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Annual performance report for 2019

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Executive summary

Hunger facts: World hunger increased for the third consecutive year, leaving nearly 822 million people undernourished primarily as a result of continued conflicts, climate-related crises and economic shocks.
Acute food insecurity affected 135 million people in 55 countries in 2019; this number is predicted to double in 2020 as the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) becomes a new driver of food insecurity.

Resourcing facts: WFP’s revenue increased by 10 percent to a record USD 8 billion in 2019. The top five donors contributed 76 percent of funding, with 36 percent designated for large-scale operations in South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. The generous contributions were insufficient to cover identified needs of food-insecure populations, with a funding gap of USD 4.1 billion.

Reach facts: WFP responded to an unprecedented number of Level 3 and Level 2 emergencies in 20 countries. Across 88 countries, assistance was provided to 68.1 million local residents – 27 percent more than in 2018 – and 15.5 million internally displaced persons, 18 percent more than in 2018.

Performance facts: School meals were provided to 17.3 million schoolchildren, while nutrition programmes reached 17.2 million beneficiaries – 10.8 million children and 6.4 million women and girls. Through food assistance for assets programmes, nearly 134,000 ha of land and forest was rehabilitated or replanted and more than 50,000 community assets such as community infrastructure, roads and water points were built or rehabilitated. A record USD 2.1 billion in cash-based transfers was distributed in 2019. As in 2018, WFP’s overall performance in functional areas was rated “medium” to “high”, with work in 90 percent of these areas rated as meeting or on track to meet its targets. The year 2019 was the first for which performance reporting is in full alignment with the aims of country strategic plans (CSPs).

Part I: Introduction

WFP’s performance in 2019 continued the trends observed in 2017 and 2018. Despite facing an increasing number of humanitarian crises, record funding levels enabled WFP to effectively reach the highest number of beneficiaries since 2011. This annual performance report analyses the trends and challenges affecting WFP’s response, and its achievements in 2019.

Complexity of response efforts. WFP responded effectively to the challenging rise in the number, duration and complexity of crises in 2019. These crises were driven primarily by violent conflicts, which affected more people than in any of the previous 20 years, protracted conflicts in countries including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen, and the adverse impacts of climate change on agricultural production and food security. Environmental risks such as extreme weather events were among the top five global hazards identified in 2019. Although outbreaks of infectious diseases have become more frequent, many countries were unprepared to respond to a pandemic. Driven by these risks and economic and political fragility, the number of hungry people in the world remained high, at nearly 822 million, and an estimated 135 million people in 55 countries experienced acute food insecurity in 2019.

Funding and WFP response. Donors generously provided a record-breaking USD 8 billion to WFP in 2019. This funding enabled WFP and partners to reach 97.1 million beneficiaries – including 26 million internally displaced persons and refugees – with 4.2 million mt of food and USD 2.1 billion of cash and vouchers. Continued high levels of earmarking, primarily to a small number of high-profile operations, meant that many “forgotten crises” experienced resource shortfalls ranging from 30 to 100 percent.

United Nations development system reform. WFP’s work in 2019 was governed by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It was an important year for repositioning of the United Nations development system. WFP was closely engaged in designing key elements of the reform, in particular the management and accountability framework and the United Nations sustainable development cooperation framework, and co-chaired the Business Innovations Strategic Results Group in the development of system-wide guidance and tools for improving business operations.

Corporate emergency responses. In 2019, WFP responded to the highest number of severe emergencies ever: seven Level 3 and 11 Level 2 emergencies in 20 countries. WFP activated Level 3 emergency responses in the central Sahel and Mozambique and continued supporting existing Level 3 responses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen. The Global Surge Unit established early in the year to ensure that experienced staff are available for immediate deployment during emergencies enabled staff deployment within the first hours following a crisis in countries that included Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Mozambique.

Rome-based agencies. The Rome-based agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and WFP – strengthened their collaboration in 2019, particularly at the field level, through the adoption of a two-year action plan and the implementation of several pilots on joint strategic planning and programming and on South–South exchanges. These built on the successful results of the third year of the Rome-based agencies/Canada resilience initiative aimed at improving the nutrition, food security and resilience of crisis-affected people in three countries.