Irish Government reaffirms support for World Food Programme
Minister of State Tom Kitt TD met today with James Morris the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The World Food Programme is the largest agency in the world with a mandate to provide assistance to vulnerable people in times of famine and conflict. In 2003 it is estimated that almost 109 million people will depend on the agency for food.
Ireland enjoys a close working relationship with the WFP which is now the largest recipient of emergency and recovery funding from Development Cooperation Ireland (DCI) - the official aid programme of the Irish Government (€6.6 million in 2002).
The total funding for the WFP from the Irish Government in 2002 amounted to over €11 million, coming from both the Department of Agriculture and DCI. This is a clear vote of confidence in the work of the WFP organisation and an indication of the shared objectives of saving lives and helping to rebuild the livelihoods of some of the poorest people in the world. Ireland worked closely with WFP last year in southern Africa. A full blown famine was averted there as a result of a concerted response by WFP, donors and partner governments.
Speaking at the meeting Minister Kitt stated:
Food is one of the most basic needs for survival and unfortunately millions of poor and vulnerable people worldwide do not have easy access to even the basic minimum of nutritional requirements. Famine and war are the principal culprits in this state of affairs. We must endeavour to address the basic causes of food insecurity. We are doing this through renewed efforts on livelihood support and agricultural research.
The work of the WFP is saving millions and millions of lives by delivering food to the most needy, in difficult and often dangerous environments. I wish to use this opportunity of the visit of James Morris to pay tribute to him and his organisation for their magnificent work in serving the poorest all over the world. I also wish to assure him of the continuing support of the Government and people of Ireland in these efforts.