New Food Assistance Convention comes into force
01/01/2013 - The new Food Assistance Convention comes into force on 01 January 2013. Strongly supported by the European Commission, the Food Assistance Convention is an agreement confirming the international community’s commitment to fight against hunger and under-nutrition.
One of the most important achievements of the new Convention is a fundamental shift in the approach, moving from food aid to food assistance. The signatories agreed to distribute food only when strictly necessary to meet the immediate nutritional needs of the most vulnerable people. Otherwise, aid should come in the form of money so that affected people can buy food locally. This upholds their dignity and helps promote local markets, benefitting local farming and food supply systems.
When the EU ratified the Convention in November 2012, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, emphasised: "By being among the first to ratify the Convention, the EU confirms Europe’s solidarity with almost 900 million people in the world suffering from food and nutrition insecurity. Under-nutrition in young children takes a heavy toll on their development, as well as on national economies. Among the 171 million children under five that are affected by stunting, there are 55 million who suffer from acute malnutrition and 20 million victims of severe acute malnutrition."
The European Commission is one of the world's major donors of food assistance. This sector is the single largest in the Commission’s humanitarian aid budget. In 2011 the European Commission provided €509 million for humanitarian food assistance and nutrition projects with 57 partner organisations in 47 countries. Since 2010, through its humanitarian food assistance policy, the European Commission has supported an estimated 100 million people facing acute food insecurity.
The Food Assistance Convention is an international agreement negotiated by the European Union and 35 countries (all EU Member States plus Argentina, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the United States). Following the consent of the European Parliament the European Union ratified the new Food Assistance Convention on 28 November 2012.