The World Food Programme (WFP) is the United Nations' frontline agency in the fight against hunger. It responds to emergencies, saving lives by getting food to the hungry fast, and it also works to help prevent hunger in the future.
Canada is a key member of WFP's Executive Board and has been instrumental in enhancing WFP's commitment to equality between women and men (and girls and boys), results-based management, nutrition and emergency assessments. During its time as president of the WFP Executive Board from February 2007 to February 2008, Canada introduced a reform agenda proposing a number of initiatives to strengthen WFP's audit and oversight mechanisms.
In April 2008, in an effort to strengthen the effectiveness of its aid, Canada opened 100 percent of its food aid budget to international procurement with a special emphasis on developing countries. Not only does untied food assistance provide WFP with increased flexibility to purchase locally, which helps to get the food to those that need it as quickly as possible, it also ensures the food is culturally appropriate and helps to develop local and regional markets.
WFP's mandate is closely aligned with Canada's international development priority themes of increasing food security and securing the future of children and youth. In 2013, WFP expects to meet the needs of 90 million people in 75 countries.
WFP is the only United Nations and multilateral organization providing food assistance on a global scale. It is Canada's main partner in preventing acute hunger and reducing chronic hunger around the world. Canada’s priority theme of increasing food security recognizes the importance of food assistance and nutrition.
Canada’s priority theme of securing the future of children and youth focuses on reducing child mortality and increasing access to primary education, both of which can be addressed through school feeding programs. WFP is the world's largest provider of school meals. Getting meals in school helps hungry children learn, motivates children to stay in school, and can provide an incentive for girls to attend school―sometimes helping to reduce gender disparities in enrolment levels.
Canada's international development work with WFP focuses on six strategic objectives:
In 2012, with the support of Canada and other donors, WFP: