Canada responds to hunger and other humanitarian crises
Ottawa, Monday, May 29, 2006 - The Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of International Cooperation, and her Parliamentary Secretary, Ted Menzies, met today with the World Food Programme Executive Director James Morris, during his official visit to Ottawa. Minister Verner noted that so far this year, Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has provided over $100 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to address emergency and chronic food shortages around the world.
"Canada is deeply concerned about the millions of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition globally, most of whom live in Africa," said Minister Verner. "Canada's ongoing support to the World Food Programme not only ensures that urgent food aid reaches those who need it most, it also contributes to the alleviation of human suffering, saving lives and improving food security."
During their meeting, Minister Verner and Mr. Morris discussed the earthquake disaster in Indonesia and how best CIDA could respond to the needs on the ground. Mr. Morris noted that the WFP has already accessed funds from the Immediate Response Account, supported by Canada, to respond to the current disaster. The WFP is one of the UN humanitarian organizations currently responding to the earthquake.
CIDA's recent food aid has helped support efforts to reduce hunger and malnutrition resulting from extreme drought conditions, conflict and disasters, as well as food shortages mainly in Africa and the Americas. This year, the WFP is seeking to provide an estimated 90 million people with food aid to sustain lives and livelihoods.
"The impact of CIDA's contributions and its generosity are felt every day by millions of poor and hungry people throughout the world," said Mr. Morris. "While ordinary Canadians may not always see their country's incredible commitment at work, we do and it has made the difference between life and death for millions of people whose lives have been destroyed by conflict as well as natural disasters."
CIDA is committed to strengthening systems that ensure more rapid and equitable responses to humanitarian emergencies. For example, it worked closely with the international community in shaping the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which allows humanitarian agencies to kick-start emergency operations to save lives and respond more quickly to critical needs. In the case of Darfur, the WFP was able to draw on urgently needed funds from the CERF to address the dire food situation in the region.
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Canada's assistance to the World Food Programme and the Central Emergency Response Fund
So far this year, Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has provided over $100 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its global efforts to reduce hunger and malnutrition resulting from extreme drought conditions, conflict and disasters, as well as food shortages. The WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency. Each year, it provides food aid to about 90 million people, including 56 million hungry children, in more than 80 countries. Canada is currently the second largest donor to the WFP. Canada is also ranked among the top five donors to the United Nation's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
Drought Relief and Emergency Food Aid ($35 million)
Over $26 million has been provided for WFP emergency operations in countries affected by drought in East Africa, such as Kenya ($6.5 million), Somalia ($1.5 million), Ethiopia ($16 million), Tanzania ($2.1 million), and Djibouti ($600,000). This region has experienced its worst drought conditions in years; between 6 and 15 million people required emergency food aid and millions more faced chronic food shortages due to extreme poverty.
In addition, more than $9 million has been provided for emergency food aid to neighbouring countries such as Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and for a WFP regional appeal for the neighbouring Great Lakes countries which were affected by drought, conflicts, and regional food shortages.
Sudan Crisis ($14.5 million)
Canada has provided $14.5 million for the WFP response to the crisis in Sudan. These funds have been used to purchase commodities such as yellow split peas and maize and are contributing to efforts to meet the needs of some 6 million people throughout the country.
Other countries in Africa, North Caucasus and the Americas ($28.5 million)
Funding has also been provided to support other WFP operations in Africa ($14.5 million), the North Caucasus ($1 million) and the Americas ($13 million), including:
- Over $7.5 million for development and food security initiatives in Ethiopia;
- $12 million for food aid in Haiti;
- $500,000 for WFP operations in Guatemala following the effects of Hurricane Stan; and
- $500,000 for WFP's operations in Colombia for people displaced by violence.
Other WFP Operations ($28.5 million)
Canada has provided $19 million in core funding to the WFP for development food aid; and A further $3.5 million for WFP's for operations targetting refugees and displaced populations.
In addition, Canada has contributed $6 million to the WFP's Immediate Response Account (IRA). Canada is currently the leading contributor to the IRA. The WFP can draw on IRA funds to allow early and rapid action in an emergency. By making contributions early in the calendar year and being more flexible in terms of where they can be used, Canada has increased the WPF's ability to plan and respond to many of these emergencies.
In addition to providing food aid, Canada is committed to strengthening the overall humanitarian system to ensure more rapid and equitable responses to humanitarian emergencies. One of Canada's key initiatives is a commitment to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF):
Canada contributed $24.4 million to the CERF, which was established in March 2006, to allow humanitarian agencies to kick-start emergency operations to save lives and respond to critical needs faster. In the case of Darfur, the WFP was able to draw on urgently needed funds from the CERF to address the dire food situation in the region.