Copenhagen/Oslo – Responding to the continuing challenges in Niger and the Sahel, the Government of Norway has announced an additional contribution of NOK 25 million to the United Nations World Food Programme’s activities in Niger.
This critical and very generous contribution will contribute to the strengthening of resilience and reduction of emergency levels of malnutrition among communities seriously affected by the recurrent crises. The contribution is earmarked for the key food security initiative “Nigeriens feeding Nigeriens” which focuses on increasing agricultural production and access to markets.
While in 2012, a wide-ranging humanitarian response to the severe drought helped avoid a catastrophe, the food security situation in the Sahel remains precarious. Malnutrition and mortality rates remain very high, even in non-crisis years with one child in five dying before their fifth birthday.
In Niger, malnutrition rates are seriously elevated: ten percent of children under five suffer from acute malnutrition and 44 percent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
“With more than 80 percent of the Nigeriens relying on farming, supporting small scale farmers, helping them to improve their yields and increasing their access to markets is key in overcoming the challenges of the severe and recurrent droughts. We are therefore extremely grateful for this critical and very timely contribution from the government of Norway,” says Ertharin Cousin, the Executive Director of WFP.
In September 2012, a Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed between Norway and WFP. With a pledge of NOK 980 million (US$168 million), the Strategic Partnership Agreement ensures predictable funding to WFP for humanitarian and resilience building activities through 2015.
A further NOK 12 million will be allocated to Niger from the Strategic Partnership Agreement funds – resulting in a total contribution of NOK 37 million to Niger.
“WFP is one of Norway’s most important humanitarian partners and I have myself experienced the importance of WFP’s work in the fight against hunger and malnutrition in Niger,” says Heikki Holmås, Norway’s Minister for International Development.
Because of the results delivered by WFP, Norway provided NOK 330 million in contributions to the organization in 2012. This substantial support made Norway the 15th largest donor overall and the 2nd largest per capita donor to WFP last year. In addition, Norway is a major contributor to the Central Emergency Response Fund which also provides WFP with important and timely funding. This makes Norway one of the top ten contributors of multilateral funding to WFP.
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Anne Poulsen, WFP/Copenhagen, Tel: +45 4533 5350, Mob. +45 4050 3993
Caroline Hurford, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 2330, Mob. +39 348 132 5018