Around 350 million people worldwide are currently affected by acute hunger and dependent on food aid.
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In response to the worsening food crisis, President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis has approved additional funding of 14.5 million Swiss francs for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
This increases Switzerland's 2022 contribution to the WFP to over 100 million. 13 million Swiss francs will go to the Immediate Response Account (IRA), the WFP's emergency relief fund.
The IRA can rapidly deliver needs-based assistance to the most vulnerable communities where it is most urgently needed in countries such as Afghanistan, Mozambique and Nigeria.
A further 1.5 million is earmarked for the Ukrainian government's “Grain from Ukraine Initiative” for countries where people are facing acute hunger. Switzerland's contribution will be used to transport and distribute grain.
The 14.5 million announced by President Cassis is in addition to the approximately 90 million the FDFA has already allocated to the WFP in 2022. This is an increase of over 25 million compared to the annual contributions made prior to the COVID–19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
"The number of people suffering from acute hunger who are in need of humanitarian assistance has more than doubled from 150 million to 350 million since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. We have risen to the situation with this substantial increase in our contribution over and above pre-crisis levels," noted Cassis.
Switzerland has long promoted more sustainable food production to make global food systems more resilient. This benefits smallholder farmers and other impoverished and disadvantaged communities.
It provides them with better access to know-how, resources and markets. In response to the food crisis, the FDFA has scaled up both assistance and projects already under way, for example in Somalia, which has been severely hit by drought this year.
The FDFA has provided emergency relief funds to facilitate food distribution and cash transfers in Somalia. In addition, projects undertaken with local partners are rebuilding damaged infrastructure, including water supply systems, grain silos and veterinary facilities, thereby benefiting over 130,000 people in the country.
In Afghanistan, the FDFA is supporting projects by local and international NGOs to improve food security and basic healthcare for 3.5 million people in eight highland provinces. Switzerland is thereby also contributing to rural development in the medium and long term.
The WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation fighting hunger and malnutrition around the world, and one of Switzerland's main humanitarian aid partners. In 2021, the WFP provided assistance to over 128 million people in more than 120 countries. ■