WFP has warmly welcomed Poland’s increased support for WFP in addition to its firm commitment to boosting contributions
At last week’s meeting in Cyprus, Poland was at the forefront of EU colleagues in reaffirming their commitment to halve poverty and hunger by 2015
John Powell, WFP’s Deputy Executive Director
towards the eradication of hunger and poverty around the world.
Poland’s donations hit a new high in 2006 – at US$1.2 million for WFP operations in six countries. The total amount for this “breakthrough year” was just short of the sum of contributions (US$1.4 million) given by Poland to WFP during the first five years of this millennium.
“Poland is the most generous of its fellow new European Union Member States,” said John Powell, WFP’s Deputy Executive Director for Fundraising and Communications, speaking at a press conference hosted for WFP by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw.
“At last week’s meeting in Cyprus, Poland was at the forefront of EU colleagues in reaffirming their commitment to halve poverty and hunger by 2015 - the number one Millennium Development Goal.”
By 2010, the 12 new European Member States have set themselves an ODA commitment of 0.17 percent of GNI and 0.33 percent by 2015.
In 2006, contributions from Poland provided much needed support for WFP’s operations to assist the people of Georgia (US$300,000); Afghanistan (US$200,000); the Democratic Republic of Congo (US$200,000); Tanzania (US$200,000 – divided equally between emergency and development); Angola (US$200,000) and Ethiopia (US$100,000).
Polish Aid, the Polish Development Cooperation Department, is WFP’s main partner and was among the first new EU member states in ratifying the Food Aid Convention.
Five pillar strategy
Polish Aid’s new foreign aid strategy for 2007-2013 consists of five pillars – development assistance, democratisation and development of civil society, humanitarian aid, food aid and development education.
“WFP is delighted that Poland treats food assistance as an important element of its foreign aid strategy, focusing on securing long-term food security with the ultimate goal of reducing hunger and malnutrition,” said Powell.
“To this end, we welcome this cooperation, not only with us, but also with the Food and Agriculture Organization and the European Commission.”
The importance of WFP’s work has also been taken up by Poland’s leading athlete and WFP celebrity partner, Robert Korzeniowski.
Today he participated in the WFP press conference in order to launch a public service announcement (PSA – television spot) in which he speaks on behalf of the hungry. Korzeniowski visited WFP school feeding projects in Mali last year.
Speaking today in Warsaw, Korzeniowski said that seeing WFP in action in the field proved to him that food is vital to human development; giving food aid to children at school is one of the best ways of helping a country pull itself out of the vicious cycle of poverty and misery.
Spearheading awareness-raising about hunger last year in Central Europe, Poland also launched WFP’s children’s video game, “Food Force”. With 160,000 copies of the game distributed nationally, Polish Aid also placed it on their website.
Other examples of Poland’s burgeoning interest in WFP in 2006 included a visit to WFP operations in Georgia by Polish parliamentarians, as well as a trip to WFP headquarters in Rome by a team of scientists from the Polish Institute of Agriculture and Food Economics.
Besides discussing priority countries where Poland is considering broadening its partnership with WFP (including Angola, Georgia, Tanzania and Afghanistan) other areas of co-operation were also raised, such as engaging the talent of young Poles as Junior Professional Officers, working for WFP.
“Since my first visit to Poland in 2005, we have seen a significant strengthening of our partnership. A growing partnership with Polish Aid would mean an even greater impact on improving the lives of millions around the world,” Powell said.
“We are tremendously grateful for the Polish people’s generous commitment to help those affected by humanitarian crises and for the confidence you have shown in WFP’s ability to deliver life-saving aid,” he concluded.