KABUL – High-level officials from the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) met Tuesday to map out a common strategy for the provision of WFP food assistance to millions of vulnerable Afghans over the next three years.
The meeting, hosted by Vice President Abdul Karim Khalili, aimed to strengthen coordination between WFP and the government ministries with which it works in Afghanistan.
“This groundbreaking meeting is a sign of how serious all parties are about the need to improve Afghanistan’s food security,” said Louis Imbleau, WFP’s representative in Afghanistan. “We look forward to working closely together to support Afghan efforts.”
“It is a privilege that the Government of Afghanistan and WFP are working jointly to further cooperate and coordinate the provision of food assistance, using the available resources and opportunities to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and food-insecure Afghans across the country,” said Afghan Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development Jarullah Mansoori, who co-chaired the meeting.
WFP began its current three-year Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation in April 2010, under which WFP plans to provide food assistance to an average of 7.3 million vulnerable Afghans every year, mainly in rural areas.
WFP’s operation in Afghanistan has a twin focus. It provides lifesaving relief and emergency assistance to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, including those affected by conflict and natural disaster. At the same time WFP, in partnership with the government, is working toward rehabilitation and recovery, to help Afghanistan improve its overall food security.
The high-level steering committee will guide implementation of the WFP operations in terms of planning and policy, and will also serve as a vehicle for WFP to help support the government’s food assistance strategy.
At the Kabul meeting, the steering committee established a number of technical working groups to coordinate common approaches to key issues, including agricultural development, education, health, nutrition and economic development including vocational skills training.
In addition to Vice President Khalili, Minister Mansoori and Mr. Imbleau, the meeting was attended by Husn Bano Ghazanfar, Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and the Disabled (MoLSAMD), and Amina Afzali, Minister of Women’s Affairs, as well as deputy ministers or high-level representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Health and the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority.
WFP’s activities in Afghanistan include food-for-work and food-for-training programmes, which emphasize improving agricultural production, livelihoods and overall food security for rural communities.
WFP provides lifesaving support for people displaced by conflict or natural disaster, tuberculosis patients and schoolchildren. WFP also plans to expand assistance to malnourished children under five, new mothers and pregnant women.
WFP has been working in Afghanistan since 1963 and currently supports vulnerable Afghans with food assistance in all 34 provinces of the country.
The 2007/2008 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment found that about 7.3 million people, or 31 percent of the Afghan population, are food-insecure, meaning they cannot get enough nutritious food to live active, healthy lives.
For further information:
Roya Zalmai, MRRD, Mob. +93-779-420-508