World Food Programme - WFP


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

WFP Logo

Fighting hunger globally, WFP provides nutrition assistance in crises, disasters and conflicts, and works with people locally to improve their nutritional situation and build resilience.

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

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

Tasks and goals

Since its founding, WFP has pursued a vision: a world in which every person, at all times, has access to the food they need for an active and healthy life.

The organization's Strategic Plan, which is renewed every four years, sets out the organization's strategy. WFP's strategic plans are based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, specifically SDG 2 on ending hunger and SDG 17 on revitalizing global partnerships to implement the SDGs.

Ongoing (“protracted”) conflict, climate change, and economic collapse are responsible for the majority of humanitarian crises worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this toxic mix.

The number of acutely malnourished people in countries where WFP works has more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out two years ago - from 135 million to 276 million currently. Of these, 44 million are at risk of famine alone.

The new 2022-2025 strategic plan is designed to support these people with emergency food assistance while reducing the high demand for humanitarian aid through developmental and resilience-building measures.

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

At the same time, it relies on partnerships, because the current multidimensional humanitarian emergencies can only be addressed by WFP together with its

  • multilateral partners in the UN system and beyond (EU, AU),
  • international financial institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank, and
  • governmental and nongovernmental partners (NGOs, civil society organizations, private sector, philanthropy).

Germany actively supports the WFP in this task, both financially and politically, and among other things through its membership in the WFP Executive Board.

Programme Work

Providing assistance in emergency and crisis situations and saving lives and livelihoods remain core missions of the organization.

These programmes include

  • Direct provision 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's why, in line with its dual (humanitarian and development) mandate, WFP is committed to going beyond emergency food assistance to take a longer-term view of supporting

  • economic and social development,
  • adaptation to climate change by contributing to sustainable food systems,
  • creation of sustainable food security as well as the
  • reduction of undernutrition and malnutrition, especially 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.

Besides 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 Board has been the 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 newly developed policies and strategies.

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

The WFP Executive Director is responsible for the leadership and management of WFP and all its programs, projects, and other activities.

WFP also has four Deputy Executive Directors for specific areas of responsibility.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of FAO jointly appoint the Executive Director(s) of WFP for a term of five years with the possibility of confirmation for additional five-year Terms.


WFP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions and had a budget of approximately USD $15.7 billion in 2021.

In 2021, it received grants of USD $9.5 billion.

This represents almost a doubling from 2014 (USD $4.8 billion).

For 2022, WFP puts its financial needs at $14.8 Billion.

WFP and Germany

Germany has been the WFP's second-largest donor after the United States for several years.

In 2021, Germany's national contributions to the WFP amount to more than $1.4 billion.

Germany also shares in the European Commission's contributions to WFP (2021: $498 million) in line with its share as an EU member state.

Liaison Office Berlin

There are over 70 country offices in addition to eight liaison offices in the main donor countries.

The WFP liaison office in Berlin was established at the end of 2004 with the aim of expanding cooperation with governments in German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, German-speaking Switzerland) and raising public awareness of the issue of hunger.

As of June 2022

WFP Executive Director
David Beasley (United States of America), since 5 April 2017

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

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