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World Food Programme

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department's assessment of the benefits of the World Food Programme has changed in the last three years. (309793)

The Department for International Development (DFID) delivers more humanitarian assistance through the World Food Programme (WFP) than through any other agency.

The UK Government continue to recognise the vital role of the WFP in responding to emergencies around the world, saving millions of lives. The WFP plays an important role in emergency logistics, preparedness and disaster risk management and in fragile and post-conflict situations is often uniquely placed to help deliver effective transitions to stability.

WFP is also increasingly working to enhance long-term food security. Examples include programmes to improve nutrition and using their local purchasing power to create markets for smallholder farmers. However the evidence base for the effectiveness of some interventions, especially in more stable development contexts, requires strengthening.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for what reason the UK contribution to the World Food Programme has been reduced in real terms since 2008; on what projects or programmes expenditure has been reduced as a consequence; and if he will make a statement. (309795)

UK direct contributions to WFP in 2008 and 2009 were £89.9 million (equivalent to US$169 million) and £81.7 million (equivalent to US$127.6 million) respectively. These are the two highest contributions in the period 2004-09. Our ranking among WFP’s donors was similar (seventh in 2008 and eighth in 2009) and our share of WFP’s total income (in US$ terms) was almost the same (3.3 per cent. in 2008 and 3.2 per cent. in 2009). In both years we contributed more to WFP than to any other humanitarian agency or fund.

Our contributions to WFP take into account the different ways in which we can help protect the most vulnerable. The main reason we contributed less to WFP in some countries in 2009 is that while the food price crisis of 2008 required an exceptional food assistance response, the persisting problems of food insecurity required a broader range of actions—not all involving WFP. For example in Bangladesh we are tackling chronic food insecurity through our social protection, livelihoods and health/nutrition interventions. In Kenya we are supporting non-governmental organisations that who are specifically working on child malnutrition.

Our 2008 funding was also boosted by the response to Cyclone Nargis (£12.6 million equivalent to US$24.8 million) and the final year of our institutional strengthening programme with WFP (£2.8 million equivalent to US$5.0 million).