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Flexible funding allowed WFP to reach the world's displaced and forgotten people in 2018

ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) received US$440 million of flexible funding in 2018, a ten percent increase from 2017. Flexible contributions allow WFP to use funds wherever and whenever needs are greatest, giving it the agility to respond to sudden-onset emergencies as well as the means to sustain lifesaving assistance in neglected and protracted crises.

In the Sahel, the early availability of multilateral resources enabled WFP to kick-start its response to the worst lean season of the last four years, reaching over 3 million people with food assistance and averting a major food crisis. Allocations of flexible funding helped WFP sustain assistance to almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, scale-up its support to the displaced in Colombia, and provide relief to farmers facing severe drought in Madagascar.

“It’s pretty simple: flexible funding allows us to be more timely, effective and efficient, delivering the maximum impact for every contribution we receive” says WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “A number of our government partners are seeing the difference flexible funding makes and how it cuts down on costs. We call on more government donors to provide this kind of funding: predictable, unearmarked and usable over multiple years.”

Under the agreement known as the Grand Bargain, concluded at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, leading donors committed themselves to reducing the earmarking of funds, aiming for a global target of 30% for flexible humanitarian funding by the year 2020.

Governments that provide multilateral support, however, are still very much in the minority. Flexible contributions remained at just six percent of WFP’s total resources this year, well below a 20 percent mark in 2002.

In 2018, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Ireland and Belgium led the way in providing WFP with flexible support. Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Canada were the top supporters of WFP’s Immediate Response Account – this is the organization’s most flexible funding facility and enables the deployment of life-saving assistance within 24 hours of the onset of a crisis.