The World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest hunger-fighting agency, feeding more than 80 million people living in approximately 80 countries. A new fund aims to fight hunger while reducing disaster risk, particularly for disasters resulting from climate change. The FoodSecure Initiative serves as a proactive measure to fight hunger and reduce the impact of an increase in climate change.
With the Paris talks for climate change occurring this December and the recent passage of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there has been more attention focused on the impact of climate change on livelihood. People living in low-lying areas, such as the Mekong Delta region in Southeast Asia, areas of India and Bangladesh and the Nile Delta region are at the greatest risk for displacement as a result of rising sea levels.
As sea levels rise, individuals will be displaced, and so it is more imperative than ever that agencies, nations and international bodies prepare. Furthermore, climate change will also affect crop yields, water quality and rates of infectious disease. This will affect the progress development organizations have made in these areas and organizations will have to face a new set of circumstances.
The World Food Programme’s initiative is a collaboration between the WFP, the German Red Cross and the International Foundation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The fund hopes to implement programs that stop the chronic disaster-relief-disaster-relief cycle. WFP’s FoodSecure Initiative is a multi-year fund that is disaster-forecast based. Thus, funds will be released before disasters actually occur. Using a forecast-based system is cost-effective and reduces the negative impact disasters cause in vulnerable communities.
By utilizing a forecast-based system and addressing disaster relief before, during, and after the fact, the WFP hopes to instill long-term resilience in communities. It follows a three-window implementation plan in order to maximize its impact.
The FoodSecure Initiative has already completed several pilot projects in developing nations. These projects include the distribution of flood preparedness kits before flooding, training of farmers to grow drought-resistant crops and promotion of soil and water conservation in agriculture.
In order to give this fund its maximum impact, the WFP estimates that it will cost $400 million. Presently, the WFP uses 40 percent of its funds for building resiliency but this will not be enough as climate change worsens. As the FoodSecure Initiative works to obtain full funding, it has already begun projects in five countries: the Philippines, Niger, Sudan, Guatemala and Zimbabwe. Hopefully, the FoodSecure Initiative will get the funding it needs to make a difference for years to come.
– Priscilla McCelvey
Sources: EPA, World Food Programme 1, World Food Programme 2