General Studies IIInternational OrganizationsINTERNATIONAL RELATION

United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP)


The MoU on cooperation for 2019-2023 signed between Government of India & the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP)

World Food Programme (WFP)

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations.
  • It is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the largest one focused on hunger and food security, and the largest provider of school meals.
  • Founded in 1961
  • It is headquartered in Rome 
  • As of 2019, it served 97 million people in 88 countries, the largest since 2012, with two-thirds of its activities conducted in conflict zones.
  • In addition to emergency food relief, WFP offers technical assistance and development aid, such as building capacity for emergency preparedness and response, managing supply chains and logistics, promoting social safety programs, and strengthening resilience against climate change.
  • The agency is also a major provider of direct cash assistance and medical supplies, and provides passenger services for humanitarian workers
  • WFP is an executive member of the United Nations Development Group, a consortium of UN entities that aims to fulfil the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), with a priority on achieving SDG 2 for “zero hunger” by 2030.
  • The World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for its efforts to provide food assistance in areas of conflict, and to prevent the use of food as a weapon of war and conflict.

World Food Programme Functioning

WFP is funded completely by voluntary donations. 

  • It is governed by an Executive Board composed of 36 member states. 
  • It works in close tandem with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 
  • WFP also works in collaboration with several national and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is headed by an Executive Director, who is jointly appointed by the Secretary-General of the UN and the Director-General of the FAO.

WFP Focus Areas

  1. Climate action
  2. Disaster risk reduction
  3. Gender equality
  4. Nutrition
  5. Smallholder market support
  6. Social protection and safety nets
  7. Sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems


Objectives of World Food Programme (WFP)

  • WFP focuses on emergency assistance as well as rehabilitation and development aid.
    • Two-thirds of its work is in conflict-affected countries, where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than elsewhere.
  • To end hunger by protecting access to food. Zero hunger 2030.
  • Supporting the SDG implementation and partnering for its results.
  • Improving nutrition and achieving food security.
  • It works closely with the other two Rome-based UN agencies:
    • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which helps countries draw up policy and change legislation to support sustainable agriculture
    • The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which finances projects in poor rural areas.

WFP’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2021

  • It was adopted just over a year after the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It aligns the organization’s work to the 2030 Agenda’s global call to action, which prioritizes efforts to end poverty, hunger and inequality, encompassing humanitarian as well as development efforts.
    • The Strategic Plan is guided by the SDGs set forth in the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 2 on ending hunger and SDG 17 on revitalizing global partnerships for implementation of the SDGs.
  • It ushers in a new planning and operational structure, including the implementation of results-based country portfolios that will maximize WFP’s contribution to governments’ efforts towards achieving the SDGs.
  • Responding to emergencies and saving lives and livelihoods – either through direct assistance, or by strengthening country capacities – remains at the heart of WFP’s operations, especially as humanitarian needs become increasingly complex and protracted.
  • WFP will support countries in ensuring no one is left behind by continuing to build resilience for food security and nutrition and addressing the growing challenges posed by climate change and rising inequality.


WFP and India

WFP has been working in India since 1963, with work transitioning from food distribution to technical assistance since the country achieved self-sufficiency in cereal production. The areas in which WFP mainly assists in India are:

  • Transforming the targeted public distribution system: WFP is working to improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of India’s own subsidized food distribution system, which brings supplies of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil to around 800 million poor people across the country.
  • Fortification of government distributed food: To boost the nutritional value of the Government’s Midday Meal school feeding programme, WFP is pioneering the multi-micronutrient fortification of school meals.
    • The pilot project saw rice fortified with iron, which was distributed in a single district, resulting in a 20 percent drop in anaemia.
    • It has also helped tackle malnutrition by fortifying food given to babies and young children in Kerala State.
  • Mapping and monitoring of food insecurity: WFP has used Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping softwares to identify India’s most food insecure areas, which allows policy and relief work to be targeted appropriately.
    • WFP is also supporting the government’s Poverty and Human Development Monitoring Agency in establishing a State-level Food Security Analysis Unit, working towards the goal of achieving Zero Hunger.

Source: PIB

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