World Food Programme - WFP


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian organization.

WFP Logo

The WFP provides food assistance in response to crises, disasters and conflicts in the fight against world hunger, and works with people on the ground to improve their food security and strengthen their resilience.

In 2022, WFP assisted 150 million people in 81 countries.

Germany has been actively supporting WFP in this mission, both financially and politically. As a member of the Executive Board, Germany plays a shaping role.

Since 2016, Germany ranks as WFP's second largest donor: in 2022, Germany's voluntary contribution amounted to over 1.7 billion euros.

In December 2020, WFP received the Nobel Peace Prize for its global efforts in the fight against hunger. Among other things, WFP was the logistical backbone of the entire UN system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tasks and goals

WFP was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1961, initially as a three-year emergency food assistance programme within the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and was made permanent as a de facto independent UN programme in 1965.

WFP's goal since then has been to fight world hunger and improve nutritional livelihoods worldwide.

The organization's Strategic Plan, which is renewed every four years, defines the organization's goals and tasks in concrete terms. It is based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 2 on ending hunger and SDG 17 on revitalizing global partnerships to implement the SDGs.

The new 2022-2025 Strategic Plan aims to provide emergency food assistance to people acutely at risk of hunger, while improving nutritional livelihoods through development and resilience-building interventions.

It places greater emphasis on tools such as anticipatory humanitarian assistance, for example, to intervene early in anticipation of natural disasters to prevent a humanitarian emergency.

Causes of hunger and the current food crisis

Conflicts, natural disasters, economic crises, and climate change are responsible for the majority of humanitarian crises worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine had further worsened the already precarious global food situation.

In countries where WFP works, for example, the number of acutely malnourished people has grown dramatically since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic - from 135 million to 349 million currently. Of these, nearly 51 million are at risk of famine, and for 900,000 people it is already a reality.

What does WFP do in concrete terms?

The World Food Programme is active in more than 80 countries around the world with over 21,000 people working for it. Providing assistance in emergency and crisis situations and saving lives and livelihoods remain core missions of the organization.

These programmes include

  • direct supply of food, cash or vouchers to victims of crises and disasters, supplemented by
  • transitional assistance to stabilize after acute emergencies and bridge the gap between emergency relief and subsequent development cooperation.

Hunger, peace and development are closely linked. That is why, in line with its dual (humanitarian and development) mandate, WFP has a longer-term commitment beyond emergency food assistance to supporting

  • economic and social development,
  • adapting to climate change by contributing to sustainable food systems,
  • creating sustainable food security, and reducing malnutrition and undernourishment.
  • reducing undernutrition and malnutrition specifically among young children and mothers.

Such long-term food security interventions strengthen people's resilience, prevent new crises or mitigate their impact, and maintain peace.

In addition to food assistance, WFP provides logistical services to other humanitarian actors in the UN system in crisis areas (e.g., air services for humanitarian workers, transport and storage facilities for relief supplies).

Institutional Structure

Since 1996, the Executive Council has been the central governing and oversight body of WFP. It is composed of 36 Member States, half of whom are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council and half by the FAO Council.

The Executive Board meets three times a year and reviews projects proposed by the WFP Executive Director, administrative and program budgets, and adopts strategies for individual countries or activities.

Germany is a founding member of WFP and a member of the Executive Board.

The Executive Director of WFP has responsibility for the direction and management of WFP and all its programs, projects, and other activities.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of FAO, after consultation with the Executive Council, jointly appoint the Executive Director of WFP for a term of five years, with the possibility of confirmation for up to an additional five years.

WFP has five deputy executive directors. Ute Klamert is the first German Deputy Executive Director of WFP and is responsible for partnerships and advocacy.


WFP is funded entirely through voluntary contributions. In 2022, WFP received grants of approximately USD 14.2 billion. This is nearly a threefold increase from 2014 ($4.8 billion).

Despite these record grants, the funding gap is large: for 2023, WFP projects a financial need of USD 22 billion.

WFP and Germany

For several years, Germany has been the WFP's second-largest donor after the United States. In 2022, Germany's national contributions to WFP totaled more than Eure 1.7 billion.

Germany also shares in the European Commission's contributions to WFP (2022: $698 million) in line with its share as an EU member state.

The German government supports WFP across the full spectrum of its dual mandate for (acute) nutrition assistance and long-term projects.

Within the government, the Federal Foreign Office supports the humanitarian aid sector, while the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports WFP's medium- and long-term development cooperation.

As of February 2023

WFP Executive Director
Cindy McCain (United States of America), since April 2023

World Food Programme
Via Cesare Giulio Viola, 68
Parco dei Medici
00148 - Rome, Italy
Internet: https://www.wfp.org/

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