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WFP welcomes US$20.8 million from Japan

The Government of Japan announced today a major contribution of US$20.8 million (JPY2.52 billion) to WFP which will assist millions of vulnerable and chronically food insecure people in 13 countries spread throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Government of Japan announced today a major contribution of US$20.8 million (JPY2.52 billion) to WFP which will assist millions of vulnerable and chronically food insecure people in 13 countries spread throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Japan’s partnership with WFP is vital to achieving social protection and sustainable development in Africa

Eri Kudo, Officer-in-Charge of WFP Office in Japan

The funds will be used to buy food including cereals, pulses, fortified blended food and canned tuna.

This significant contribution from Japan gives special attention to Africa, with two-thirds of the package (US$13.9 million; JPY1.68 billion) allocated to WFP’s social protection programmes in nine African countries.

Generous support

“We sincerely appreciate this most generous support from Japan,” said Eri Kudo, Officer-in-Charge of WFP Office in Japan. “Many households in these countries are persistently unable to meet their daily requirements due to chronic poverty driven by conflict, natural disasters and HIV/AIDS. Japan’s partnership with WFP is vital to achieving social protection and sustainable development in Africa.”

In Lesotho, for example, WFP is currently working with the national government to develop food security and disaster mitigation capacities which will address recurrent natural disasters and HIV/AIDS.

Protecting livelihoods

Japan’s contribution will be used to provide food aid to the most vulnerable populations, including 137,000 school children, pregnant and nursing mothers and patients with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis. Food will help protect their livelihoods and enhance their resilience to crises.

At the fourth Annual Consultation held in Tokyo last month, WFP and the Government of Japan reconfirmed the importance of aid to Africa, ahead of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) and G-8 Summit to be hosted by Japan next year.

“The contribution announced today reaffirms Japan’s commitment to Africa. Together Japan and WFP will assist African countries to strengthen their capacity to combat hunger,” Kudo said.

Chronic poverty

Beyond Africa, Japan is allocating US$6 million (JPY720 million) to Asia in support of vulnerable people affected by natural disasters and chronic poverty.

Through WFP, Japan will assist Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Timor-Leste with donations of US$3.3 million (JPY400 million), US$1.7 million (JPY210 million) and US$0.9 million (JPY110 million) respectively.

Cambodia has the one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS and TB prevalence in Asia, and 35 percent of its population lives below the poverty line.

WFP’s food aid is essential to optimising the benefits of treatment and care for HIV/AIDS and TB patients by improving their nutrition and food security.

Crucial timing

Japan’s aid comes at a crucial moment, as a funding shortage forced WFP to progressively reduce rations to beneficiaries since October 2006.

The temporary suspension of food aid to students, HIV/AIDS- and TB-affected beneficiaries has led to a reduction of WFP assistance to over 70 percent of its usual beneficiaries since February.

In Latin America, US$1 million (JPY120 million) will go to WFP operations in Nicaragua, where recurrent natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, and droughts have resulted in food shortages.

Empowering women

WFP Deputy Executive Director, Sheila Sisulu, will visit Japan from 4 to 8 March to attend the International Women’s Day 2007 Public Forum.

She will deliver a statement on WFP’s role in promoting the empowerment of women and girls, and will take the opportunity to personally thank the Government of Japan for their generous contributions.

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