The European Commission and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will scale up joint efforts to fight the threat of hunger to women and children when they sign an agreement designating €30 million to humanitarian assistance in the Sahel.
WFP is aiming to provide food assistance to 8 million people across the African region; these new funds will support feeding programmes for one million children under two years of age and half a million pregnant and breast-feeding mothers who risk malnutrition in the coming months.
‘In the Sahel the early warning signals are loud and clear. We're doing everything we can now to reduce the impact of a failed harvest and prevent it from turning into another major food crisis,’ said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
‘The European Commission is one of the world's largest humanitarian donors and WFP is the largest provider of emergency food assistance so our partnership is natural, our alliance is strong and our collaboration has sustained many suffering men, women and children during many food crises.’
‘The window of opportunity to save millions from malnutrition in the Sahel is rapidly closing,’ said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. ‘The European Commission is providing vital resources that WFP needs to act quickly and save lives among the vulnerable women and children who are most at risk from the hunger caused by this regional drought.’
Last week the Commission increased the funding it is allocating to the Sahel food crisis to nearly €275 million.
The upcoming agreement represents yet another step, taken together, in the 20-year partnership between WFP and the European Commission. The WFP turns 50 this year and ECHO – the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department – turns 20.