Thu, Oct

UN World Food Programme to support 3.7 mio Afghans through 2016


WFPThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a three-year programme in Afghanistan to support close to four million people who have trouble obtaining food for themselves.

“The aim of Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200447 is to enhance food security and nutrition among vulnerable people,” said WFP in a PRRO operations document.
The $496 million operation will support up to 3.7 million beneficiaries in 184 food-insecure districts, while maintaining emergency-response capacity and ensuring that beneficiaries are protected and that women participate. The PRRO will be implemented from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2016.

There are some 8.8 million people who are food insecure in Afghanistan – the needs of the 5.1 million people not covered by the scheme will be addressed “by leveraging capacity-development support,” WFP stated in the document.
The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” Commonly, the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences.

According to the world body’s food relief agency, food insecurity in Afghanistan increased from 29 per cent in 2007 to 33 per cent in 2012, with 20 per cent of the population “severely food-insecure.” Also, five million people, including 1.1 million children under five, do not have an adequate diet. Food insecurity is most prevalent in the country’s north-east, the central highlands and south-western regions, particularly during winter and spring.
“The situation in Afghanistan will become more challenging as international troops withdraw, aid levels decline and elections take place. The resulting insecurity could impede humanitarian access to 8.8 million food-insecure and undernourished people, a third of the population,” WFP said in the PPRO document.

Afghanistan is slated to hold Presidential and Provincial Council elections on 5 April. The Presidential poll will mark the transfer of power from one elected president to another for the first time in the country’s history. The political transition coincides with a security transition as Afghan security forces have taken up security responsibility from their international allies, who are ending their combat mission by the end of this year.
Through the WFP scheme, people affected by conflict, disaster or economic stress will be assisted with food, vouchers or cash; under-nutrition will be addressed through targeted supplementary feeding programmes for children and pregnant and lactating women; support for schools will aim to increase enrolment and attendance; and adults will be trained in vocational skills.

According to recent estimates of a globally-recognized method of measuring the level of malnutrition, ‘Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM),’ some 60.5 per cent of Afghan children under the age of five suffer from stunting while 37.7 per cent are underweight; 72 per cent are deficient in iodine and iron and 34 per cent are anemic.

The same estimates note that among Afghan women of reproductive age, 21 per cent are underweight, 72 per cent are iodine-deficient and 48 per cent are iron-deficient.
The UN agency’s previous PRRO, implemented between April 2010 and December 2013, targeted 7.6 million vulnerable people with the aim of enhancing their food security and nutritional status.
The 2012 country portfolio evaluation, conducted by UN agencies, the Government of Afghanistan and their partners, found the previous operation to be “relevant and aligned with the objectives of the Government, WFP and partners, and successful in spite of insecurity and access constraints.”

Ongoing violence and recurring natural disasters have compounded the problem of food insecurity in Afghanistan. According to WFP, attacks on commercial convoys and its partners’ operations increased from six in 2011 to 19 in 2012. It anticipates that increasing insecurity will continue to affect humanitarian operators.

“In view of the prevailing insecurity and limited access, food movements will be coordinated to maximize the assistance reaching beneficiaries,” noted the UN agency.
As of February 2013, WFP had direct access to 23 per cent of Afghanistan as well as indirect access, through cooperating partners and programme assistance teams, to all but eight districts.
“Many food-insecure areas are also the most dangerous. In view of increasing volatility, WFP will implement an approach to access based on community acceptance; this will incorporate elements of partnership, community outreach and security risk management,” said WFP’s PRRO document.

WFP plans to implement the scheme by developing partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Government ministries and other UN agencies organizations such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other international agencies such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas.


Source: UNAMA