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Ireland Signs Three Year €21M Partnership Agreement with UN World Food Programme

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D, and the Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello T.D., today signed a three-year Strategic Partnership Agreement with the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, in Dublin. The WFP is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.

The agreement sets out shared objectives in the area of humanitarian assistance, as well as committing Ireland to providing a minimum of €7 million a year to WFP for the next three years.

The agreement was signed, at Dublin Castle today during the Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice Conference which is co-hosted by the Government of Ireland and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice in partnership with WFP and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

The agreement formalises a long-standing relationship between Ireland and the WFP. In addition to the core contribution of a minimum of €7 million a year, which will be funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to provide funding in response to humanitarian emergences.

 Minister Coveney commented that “I am delighted to be a signatory to this important agreement which deepens Ireland’s long-standing partnership with the WFP. Given our history, hunger and famine are issues which resonate strongly with Irish people and I am proud that notwithstanding the recent downturn in our economy, we have been able to maintain our core contribution to the WFP at the same level in recent years. I was pleased to hear from Executive Director Cousin the valuable contribution which our funding is making to saving lives around the world. We also discussed priorities for the use of the Irish funding over the life-time of this agreement and I have emphasised to the Executive Director our willingness to assist and support the WFP’s work in any way feasible”.

Minister Costello said: “WFP is one of Ireland’s key partners and we greatly value their tireless work to eradicate hunger and tackle under-nutrition. It is particularly fitting that this agreement has been signed at today’s important Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice Conference, where 350 people from Developing and Developed countries  are all discussing how best we can fight the scourge of hunger and under-nutrition in the context of a changing climate.   In addition to the generous contribution announced by Minister Coveney today, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides funding to WFP for their work in supporting vulnerable people caught up in natural or other disasters.  Already this year, I have approved €2.25 million in funding for WFP’s emergency food assistance programmes in Syria and Mali, as well as for the crucial services provided by the UN Humanitarian Air Service”.

 Executive Director Cousin said: “Hunger has left its mark on the history and the people of Ireland, yet the legacy of their bitter experience is one of generosity towards the millions around the world who still struggle to access healthy nutritious food.  This latest commitment of support for WFP’s work on the frontlines of hunger underlines the steadfast support that Ireland and the Irish public have given to WFP over many years.  We recognise that it is hard to give when times are tough at home but that makes this contribution all the more valuable to us as we continue our vital work among the world’s hungry poor”.

Notes for Editors:

  • WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.  Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.
  • Ireland’s support to WFP in 2012 amounted to €14 million, just under €10 million of which was provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
  • Irish Aid’s contribution was provided for emergency activities in Chad, Syria and the Sahel region and for the operation of the UN Humanitarian Air Service, which is managed by WFP.
  • Ireland provides annual support to WFP for the operation of the UN Humanitarian Relief Depots, a network of strategically-located depots where essential relief items are stockpiled for rapid transport to emergency situations.
  • Ireland also frequently deploys humanitarian specialist staff from its Rapid Response Corps to support WFP’s emergency activities. Eight such deployments took place in 2012 and three to date in 2013
  • WFP is one of the convening partners, along with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), and the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice (MRFCJ), for the Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice Conference, which takes place from 15-16 April, 2013.

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Date Released: 15 April 2013