Guatemala ranks 122nd of 182 countries in the 2009 human development index. Its chronic undernutrition/stunting rate of 49 percent among children under 5 is the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean and among the highest in the world; 40 percent of children under 5 suffer from anaemia. Chronic undernutrition rates are 55 percent in rural areas and 69 percent among indigenous populations.
Guatemala faces recurrent natural disasters and has high food prices. Furthermore, the global economic crisis has resulted in reduced remittances, exports and foreign investment. Tourism revenues and access to credit have declined; unemployment and the Government’s budget deficit have increased. The combination of these factors is pushing more people into hunger and poverty, in a context of large income disparities and the marginalization of indigenous populations.
The country programme will be implemented in provinces with the highest chronic undernutrition rates which are in the highlands and along the dry corridor: Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Quiché, El Progreso, Chiquimula, Jalapa, Jutiapa and Totonicapán. The country programme is in line with: i) the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for 2010–2014, which focuses on food insecurity and chronic undernutrition; ii) government strategies for reducing chronic undernutrition and disaster preparedness; and iii) national agriculture and gender policies. The outcomes of this country programme will contribute to achieving Millennium Development Goals 1, 3, 4 and 7 and Strategic Objectives 3, 4 and 5 of the WFP Strategic Plan (2008–2011).
The aim of the country programme is to reduce chronic undernutrition and food insecurity among the most vulnerable people in targeted provinces. The objectives are to: i) reduce chronic undernutrition among children under 3; ii) rebuild and improve livelihoods for subsistence farmers affected by recurrent shocks by increasing agricultural production; iii) connect smallholder and low-income farmers with potential surpluses with markets to increase incomes and enhance food security; and iv) enhance government capacities to implement food-based assistance programmes, reduce micronutrient deficiencies, improve the nutrition of people living with HIV and enhance emergency preparedness and response. The programme was designed in consultation with government institutions and United Nations agencies; a workshop for all partners reviewed the functional and geographical priorities. The programme will build on partnerships with government institutions, United Nations agencies and other actors.
WFP aims to enhance capacities in the ministries and institutions involved in managing food-based programmes, with a focus on food security and livelihoods analysis, beneficiary targeting and performance monitoring. This will be critical for handing the country programme over to the Government.
This country programme is proposed for US$19.5 million, based on an estimate of regular contributions and additional resources to be raised by the country office.