital and urgent boost to lifesaving efforts in Syria, Yemen, the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. These funds will also surge support to development projects and provide food assistance to refugees and displaced people.

“Flexible funds give us the freedom we need to respond more quickly, save on costs, plan for the longer term and prevent disruptions to our life-saving work,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “To make the most of precious donor resources, we call on more of our government partners to provide funding that is unearmarked, predictable, and usable over multiple years.”

Whether beating back famine in South Sudan or saving lives of the Rohingya in the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis in Bangladesh, WFP is a vital component of the international response to pull people back from the brink of starvation.

Flexible funding allows the food organisation to act swiftly, effectively and efficiently, yet governments that provide this kind of funding are still very much in the minority as many specify how and where the money can be spent.

In 2017, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany led the way in providing multilateral funding to WFP. However, these kinds of contributions to it last year sat at just seven percent of the total resources provided to the organisation, well below a high-water mark of 20% of flexible funding in 2002.

The most recent allocations were made with contributions from Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Contributions from private sector partners were also part of this allocation.

Under the agreement known as the Grand Bargain concluded at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, leading donors committed to progressively reduce earmarking, with an aim of achieving a global target of 30% of humanitarian funding with fewer restrictions by 2020.

Top Ten Multilateral Donors and Funding Sources to WFP in 2017

(To see a full list of flexible contributions to WFP in 2017:

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists 80mn people in around 80 countries.

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