WFP Honours Saudi King As 'Champion In Battle Against Hunger'

Published on 02 February 2009

The award was received by the King's representative H.E. Abdullah Ahmed Zainal Alireza, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Saudi Arabia. 

(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

ROME – WFP has honoured King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, for his generous support of the agency’s work during 2008.  King Abdullah was named ‘Champion in the Battle Against Hunger’ at a dinner in Davos, Switzerland, during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

“King Abdullah’s generosity has not only moved the world but has saved many lives in this year of challenge,” said Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of WFP.  “For this reason he is recognised, not only by us, but by many others.”

Sheeran presented the award to the Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry, Abdullah Zainal Alireza, in the presence of representatives of various governments, organisations and corporations.  The former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who is now chairman of the board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Valerie Jarrett, special adviser to President Obama, were among those to praise King Abdullah’s work.

More than US$500 million

In 2008, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated more than US$500 million to WFP, which put the Gulf nation at the forefront of global efforts to address the impact of soaring food prices. The bulk of the Saudi donation was a one-off payment in response to a WFP appeal for funds to meet the increased needs caused by high food and fuel prices which have raised levels of hunger and poverty, pushing the number of hungry people around the world to almost 1 billion.

The money raised from WFP’s appeal in response to high food prices is supporting an additional 23 million beneficiaries in 24 countries in programmes which include:

Extending school feeding to children through school holidays and using schools as a platform to provide take home rations to vulnerable families – education projects have reached 2.6 million children in six countries: Haiti, Liberia, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tajikistan.

Providing supplementary rations of nutritious food to malnourished children and women – 130,000 malnourished children in seven countries: Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Senegal and Tajikistan, started their nutrition interventions; another 11 countries are about to start implementation.

Accelerating cash and voucher programmes to enable people to access food through markets – implementation has started in Malawi and Nepal.