International Organizations: World Food Programme

History: The UN General Assembly and the FAO approved the formation of WFP as a joint subsidiary program on a 3 year experimental program. But “WFP was up and running before it could walk.” An earthquake hit Iran in September 1962, followed by a hurricane in Thailand in October. Newly independent Algeria was resettling 5 million refugees. Food aid was urgently needed and WFP supplied it. It has never stopped.

Funding: WFP relies entirely on voluntary contributions to finance its humanitarian and development projects. Donations are made either as cash, food such as flour, beans, oil, salt and sugar, or the basic items necessary to grow, store and cook food – kitchen utensils, agricultural tools, and warehouses. Since it has no independent source of funds, all donations either in cash or in-kind must be accompanied by the cash needed to move, manage and monitor WFP food aid.

Governance: WFP is governed by the WFP Executive Board, which consists of 36 Member States. The Executive Director, appointed jointly by the UN Secretary General and the Director-General of the FAO for fixed five-year terms, sits at the head of the Secretariat of WFP in Rome. It is operates in 80 countries.

Mission Statement: As the food aid arm of the UN, WFP uses its food to: meet emergency needs and support economic & social development. The Agency also provides the logistics support necessary to get food aid to the right people at the right time and in the right place. WFP works to put hunger at the centre of the international agenda, promoting policies, strategies and operations that directly benefit the poor and hungry.

WFP Helps: 1) Disaster Victims – tsunami disaster in 2004, Bangladesh floods in 2004, the Iran earthquake of natural disasters like the in 2003 or Hurricane Mitch, which affected one million people in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala in October 1998. 2) Displaced People – both refugees and internally displaced persons to leave towns and villages in places like Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia. The world’s hungry poor, trapped in a twilight zone between poverty and malnutrition. 3) WFP also believes that women are the first solution to hunger and poverty. Women not only cook food. They sow, reap and harvest it. Yet, in many developing countries, they eat last and least.

WFP fights hunger by:
1) Rescue: WFP stands on a permanent state of alert, ready to mobilise food aid for delivery to natural and man-made disaster areas.
2) Rapid Reaction: WFP’s rapid response team draws-up contingency plans designed to move food and humanitarian aid fast into disaster areas.
3) Rehabilitation: WFP food aid also serves as a means to get disaster-affected regions back on their feet.
4) Deterrence: Malnutrition gnaws away at the most valuable asset in any country’s development: its children and its workers.  WFP works closely with the other members of the UN family, governments and NGOs, offering its logistics expertise to guarantee the delivery of all kinds of humanitarian aid.

Facts and Figures:
1)    Food distributed to 113 million of the poorest people in the world – 24 million people in development  programmes; 38 million beneficiaries in emergency  operations; 25 million people in rehabilitation  operations; 26 million in the Iraq bilateral operation.
2)    Operations in 80 countries around the world – 120 relief operations in 68 countries; 28 development projects and 38 country programmes in 52 countries.
3)    Total food shipped: 5.1 million tons – 1.8 million tons for emergency operations; 557.5 thousand tons for development projects; 1.2 million tons for protracted relief and recovery operations; 1.6 million tons for the Iraq bilateral operation.
4)    Total expenditure: US$ 2.9 billion – 91 percent on relief aid; 9 percent on development aid

University of Hawaii at Manoa; Center of Excellence in DMHA; ICRC

Contact Information

Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall 118
Honolulu, HI 96822