UN food agency sees partnership with China as key tool in war on global hunger

15 December 2005
MV Blue Dream in Shenzhen, China

A strong partnership between the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency and China, and the world’s most populous country, could have enormous bearing on the fight against global hunger, the agency’s chief said today.

A strong partnership between the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency and China, and the world’s most populous country, could have enormous bearing on the fight against global hunger, the agency’s chief said today.

WFP and China know that the problem of global hunger can be solved because it has been addressed so impressively here. China has the expertise and resources that we need to address the problem of hunger worldwide,” WFP Executive Director James Morris declared in Beijing where he is on a two-day visit.

This year WFP phased out its 25-year-long $1-billion aid programme for China that fed over 30 million people as the country made giant progress in development.

“The Chinese Government’s tremendous success in alleviating hunger means our food aid can be put to better use elsewhere,” Mr. Morris said. “Since WFP began working in China in 1979, the Government has lifted some 300 million of its people out of extreme poverty. This immense achievement is a tribute to the commitment of its leaders and the diligence and dynamism of its people.”

China now produces and imports enough food to feed its massive population. The food available is enough to give every citizen an average of 3,000 calories per day, which is appreciably higher than the world average.

While pockets of food insecurity persist in some remote regions, it is clear that China is winning the war against hunger. But Mr. Morris warned that elsewhere in the world, the war against hunger is being lost. “Despite China’s progress, 850 million people around the world suffer from chronic hunger, and the number is rising,” he said.

“Were it not for China’s singular progress, we would be even further behind in the global fight to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of the world’s population that lives in extreme poverty and hunger,” he added.

Although WFP is phasing out its food aid to China, the organization is not leaving the country, and its Beijing office, entirely staffed by Chinese nationals, will focus on strengthening the partnership with the Government and private sector, using China’s technical expertise in emergency interventions and developing the country as a procurement centre for goods and services.

During the visit, Mr. Morris is meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Vice Minister of Agriculture Zhang Baowen to discuss further cooperation.

 

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