Sharing the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola with Haiti, the Dominican Republic is an upper-middle-income country, ranking 80 out of 189 countries in the 2021-22 Human Development Index.
Over the past decade, the country has experienced sustained economic growth and stability – but inequalities persist. Poverty affects nearly a quarter of the population and extreme poverty affects almost 3 percent. Most low-income families live in urban areas, with 63 percent headed by women.
Inequalities drive food insecurity in the country, with restricted purchasing power among vulnerable groups, limited coverage of basic services and safety nets, inadequate regulation of markets, and recurrent shocks. Additionally, undernutrition and overweight/obesity – known as the double burden of malnutrition – cost the country 2.6 percent of its GDP.
The Dominican Republic is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Floods, droughts and other disasters cost lives, livelihoods and government finances, and seriously threaten public and private investments in sustainable development. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable due to gender inequalities.
COVID-19 doubled food-insecurity levels in the country, affecting 1.5 million people. The basic family food basket is more than double the minimum wage. This situation has worsened because of post-COVID-19 price increases and the effects of the war in Ukraine. One out of three households lacks access to a nutritious diet.
The World Food Programme has been in the Dominican Republic since 1969. We support the country’s efforts to achieve zero hunger through technical assistance to strengthen national capacities, and develop strategies that contribute to healthy, nutritious and sufficient food. We also promote the resilience of vulnerable people to the worst effects of climate crisis.
What the World Food Programme is doing in the Dominican Republic
Advocacy, communication and policies for zero hunger
WFP promotes advocacy and social mobilization through the Zero Hunger Movement national initiative with the private sector and civil society, promoting nutritious, healthy diets via cooking shows, community workshops and the support of local social media influencers.
Improving nutrition and social protection
WFP supports the Government in ensuring that the most vulnerable groups have increased access to nutritious food – through social protection programmes and primary health care targeting children under 5, pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls, adolescent girls, elderly people, and people living with HIV and/or tuberculosis. We also support the design of innovative policies, strategies and programmes to accelerate the goal of ending malnutrition in the country, such as rice fortification.
Emergency preparedness and response
WFP works with national and local institutions to improve both institutional capacities for tackling, and people’s resilience to, climate-related shocks. We work with local governments to map affectated zones, using artificial intelligence and drones. Crisis-affected populations receive food and nutrition assistance during, and in the aftermath, of shocks, including vouchers.
WFP supports the wider humanitarian community, private sector and Government in providing a more coordinated, efficient and effective response, increasing geographic scope through the operation of warehouses and collection centres for assistance.
As storms batter the Dominican Republic, its people are better prepared
Story | 24 October 2023
Earth Day: Drought, floods and how WFP climate action in Haiti and the Caribbean protects people and planet
Story | 22 April 2022
Maria recalls how ‘magic meals’ set her on path to life as a humanitarian
Story | 13 August 2019