OTTAWA – Today the Minister of International Cooperation, the Honorable Julian Fantino, and senior members of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) met with the Executive Director of the Rome-based United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, to reaffirm their shared commitment to end hunger and malnutrition.
“At a time of conflicts, natural disasters and high food prices, it is imperative we have partners like Canada who are committed to supporting WFP in its mission to end hunger and malnutrition,” said Cousin on her second official visit to Canada.
Cousin briefed Minister Fantino and senior CIDA staff on WFP’s humanitarian response to the crisis in Syria, where WFP plans to scale up food assistance to reach 2.5 million people in the coming months, in both opposition- and government-controlled areas. WFP is also reaching 325,000 refugees leaving Syria, using cash or vouchers to purchase food from local traders.
Canada’s generous $7.5 million Syria contribution in 2012 – CA$3.5 million to WFP’s operations within Syria and another CA$4 million to WFP’s operations assisting Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries – has been essential in helping people affected by the conflict to survive the winter.
“I also want to thank Canada, WFP’s second largest single country donor, for entering WFP’s largest Strategic Partnership Framework in 2011 and for its commitment to multi-year, multilateral funding,” said Cousin. That flexible funding structure helps WFP to operate efficiently and effectively.
Predictable funding provided by multi-year contributions is essential to support safety nets and long term recovery. One of the world’s strongest safety nets is school meals programmes, which help deliver a vital nutritious meal to over 26 million children worldwide.
“Canada’s outstanding support of WFP school meals has made the difference between hunger and hope for millions of hungry school children,” Cousin said. School meals not only boost enrolment and promote regular attendance, but offer the promise and comfort of at least one nutritious meal each day.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
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