WFP is the specialized food assistance organization of the United Nations, and it is the largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
Every year, WFP provides food assistance to 80 million people in over 80 countries. In emergencies, WFP is often first on the scene, providing food assistance to victims of disasters such as drought, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, crop failures, war and civil conflict. When the emergency subsides, WFP helps communities rebuild shattered lives and livelihoods. WFP also works to strengthen the resilience of people and communities affected by protracted crises by applying a development lens in our humanitarian response.
Sustainable Development Goal 2 – Zero Hunger – pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, and is the priority of the World Food Programme.
WFP works towards achievement of the Zero Hunger goal with its sister UN agencies in Rome – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – as well as governments, other UN and NGO partners, in support of Sustainable Development Goal 17.
In addition to emergency response, WFP gives priority to supporting disaster prevention, preparedness and mitigation and post-disaster rehabilitation activities as part of development programmes. Approximately half of all WFP programmes support activities that reduce disaster risk and help strengthen resilience and manage climate related shocks.
Disaster Reduction Goal
WFP’s disaster risk reduction policy focuses on building the resilience and capacity of the most vulnerable and food insecure people, communities and countries, by working to ensure food and nutrition security while reducing disaster risk and protecting and enhancing lives and livelihoods. (http://www1.wfp.org/disaster-risk-reduction)
WFP works with local, national and international partners to incorporate disaster prevention and mitigation activities in its Country Strategic Programmes. While building community resilience for enhanced food and nutrition security has been a central objective of the work of WFP for decades, disaster risk reduction and management for resilience are increasingly addressed by specific policy and programmatic efforts within the organization.
Policies and Programmes in DRR
The WFP Strategic Plan (2017-2021) aligns WFP with the Sustainable Development Agenda and the Sendai Framework. The Strategic Plan focuses WFP efforts on two strategic goals, both of which identify the need and mandate for WFP to engage in disaster risk reduction. (See https://www.wfp.org/content/wfp-strategic-plan-2017-2021)
In addition to the Strategic Plan, WFP has specific policies which provides further guidance on the organisation’s work in disaster risk reduction and related fields, these include: the WFP Policy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management: Building Food Security and Resilience (2011) defines the organization's comparative advantages and priorities in supporting food insecure countries and people with disaster risk reduction and management interventions.
The newly approved WFP Climate Change Strategy is fully aligned with WFP’s DRR and Management Policy. It aims to (i) Support those most vulnerable in managing and reducing climate-related risks to food security and nutrition and adapting to climate change; (ii) Strengthen local, national and global institutions and systems to prepare for, respond to and support sustainable recovery from climate-related disasters and shocks; (iii) Support greater understanding of the impacts of climate change on food security and nutrition and integrate measures to address climate change impacts into local, national and global policy and plans. The policy is part of WFP overall support to the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework and the Paris Agreement.
Membership in Key Networks
Membership in Key Networks
Logistics cluster (WFP leading)
Emergency telecommunications cluster (WFP leading)
Food security cluster (WFP co-chairing with FAO)
Early Warning and Contingency planning (WFP co-chairing with UNICEF)
Humanitarian Early Warning System
Food Security Outlook
Climate Outlook Forum
ISDR Global Drought Risk Reduction Platform (Co-lead)
HLCP SMG (ISDR led, CEB mechanism)
Global Partnership for Preparedness (GPP)
Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI)
Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS)
National governments and United Nations Country Teams
Making disaster risk reduction a policy priority, institutional strengthening (HFA 1)
WFP provides policy support to governments, in the areas of disaster risk reduction and management, early warning systems, contingency planning, and resilience building.
Risk assessment and early warning systems (HFA 2)
Sendai Target g and Priority 1
In more than 25 countries, WFP supports governments to implement advanced food security monitoring systems to track food security, nutrition, market indicators and natural hazards to provide effective analysis to support disaster preparedness, prevention and response, including through the activation of national social protection programmes and safety nets in support of the most vulnerable.
WFP works closely with government counterparts to develop innovative early warning systems. For example, in Ethiopia, WFP supports the implementation of Livelihoods, Early Assessment and Protection (LEAP). LEAP is a food security early warning tool that integrates risk transfer mechanisms, such as weather index insurance, into traditional risk management and social protection schemes. The combination of these approaches improves the effectiveness of safety net programmes and reduces the negative impact of climate disasters on the most vulnerable people.
The capacity of governments to prepare for disasters is also strengthened through effective integration of contingency planning and early warning systems, with contingent finance to ensure resources are available when needed. These strategies represent a shift from traditional disaster response to more cost-effective disaster risk management approaches.
At the regional level, WFP also supports the development of early warning systems, collaborating with institutions such as the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
WFP also participates in regional food security early warning systems such as the Greater Horn of Africa Food Security Outlook processes, which incorporate information about food security, nutrition, market situation, seasonal rainfall forecasts, and hazards to inform disaster preparedness interventions.
At the continental level, WFP is supporting the African Union on implementation of the African Risk Capacity (ARC). As an African-owned, continental index-based weather risk insurance pool and early response mechanism, ARC offers an African solution to one of the continent’s most pressing challenges. By bringing together the concepts of insurance and contingency planning, ARC manages weather risk by transferring the burden away from African governments, and their vulnerable populations who depend on government assistance, to international financial markets.
Education, information and public awareness (HFA 3)
WFP works with the most vulnerable and food insecure communities to enhance their capacity to manage climate-related risks through food-for-training activities. Such activities include training in community-based disaster risk reduction techniques, and early warning systems.
Reducing underlying risk factors (HFA 4)
Sendai Targets a, b, c, d and Priority 2
Asset creation and resilience building is a key component of WFP’s strategy to reduce disaster risk. Working with governments and partner agencies, WFP implements asset creation activities that support a range of food security-related disaster risk reduction activities, such as soil and water conservation, the development and rehabilitation of flood protection infrastructure, and rehabilitation of roads, among others. Globally, these WFP-supported activities for disaster risk reduction directly assist over 20 million people in the most vulnerable and marginalized communities.
WFP supports the development of social protection mechanisms aimed at reducing the impact of disasters on livelihoods and food security. For example, in Uganda, in partnership with the Government and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), WFP established the Karamoja Productive Assets Programme (KPAP), which uses food assistance to meet seasonal food needs while building productive assets, such as new rainwater harvesting structures, which improve water availability for agricultural and livestock production and reduce the impact of drought on the most vulnerable lives and livelihoods.
WFP Rural Resilience initiative (R4) is a strategic partnership between WFP and Oxfam America, currently reaching over 41,000 households (benefiting about 200,000 people) in Ethiopia, Senegal, Malawi and Zambia through an integrated risk management approach. R4 works at the local level directly with smallholder farmers and at the national level with governments to improve social safety nets and climate proof them. WFP aims to scale up R4 to reach 500,000 participant households by 2020.
The Food Security Climate Resilience (FoodSECuRE) Facility is a multilateral, multi-year, replenishable fund developed by WFP to financially and programmatically support community-centred action to strengthen resilience to climate related shocks. This ground breaking instrument specifically links climate and hazard forecasting with flexible multi-year financing, providing governments the means to quickly unlock funding to scale-up food and nutrition responses as well as disaster risk reduction activities before climate disasters occur.
FoodSECuRE will: i) trigger action based on climate forecasts, to reinforce community resilience before shocks occur; ii) complement early response mechanisms, and iii) provide multi-year financing to deliver high-quality resilience-building activities are undertaken during post-disaster recovery operations.
Preparedness for effective response (HFA 5)
Sendai Priority 4
WFP’s emergency preparedness and contingency planning are critical to ensure readiness to respond to disasters and to reduce their impact on vulnerable populations. This capacity has made WFP a front-line actor in disaster preparedness worldwide; WFP is transferring knowledge and capacities to governments, whenever conditions allow.
For example, in Haiti, WFP provides assistance to the Government’s preparation for disasters through stand-by agreements with partners and the pre-positioning of supplies and equipment.
In 2010, these efforts enabled the Government, WFP and its partners to respond quickly to Hurricane Tomas and Haiti’s cholera epidemic.
WFP co-leads the Food Security Cluster (with FAO) and leads the logistics and emergency telecommunications clusters – a key component of the strategy to better prepare for disasters.
WFP is strengthening its disaster preparedness capacity through the Preparedness and Response Enhancement Programme (PREP) – a three-year programme that aims to strengthen the WFP corporate response capacities to support emergency response for up to 6 million beneficiaries.
WFP is a core partner of the Global Partnership for Preparedness, which was developed together with the V20 group of climate-vulnerable states (despite the name, the Group currently comprises almost 50 States) at the World Humanitarian Summit and will be officially launched at the Global Platform for DRR in Cancun, Mexico this May. The GPP will begin in 15 countries by 2020 to assist countries to reach a minimum level of preparedness so that disasters can be better managed locally with reduced need for international assistance.
Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point(s)
Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction Unit, WFP
Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68/70 00148 Rome Italy
GP 2013 delegation
GP 2011 delegation
GP 2009 delegation
Conferences: - 1st ACDRR
- UNISDR Science and Technology Conference
- 2017 Global Platform