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Flexible funding from Belgium powers WFP to address food crises and build resilience

BRUSSELS – At a time of unprecedented demands on the humanitarian system, the Government of Belgium is stepping up to ensure that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has flexibility in deciding how the funds it provides are spent.

Belgium recently committed €14.4 million to WFP, the country’s first fully flexible multi-year contribution to the organization. This will enable WFP to allocate funding where needs are greatest and most immediate from 2018 to 2020. 

“Flexible funds give us the freedom we need to respond more quickly, save on costs, plan for the longer term and prevent disruptions to our life-saving work,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “To make the most of precious donor resources, we call on more of our government partners to provide funding that is unearmarked, predictable, and usable over multiple years.” 

Belgium’s flexible contribution will empower WFP to maximize the impact of donor funding at a moment of unparalleled needs, exemplified by multiple large-scale hunger crises facing the organization. Simultaneously, flexible funds allow WFP to invest in bridging the gap between humanitarian and development operations, while building the foundation for longer-term resilience where possible.

“For many years Belgium has led by example when it comes to granting core contributions. The Grand Bargain summit in 2016 has only reinforced Belgium’s commitment to increase core funding to trusted humanitarian partners such as WFP,” said Alexander De Croo, Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation. “Core contributions allow our partners more flexibility, speed of delivery and efficiency. At the same time, increased accountability and transparency is required. Granting flexible core funding to trusted humanitarian partners such as WFP represents a modern way of delivering humanitarian aid.”

Thanks to flexible donors like Belgium, WFP recently allocated more than €146 million to some 60 country operations – while providing a vital and urgent boost to lifesaving efforts in Syria, Yemen, the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. These funds will also surge support to development projects and provide food assistance to refugees and displaced people. 

Under the agreement known as the Grand Bargain, concluded at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, leading donors committed to progressively reduce earmarking, with an aim of achieving a global target of 30 percent of humanitarian funding with fewer restrictions by 2020. However, governments like Belgium – that provide much-needed flexible contributions – are still very much in the minority, as many specify how and where the money can be spent. 

Flexible funding to WFP last year sat at just seven percent of the total resources provided to WFP, well below a high-water mark of 20 percent set in 2002. 

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The United Nations World Food Programme - saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

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For more information please contact (email address: 
Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Mob. +39 346 7600521
Aneta Szczyglowska, WFP/Brussels, Tel. +32 (0)2 500 09 13