“I believe we will achieve ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030, otherwise I won’t do this work”

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Photo: A.R.

 

Chris Kaye

Director of Division of Alliances with the Governments of the WFP

 

Chris Kaye has been working in UN humanitarian programmes for 25 years. As director of the Division of Alliance with the Governments of the World Food Programme (WFP), he defends that ‘Zero Hunger’ will be achieved by 2030. “Otherwise, I would not be carrying out this work”.

 

Why is a department like yours necessary?

For different reasons. The WFP is a UN organization 100% financed through voluntary funds. Our budget depends almost entirely (95%) on the contributions made by governments, 90% of which are made by about ten governments. The remaining 5% comes from the private sector. That is why we have the obligation and responsibility to maintain an agreement with those donor governments, so that they understand what are the needs and priorities.

 

What are the main contributors?

The United States is the biggest. It contributed 1,200 million dollars last year, almost 40% of the funds. The most significant increases in the last two years come from Germany and the European Union. It is understandable that the support is derived from the crisis in Syria and other countries, and the migratory impact that it has. Food assistance is crucial to stabilize those areas.

 

Can one contribute to the WFP individually?

Our website shows ways to directly contribute to the WFP in a private way. The last one is an app for phones -Share the Meal-, which allows to virtually share your food by making a contribution.

 

Sometimes, the relationship with big donors must not be easy.

It is our responsibility to inform about the ways in which that money is being used and, therefore, we maintain a very critical relationship with member states. However, there is an aspect that it is becoming more and more relevant: budget to maintain Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

 

Why?

It is a transformation in many aspects, in how the world gets closer to development goals. SDGs represent a global agreement that we did not have before. We had Millennium Development Goals, but that is a project of the UN system. This is different; it is something of the member states. Our role as a UN agency consists of contributing to reach those objectives.

 

Are current contributions enough to achieve them?

We have a very special challenge, because, in the last few years, humanitarian needs have continued growing, just like financial petitions to governments. Last year, 8,600 million dollars were requested and we had a record response: we received 5,900 million. There was great generosity.

 

But not everything was covered…

The bad thing is that the difference can still grow, since conditions for hunger increase in four countries: Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and the north of Nigeria.

 

What is the most concerning situation of the four?

I am particularly worried about Yemen. We need around 400 million to support our operations there. However, the real problem is our operating capacity, something that is associated to security conditions. We also have security problems in Somalia, South Sudan and the north of Nigeria, but the conflict’s dynamic in Yemen makes them unpredictable.

 

What are the results of the food card so far?

It is a very effective part of our work to guarantee food needs of displaced people and, most importantly, to help them integrate in the best possible way, with dignity. Instead of having people standing in a queue to receive food, dignity comes with this credit card that is charged every month and used to buy food.

 

Will you take the system to other countries?

Yes, as long as we can. It depends on the effectiveness of markets and their distribution chain, but it is possible.

 

Will ‘Zero Hunger’ be achieved by 2030?

I believe in it and I will tell you why: the WFP was the biggest food provider in South Korea from the 60s to the 80s. The transformations that took place there, starting by the fact that now Seoul is one of the biggest contributors to the WFP, show that it is possible. The same happens in other countries where there were significant improvements of agricultural productivity. There is sufficient food in the world and it is a matter of guaranteeing accessibility to it. Because of all that, yes: I do believe.

 

 

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