WFP and Japan business giant unite to end child hunger

On a 24-hour visit to Japan, the Executive Director of WFP, James Morris, has paid tribute to the extraordinary leadership extended by Uichiro Niwa, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Japan Association for the United Nations WFP (JAWFP).

Niwa is Chairman of the Board of ITOCHU Corporation, and was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of JAWFP last August.

"Immense support"

Hunger claims the lives of some six million children every year – that’s one child dying every five seconds

James Morris, WFP's Executive Director

“We are tremendously grateful for Mr. Niwa’s immense support for hungry children,” said Morris in his meeting with Niwa today.

“Hunger claims the lives of some six million children every year – that’s one child dying every five seconds. With Mr. Niwa at the helm of JAWFP, support from Japan to stop children suffering from hunger is bound to increase exponentially.”

Non-profit organization

JAWFP is a non-profit organization, which was set up in 1999 to assist WFP in advocacy and private-sector fundraising in Japan.

Since Niwa’s appointment to Chairman of the Board of Directors of JAWFP in August 2005, more than 90 Japanese corporations have become members of the JAWFP Council, a governing body of JAWFP.

His goal is to expand the JAWFP Council to 1,000 Japanese businesses and associations in the coming years, to boost support for the world’s 300 million hungry children.

"Shameful"

“It is shameful that in the 21st century, hunger is still the biggest risk to health – killing more people than malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined,” Morris said.

“And it is particularly tragic that so many of its victims are young children.”

Of the 300 million hungry children in the world, almost 100 million currently receive no assistance at all. In addition, approximately 15 million pregnant and nursing mothers are themselves malnourished and their children are at risk of malnutrition.

Health and nutrition package

It is shameful that in the 21st century, hunger is still the biggest risk to health. And it is particularly tragic that so many of its victims are young children

James Morris, WFP's Executive Director

WFP and its partners hope to provide a comprehensive health and nutrition package for women and children under five. For children of school age, a programme of school feeding, complete with vaccinations and de-worming treatment, is powerful.

WFP has estimated it would cost about US$5 billion a year to reach all of the women and children not currently being assisted.

It projects that much of the food and other costs would be provided by the developing countries, at a cost of roughly US$2 billion. The remaining US$3 billion would need to come from international sources.

"Extremely challenging"

“Raising that amount is extremely challenging. Generosity, however, is not lacking, especially from individuals, businesses and the government in Japan.

"The Japanese people know from experience that child hunger can be conquered, and that the results are impressive. The school feeding programme in Japan played a large role in the country’s incredible success today,” said Morris.

Millennium Development Goal

WFP is committed to achieving the first Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of the world’s population that suffers from hunger and malnutrition by 2015.

The agency is convinced that the best way to achieve that is by eliminating child hunger, and will strive to achieve that goal in collaboration with major international organizations such as UNICEF.