A U.N. food agency has just secured millions in funding for its emergency response, nutrition and disaster risk-reduction efforts until 2015.
World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin and Norway’s Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås signed a four-year strategic partnership agreement Monday (Sept. 10). The agreement would see Norway providing 245 million Norwegian Kroner ($42.5 million) a year to the program.
The signing comes during Cousin’s two-day visit to Oslo, the country’s capital, where she is scheduled to meet Holmå, Minister for Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.
“WFP is doing a fantastic job to fight hunger and malnutrition,” Holmå said in a press release. “It is one of the most effective humanitarian organisations.”
The agreement is WFP’s first multiyear agreement with Norway. The U.N. food agency has previously only enjoyed such partnership with three other donors: Australia, Canada and Luxembourg.
This new partnership takes “our relationship to a whole new level of funding flexibility and predictability,” WFP spokeswoman Caroline Hurford told Devex in an email.
A portion of the funds to be released in “coming weeks” will go to countries in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, Hurford said. For future funding allocations, meanwhile, WFP and Norway will regularly hold discussions to determine priorities and “hunger hot-spots.”
Norway is among the U.N. food agency’s “generous” donors. In 2011, Norway provided $49 million to WFP, making it the 16th largest donor overall to the program. Norwegian donations to the program cover short-term relief and food aid “during and after crises and disasters,” according to the Norway Mission to the United Nations. Among the country’s priority sectors under its 2012 aid budget include renewable energy development, climate change-related measures, emergency relief and human rights.
The signing follows the launch of WFP’s new aid partnership with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, which is expected to boost nutrition of some 15 million Afghans.
“Chronic malnutrition, especially among women and children, is a terrible burden for the people of Afghanistan, both in terms of health and economic productivity,” WFP Afghanistan Country Director and Representative Louis Imbleau said in a news release.
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