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WFP Chief and Hungarian Foreign Minister meet to discuss closer cooperation

ROME – The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme David Beasley and Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó met in Rome today to discuss expanded collaboration on supporting vulnerable populations and enhancing administrative efficiency.

As part of expanded dialogue in recent months, Hungary recently contributed $US 3.5 million to WFP in support of the Ukrainian Government's ‘Grain from Ukraine’ initiative aiding WFP to export grains from Ukraine to assist vulnerable populations in food insecure countries.

The Hungarian government has also agreed to host a new WFP office in Budapest. Beasley and Szijjártó today signed a formal agreement for the office, which is expected to open later this year and to take over part of the administrative payments work currently done by Country Offices.

“The money we save can be redirected to WFP’s operations, and with less work to do processing invoices and payments, our frontline teams will be able to focus on delivering life-saving food and hope to vulnerable communities around the world,” said Beasley.  

In the long-run, the new office, which will employ about 80 mostly Hungarian staff, is expected to produce significant efficiency savings on an annual basis. 

The move sees WFP following in the footsteps of UNICEF, FAO AND UNHCR, who already have similar offices in Budapest and have obtained efficiency gains as a result. The move is also in line with the efficiency goals set out by the UN Secretary General in his UN reform targets.

In a further sign of expanding collaboration, Hungary last year briefly hosted one of the emergency offices set up by WFP to respond to the early stages of the crisis in Ukraine.