Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced a new $25 million contribution to the World Food Programme (WFP) during the first official visit to Australia by its Executive Director, Ms Ertharin Cousin.
Minister Carr said the money would address pressing needs in the Sahel, South Sudan and Pakistan.
"I am pleased we are able to announce an extra $10 million for the escalating food crisis in the Sahel and $5 million for WFP operations in South Sudan."
"The situation in the Sahel is an extremely serious food security emergency, with an estimated 18 million people affected by drought and severe impending food shortages.
"In South Sudan, as many as 4.7 million people – around half the population – will soon require urgent humanitarian assistance due to high local food prices, poor harvests and local conflicts.
"Our contributions will play a key role in addressing the ongoing African crises, by helping provide for those most in need.
"The remaining $10 million will go towards WFP operations in Pakistan, where considerable challenges from malnutrition and food insecurity continue to be faced," Senator Carr said.
This new funding builds on close to $128 million in Australian support this financial year for WFP operations across Africa, Asia and Latin America, including $12 million previously provided for the Sahel and South Sudan.
Senator Carr said he was delighted to be meeting with Ms Cousin so early in her role as the new Executive Director.
"The WFP is Australia's largest partner for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Ms Cousin praised Australia for its generous and flexible support – allowing the WFP to do its job of feeding the most vulnerable in the most efficient way possible."
"Over the past two years alone, Australian funds have helped to feed more than 5.5 million people who would otherwise have gone hungry."
Australia was the first country to agree to a flexible multi-year partnership and funding arrangement with the WFP and other donors are now following Australia's lead.
The Australian Government's recent assessment of multilateral agencies ranked the WFP as one of the most effective recipients of Australian aid funds.
"This additional funding demonstrates the continued confidence Australia has in the WFP and I look forward to continuing our partnership well into the future," Senator Carr added.
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