WFP today warmly welcomed Estonia’s first ever donation of 500,000 Estonian Kroons (EEK) (US$42,300) to support the agency’s work in Sudan.
We especially welcome the flexibility of cash, which means we can quickly direct assistance to where it is most needed
John Powell, WFP Deputy Executive Director
“This donation, towards WFP’s biggest operation, shows that Estonia is joining other donor nations in helping to relieve the suffering in Darfur,” said John Powell, Deputy Executive Director of Fundraising and Communications, at a ceremony in Rome today, attended by Estonia’s Ambassador, H.E. Andres Tomasberg.
“It marks the beginning of what we hope will be a growing and significant partnership – to benefit the hungry poor,” Powell added.
WFP in Sudan
In 2007, WFP aims to provide 5.5 million people in Sudan with 682,000 metric tons of food aid, at a cost of US$685 million.
The food aid will help people affected by the conflict in Darfur, those returning to their place of origin in South Sudan following the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and South, and vulnerable residents in the Central, East and transitional Three Areas of Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Abyei.
“With the eyes of the world currently focused on Sudan, Estonia’s contribution towards our efforts to alleviate suffering there will be particularly noted. We especially welcome the flexibility of cash, which means we can quickly direct assistance to where it is most needed,” Powell said.
As an active player among the 12 new EU Member States, Estonia has been represented at two consultations with WFP; the first was held last year in Nitra, Slovakia, and the second in March this year, was in Nicosia, Cyprus. On the latter occasion an official of the Estonian Foreign Ministry detailed the government’s development and humanitarian assistance strategy.
In view of its burgeoning role as a new EU member state, Estonia plans to increase its ODA levels which in 2005 stood at 0.08 percent of Gross National Income.
The 12 new EU Member States have set themselves an ODA target of 0.17 percent of GNI by 2010, and of 0.33 percent by 2015.
Estonia’s priority countries include Georgia, Moldova, Afghanistan and Ukraine and among its thematic interests is Information and Communication Technology. WFP is operating in both Georgia and Afghanistan and leads the UN system in ICT emergency response.
Alongside several of its fellow new EU member states, Estonia’s government is supporting Walk-the-World, a global hunger awareness event, to be held in the capital, Tallinn, on 13 May this year.
Estonia is also considering support to WFP through the Junior Professional Officer programme, which would bring the talent of young Estonians into the ranks of WFP staff.
“Since my first visit to Estonia in March 2006, we have seen a significant advance in our relationship. A growing partnership with Estonia would mean an even greater impact on improving the lives of millions around the world,” Powell said.
“We are very grateful for the Estonian people’s generous commitment to help those affected by humanitarian crises and for the confidence shown in WFP’s ability to deliver life-saving aid,” he concluded.