BRUSSELS � In 2017, the Government of Belgium reinforced its partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in efforts to fight hunger and malnutrition. Last year, the Belgian Development Cooperation contributed nearly Euros 20 million to WFP operations that assisted more than 14.5 million people in nine countries and supported responses to some of the world's most pressing humanitarian crises.
We greatly appreciate Belgium's continuous support for WFP's work in a year marked by multiple crises and rising needs, said Elisabeth Rasmusson, WFP Assistant Executive Director for the Partnership and Governance Department. Belgium's flexible funding along with the funds received for Africa's forgotten crises have been critical in assuring timely assistance, and have empowered WFP and its partners with the ability to help those furthest behind.
Belgium provided much-needed funding to address the escalating humanitarian crisis in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than three million people do not know where their next meal is coming from. WFP activated its highest level of emergency � a designation reserved for only the most complex and challenging emergencies � for the Kasai crisis in October 2017. Last year, Belgium's Euros 5.2 million contribution was the largest to this lifesaving operation.
I am firmly committed to continue Belgium's strong partnership with WFP to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in places like Syria, Yemen, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, said Alexander De Croo, Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation. Thanks to WFP's leadership, I am also looking forward to bringing humanitarian innovation to a new level, be it in cash transfers, early warning systems or the use of drones in humanitarian settings.
As the second largest donor to WFP's Immediate Response Account (IRA), Belgium has proven its commitment to saving lives when disaster strikes. The IRA provides predictable and flexible resources so that WFP can respond immediately to disasters, wherever and whenever they occur.
Belgium has also established itself as an important partner for projects focusing on innovation and technology. Last year, as part of a Belgian-funded initiative, WFP convened a series of workshops for the use of drones in emergencies.
The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which is managed by WFP, also received Belgian funding in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. That support helped ensure the delivery of safe, reliable and cost-efficient air services for the humanitarian community in both countries.
Source: World Food Programme