European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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World Food Day 2015: More effective EU food assistance with cash

Cash assistance to typhoon-affected population in Cambodia. ©DCA/CA Charles Fox

Around one in nine people in the world goes to bed hungry every day. Although the number of people suffering from hunger worldwide has fallen by around 20% over the last decade, the fight against food insecurity remains very high on the global agenda.

The European Commission plays a leading role in providing food and nutrition assistance during emergencies. In 2014, the European Commission provided €349 million – almost a third of its annual humanitarian budget – for humanitarian food assistance projects, which were implemented by partner organisations in 54 countries.

To ensure aid is delivered effectively and efficiently, the European Commission adapts its food assistance to each specific crisis situation. For instance, when food is available in shops, but people cannot afford to purchase it, the European Commission provides its assistance in the form of cash. This is often better than shipping sacks of food across the globe, as it supports the local economy and boosts self-reliance. Multi-purpose cash transfer programmes aim to address the basic needs of victims of disasters and conflicts in a more coherent and dignified way. They respond to different humanitarian needs, including food.

Here are some examples of EU food assistance distributed via cash.

On the occasion of World Food Day 2015 which takes place on 16 October, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is organising two events in Brussels and at Expo Milan.

On the eve of the international day, on 15 October, ‘The Family Meal: What brings us together?' photo exhibition – which has been on display at the Parlamentarium in Brussels since June this year – will stay open until 10 pm featuring an event with live African music and tasting of meals from the countries which receive EU food assistance. For more information visit the Family Meal exhibition page.

Also today, the European Commission in cooperation with the Italian Development Cooperation, is organising a concert at Expo Milan to raise awareness about the need for action to ensure sufficient, safe, healthy and sustainable food for everyone. The No Hunger Orchestra, a very special music band using instruments made of non-edible parts of food created by the European Commission and the NGO Action Against Hunger in 2013, will perform in an event featuring also Fronteras Musicales Abiertas and composer Giovanni Allevi. Read more about the Food Moves the World concert.

Publication date
15/10/2015