WFP and the EU Fighting Hunger Together (link to brochure)

The World Food Programme’s Challenge

We cannot afford to lose a generation to malnutrition, starvation and despair. Addressing immediate hunger needs is a critical long-term investment in healthy, stable societies. ­­

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

More than one billion people go hungry every day.  That number is expected to climb.  

In recent years, the World Food Programme (WFP) has faced a particularly difficult set of challenges:

  • dramatically rising food and fuel prices
  • widespread turmoil in international financial systems
  • the worsening impact of climate change, increasing the number and severity of weather-induced humanitarian emergencies

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency, fighting hunger worldwide. It is voluntarily funded and the European Union (EU) is its second largest donor. In 2009, WFP reached nearly 100 million people in 74 countries, partnering with some 2,400 non governmental organizations (NGOs) in 67 countries. In 2010 WFP aims to feed more than 90 million people in 73 countries.

WFP food assistance is a lifeline for the most vulnerable and the hungry. Alleviating hunger is United Nations Millennium Development Goal number one, and food security is a building block of other development goals.

To be effective in a rapidly changing world, WFP has redefined its focus from food aid to food assistance, with a nuanced and robust set of tools to respond to critical hunger needs. The overarching goal is to reduce dependency and to support governmental and global efforts to ensure long-term solutions to the hunger challenge.

WFP and the European Union:  

The EU is WFP’s second largest donor.In 2009, the EU donated €244.8 million.  

  • Many European countries are consistently among WFP’s top donor nations. In fact, adding the European Commission to the 27 European nations, in 2009 European taxpayers contributed some US$1.2 billion.

WFP receives contributions through the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) and from EuropeAid, the development assistance arm of the EU.

ECHO’s contribution for 2009 amounted to €146 million.

Reaching out to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugees

Malnutrition is one of the main problems facing the Chadian people. Recurrent tensions among ethnic groups contributed further to political instability. In addition, Chad is vulnerable to spill-over effects from crises in the neighbouring Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR). Chad has very limited capacity to cope with these refugees and relies heavily on external assistance for its own food security, especially in areas particularly affected by chronic food deficits.

“If we did not get food from WFP, we would have died from hunger a long time ago” said Saida, 35. In 2004, she and her children escaped from Darfur empty-handed. After a long walk, they reached the Iridimi camp in Chad, where she currently resides. 

 “It is really hard to be a mother, especially when you have nothing to offer to your kids. Luckily, things changed for the better, when we started receiving food from WFP,” Saida said with a smile and a sigh of relief.

ECHO has been instrumental in supporting WFP’s efforts to contribute to nutritional stability and food security levels among Sudanese/ CAR refugees and Chadian IDPs by fostering their access to food.

ECHO’s funding of WFP’s operations targeted at IDPs and refugees made a significant difference in their shattered lives. It alleviated suffering in Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.  

Helping Victims of Natural Disasters

The Philippines was hit by Tropical Storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma in late 2009. The heaviest torrential rains in over 40 years caused severe flooding as well as loss of life and livelihoods. They led to massive displacements, and negatively impacted food access.

ECHO helped by supporting relief food assistance to meet the basic nutritional needs of the affected population, particularly women and children. ECHO also supported WFP in Logistics and Emergency Telecommunications to mitigate challenges and bottlenecks, and to ensure an uninterrupted supply of life-saving items to the flood-affected populations

ECHO threw a lifeline to victims of natural disasters receiving WFP’s assistance in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, Laos and Syria. 

Helping the hardest to reach through the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service

The biggest success story of ECHO’s involvement with WFP is its support to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) run by WFP on behalf of the entire humanitarian community. UNHAS transports humanitarian workers to some of the world’s hardest-to-reach places, cut off by insecurity or by poor or non-existent roads. In 2009, ECHO, with €16.6 million, was the largest supporter of UNHAS.

UNHAS carried more than 323,750 passengers and 12,400 metric tons of humanitarian cargo in 16 countries to some of the most dangerous emergency operations in the world. Without ECHO’s support to UNHAS, millions of vulnerable people would be without vital aid in countries such as CAR, Chad, the Philippines and Sudan.

In 2009, thanks to ECHO’s support to UNHAS in Sudan, 157,000 humanitarian passengers from 276 aid organizations were transported across the country.

ECHO – A Major Player in Capacity Building and Logistics

ECHO is a strong supporter of WFP’s emergency needs assessment capacity as well as WFP’s leadership role of the logistics cluster in the humanitarian community. This includes the development of UN Humanitarian Response Depots through logistics hubs in Accra, Dubai, Panama City and Sebang to respond immediately to new emergency situations.

 In 2009, ECHO further contributed approximately 1 million to WFP’s Enhancing Capacity Building (ENCAP) Initiative to strengthen WFP’s food security and response analysis.

Longer-term development cooperation with the European Commission

EuropeAid’s contribution for 2009 amounted to € 98 million.

EU Food Facility

A milestone in the EU’s development assistance has been the launch of the Food Facility Initiative in response to the high food prices, a €1 billion fund in solidarity with poor farmers.

Small-scale farmers in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal and Sierra Leone received a crucial productivity boost through innovative WFP projects supported by some €84 million from the Food Facility.

The Food Facility will help millions of poor people in developing countries overcome food insecurity over a period of two years.

These projects are carried out in coordination with WFP’s sister agencies, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), other UN agencies and NGOs.

Other EuropeAid Funding

We cannot and we will not accept that 15 percent of the world’s population lives in hunger. Today we agreed on a new Food Security Initiative, which will support rural development in poor countries. The EU will be contributing with around 3 billion euro within this initiative.”

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso at L’Aquila, July 2009

“Thanks to this generosity from the European Union, millions of people will have access to food and nutrition who otherwise would not have.”

Josette Sheeran on the EU’s assistance

WFP also receives the support of EuropeAid through the European Development Fund, the Food Security Thematic Programmes, European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument and Development Cooperation Instrument. WFP has partnered with the EU Delegations in the Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone and Zambia. 

In Madagascar, the EC channels its food security support for the host government in collaboration with WFP – another example of effective cooperation. 

EuropeAid provided major support to vulnerable people in Bangladesh. WFP’s programmes in Bangladesh focus on increasing nutrition, making communities more resilient to disasters and improving access to food. These programmes are based on the use of cash and vouchers which beneficiaries use to gain access to food items in the marketplace. This strengthens local markets and supports their livelihoods.

The WFP Brussels Office, works closely with the EC, the Parliament and the Council, in coordination with other UN agencies. Our priority is to consolidate this relationship through fundraising, policy/advocacy, and communication.  

For more information or to donate online, please visit our website:

OR contact the United Nations WFP Liaison Office IN Brussels:
41, Avenue des Arts, 1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 500 09 10
Fax : +32 2 502 77 90
E-mail:[email protected].