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The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.

According to the WFP, it provides food assistance to an average of 80 million people in 76 countries each year. 

From its headquarters in Rome and from more than 80 country offices around the world, the WFP works to help people who cannot produce or obtain enough food for themselves and their families.

It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.

WFP was first established in 1961.

Goals and strategies

The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.

The objectives that the WFP hopes to achieve are to:

  • “Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies”
  • “Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies”
  • “Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs”
  • “Reduce undernutrition and break the intergenerational cycle of hunger”
  • “Zero Hunger in 2030”

WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.

 Food-for-work programmes help promote environmental and economic stability and agricultural production.


The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from governments of the world, corporations and private donors.

The organization’s administrative costs are only seven percent—one of the lowest and best among aid agencies.


The WFP has a system of classifications known as the Emergency Response Classifications designated toward situations that require immediate response.

This response is activated under the following criteria:

  • When human suffering in which domestic governments do (or) can not respond to adequately
  • The United Nations reputation is under scrutiny
  • When there is an obvious need for aid from the WFP

The Emergency Response Classifications are divided as follows, with emergency intensity increasing with each level:

Level 1 – Response is activated. Resources are allocated to prepare for the WFP’s local office to respond

Level 2 – A country’s resources require regional assistance with an emergency across one or multiple countries/territories

Level 3 – The emergency overpowers the WFP’s local offices and requires a global response from the entire WFP organization

Current Level 2 and 3 emergencies

  • Colombia/Venezuela (Level 2)
  • Iraq (Level 3)
  • Nigeria (Level 3)
  • South Sudan (Level 3)
  • Syria (Level 3)
  • Yemen (Level 3)


According to a UN report, there has been a rise in the number of people suffering from hunger. The analysis has revealed, in 2017 around 821 million people were undernourished.

It was also stated that two per cent of the total global pollution have had their growth stunted owing to lack of sufficient nutrition.

The author of the report The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World have partly apportioned blame on drastic events like flood and drought.

Another factor that is contributing to the plight is the difficulty in sourcing nutritious food. This has also resulted in one in eight adult being identified as obese.

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