Belgium contributes €14 million to support response to food crises
This boosts FAO and its member countries' capacity to respond immediately to disasters and crises, and to strengthen the long-term resilience of vulnerable farmers and herders.
The lion's share of the contribution is aimed at building farmers' ability to withstand shocks through multi-year programmes - an innovative approach to funding humanitarian responses.
Commonly, humanitarian projects are funded in six-months or one-year cycles, leaving limited time to rehabilitate agriculture production and to improve risk-sensitive practices.
These longer-term project cycles are particularly important for agriculture, as they allow support through multiple seasons and harvests.
They were among the recommendations of the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, which focused on reducing human suffering and delivering better aid for people facing crises around the world.
Among the crisis areas benefiting from the Belgium funding are the Sahel (€ 4 million), Mali (€ 2 million), Haiti (€ 3 million) and Iraq (€ 2 million). Another € 3 million went to FAO's Special Fund for Emergency Activities (SFERA).
The latter allows FAO to release money quickly for rapid on-the-ground interventions - even before an emergency appeal is launched - when natural disasters or conflicts threaten the livelihoods, food security and nutrition of farming families.
Belgium's support to SFERA is critical for rapid distributions of cereal and short-cycle quality vegetable seeds, which are often part of FAO's emergency interventions.
These ensure that communities struck by crisis don't miss the upcoming planting season and are able to grow food fast and recover their livelihoods. ■