PORT AU PRINCE – On her first trip to Haiti as the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, confirmed WFP’s commitment to support Haiti in finding sustainable solutions to hunger and malnutrition.
During the three-day visit, Cousin met with President Michel Martelly. They resolved to work together to expand sustainable programmes, linking school feeding and education with reinforced local production.
This commitment, which will reinvigorate the partnership with the Haitian government, was confirmed later with the Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, who agreed to launch two new programmes with WFP: the first, to increase the number of children WFP supports through its school meals programme; the second, to eradicate chronic malnutrition by targeting the most vulnerable Haitians – the poorest women and children.
“I had a chance meet children who receive a hot meal at school each day, including milk that WFP buys from a local dairy. Working with the local community, we act as a catalyst to create market opportunities for Haiti’s smallholder farmers while ensuring poor children receive both nutritious food and an education,” said Cousin.
Meeting also with the First Lady, Sophia Martelly, the Executive Director commended the work and vision of Aba Grangou, the national programme to fight hunger and malnutrition. Ahead of Rio +20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, both agreed on the value of true partnership, aligning UN programmes with those of the Government and creating a strong link with the private sector, building the resilience of the most vulnerable people.
Too many Haitians remain food insecure and hungry. The most recent country-wide food security study – Enquête National de Sécurité Alimentaire (ENSA) – conducted by the Coordination Nationale de la Sécurité Alimentaire(CNSA), WFP and other partners, revealed that 38 percent of the population is food insecure – about 3.8 million people. Other recent data shows that chronic malnutrition affects 23 percent of children between 6-59 months and 4 percent of children suffer from global acute malnutrition, particularly in rural and remote areas of the country.
A significant reduction in donor contributions threatens WFP’s ability to respond as needed to these persistent high-priority issues. WFP Haiti is at a critical point and requires US$54.6 million to keep programmes operating through the end of 2012.
If new funds are not found, the budget shortfall will require a reduction in the number of children receiving school meals, from 1.1 million to 685,000.
“I appeal to Haiti’s friends in the world to continue supporting the Government of Haiti and WFP’s efforts to provide sustainable solutions to fight the hunger and malnutrition targeted at the most food-insecure and vulnerable populations,” said Cousin.
WFP is currently providing food assistance to 1.7 million people per month, including daily school meals for over a million children, nutrition programmes for children and mothers, and disaster preparedness and emergency response support to the Haitian government.
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Alejandro Chicheri, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Mob. +507 66715355 (in Haiti +509 37012336)
Elio Rujano, WFP/Latin America and the Caribbean, Mob. +507 6677 0608
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112
Rene McGuffin, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1 202 6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1 202 4223383
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome HQ, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Caroline Hurford, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474