Ireland to donate €60m to UN’s World Food Programme

WFP forced to cut food assistance to Syrian refugees by up to 50 per cent in 2015

Yemenis wait to receive food aid from a local relief group providing aid to people affected by ongoing conflict, in Sana’a, Yemen. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Yemenis wait to receive food aid from a local relief group providing aid to people affected by ongoing conflict, in Sana’a, Yemen. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

 

The Irish State is set to donate €60 million to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) over the next three years.

The commitment, which was made by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney at an event in Milan, makes Ireland one of the largest per capita donors to the WFP which feeds 80 million of the most malnourished people in 75 countries.

“The spotlight is on the acute refugee crisis we are seeing day after day in Europe and this demands a response,” said Mr Coveney.

“We cannot ignore the awful spectre of masses of ordinary people fleeing their homelands in search of safety and a better life for their loved ones.

“We are privileged in Europe and that privilege carries a responsibility to care for those that are less fortunate than we are.

“Funding commitments to WFP will not solve the current crisis but they will provide the WFP will the practical means to deliver emergency assistance to the most needy and fragile and to ensure that life-saving supplies of food and nutrition are available at short notice.”

Mr Coveney made the pledge at an event he is co-hosting in Milan with the Italian minister for agriculture, Maurizio Martina, to promote the work of the WFP.

Chief executive of the WFP Etharin Cousin called on the international community last month to continue supporting Syrian refugees and displaced people in neighbouring countries, after the organisation was forced to cut food assistance by up to 50 per cent.

The WFP is facing critical funding shortages that have forced it to reduce the level of assistance it provides to some 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

PA