Washington, D.C., Dec 5, 2008 Ambassador John Danilovich, Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to coordinate efforts of their two organizations to reduce poverty and improve food security.
This memorandum represents a concerted effort between MCC and the WFP to coordinate our assistance and to amplify the impact of our ongoing poverty reduction investments in agriculture, said Danilovich. Increased agricultural productivity and food availability has benefits not just for the farmer, but for rural communities, urban consumers, and the global economy as a whole.
”“Hunger is on the march. The global food crisis has plunged more than 75 million people into dangerous food insecurityraising the total number of hungry people to 923 million,”“ said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. ”“This innovative partnership with MCC provides a new opportunity for WFP to link its humanitarian assistance with long-term solutions to hungerand a new opportunity to help turn back the rising tide of hunger.”“
The MoU sets forth a framework of cooperation between MCC and the WFP to alleviate poverty and improve food security in three major areas:
Agricultural Production, Markets, and Food Security
Agricultural production is important for food security, providing both an output and an income source. Improving and stabilizing domestic production, the food supply chain, and local markets is essential for improving food security. The MCC-funded agricultural supply-chain investments and WFPs Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative, which buys locally produced foodstuffs from small farmers, are areas of potential collaboration.
Food Security and Poverty Reduction Policy
Agriculture provides new opportunities for the rural poor to move out of poverty and away from food insecurity with supportive investments at local, national, and global levels. MCC and the WFP will exchange ideas and information on innovative approaches for more effectively engaging in host country policy dialogue that leads to key reform of policies and programs that alleviate poverty and improve food security.
Integration of Gender Policies, HIV/AIDS prevention in Agricultural Activities
Women are crucial to both agricultural productivity and food security, yet gender inequalities impede efforts to achieve the goal of nutritional food security. HIV/AIDS also has a negative impact on food security at the household level. MCC and the WFP will seek to coordinate program investments that improve food security capacities, reflecting best practices on gender, HIV/AIDS prevention and risk mitigation, and agriculture.
MCC and the WFP cooperation will focus on countries where MCC and the Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA) are already collaborating to improve agricultural productivity and market access. This extraordinary cooperation involving all three organizations food security and poverty reduction program investments is an important example of how more can be accomplished by working collaboratively, sharing best practices, and coordinating information.
For over four decades, the WFP has provided access to nutrition and improved quality of life for the worlds most vulnerable people at critical times. In 2008, WFP plans to reach more than 90 million people in 80 countries with food assistance, saving lives and allowing people to make investments of lasting benefit to themselves.
MCC is dedicated to the mission of global poverty reduction through the promotion of sustainable economic growth. Since 2004, MCC has obligated nearly $6.3 billion in grants to 18 Compact countries. These partner countries have directed more than 50 percent of this total investment to improved food security.
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The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government agency designed to work with developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that promote poverty reduction through economic growth. For more information about MCC, visit www.mcc.gov.
As the food assistance arm of the UN, WFP uses its food to meet emergency needs and support economic & social development. The Agency also provides the logistics support necessary to get food to the right people at the right time and in the right place. WFP works to put hunger at the center of the international agenda, promoting policies, strategies and operations that directly benefit the poor and hungry. To learn more, please visit www.wfp.org