Flexible Donors Power WFP With $180 Million to Address Crises, Build Resilience

Published April 4, 2018
Last Updated May 19, 2021

ROME – At a time of unprecedented demands on the humanitarian system, a group of government partners are stepping up to ensure that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has flexible funding to meet acute humanitarian needs in sudden onset emergencies and neglected or protracted crises.

Thanks to these donors, WFP recently allocated US$180 million to some sixty country operations – while providing a vital and urgent boost to lifesaving efforts in Syria, Yemen, the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. These funds will also surge support to development projects and provide food assistance to refugees and displaced people. 

“Flexible funds give us the freedom we need to respond more quickly, save on costs, plan for the longer term and prevent disruptions to our life-saving work,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “To make the most of precious donor resources, we call on more of our government partners to provide funding that is unearmarked, predictable, and usable over multiple years.”

With the backing of donor governments and other partners, WFP is responding to an unparalleled six large-scale hunger emergencies at the same time. Whether beating back famine in South Sudan or saving lives of the Rohingya in the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis in Bangladesh, WFP is a vital component of the international response to pull people back from the brink of starvation.

Flexible funding allows WFP to act swiftly, effectively and efficiently, yet governments that provide this kind of funding are still very much in the minority as many specify how and where the money can be spent.

In 2017, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany led the way in providing multilateral funding to WFP. However, these kinds of contributions to WFP last year sat at just seven percent of the total resources provided to WFP, well below a high-water mark of 20 percent of flexible funding in 2002.

The most recent allocations were made with contributions from Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Contributions from private sector partners were also part of this allocation.

Under the agreement known as the Grand Bargain, concluded at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, leading donors committed to progressively reduce earmarking, with an aim of achieving a global target of 30 percent of humanitarian funding with fewer restrictions by 2020.

Top Ten Multilateral Donors and Funding Sources to WFP in 2017

  1. Sweden                       70,731,620
  2. United Kingdom        51,746,442
  3. Netherlands               46,712,553
  4. Norway                       33,265,744
  5. Germany                    32,007,661
  6. Denmark                    30,916,844
  7. Australia                     28,919,330
  8. Canada                       23,472,373
  9. Ireland                        18,262,632
  10. Italy                             12,390,445

See a full list of flexible contributions to WFP in 2017 +

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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.