In her role as WFP deputy chief, Valerie Guarnieri leads programme and policy developments towards ending hunger, including efforts to ensure protection and inclusion; expand school meals and nutrition programmes; empower women; build resilient food systems; and support cash transfers and social protection.
In this interview, taking place during the high-level opening of the General Assembly, Ms. Guarnieri warned that billions are still needed to fund the agency’s projects, and explains why food systems urgently need to be transformed.
She says, “We’re scaling up to reach 138 million people this year. It’s a huge operation for us and means that we need to mobilize the resources that we need. We’re still $5 billion short of our target.
“We need to be buying food, getting it ready to reach the people who have been affected, and then we need to ramp up our cash assistance for households, pump-priming our cash programmes to ensure that people can buy food in the market.
“So, it’s a massive undertaking for which we need a lot more support. A few months ago, we called on donor governments to advance financing that they had already committed for the year. And many did that.
“But what we’ve seen is that, with COVID, the impact on hunger is really growing, and so our programs have had to scale up even further.
“Governments have also turned to WFP to assist them in buying the food that they need to keep their social protection systems going, or to help make those programs more effective. That’s why we need an additional $5 billion before the end of the year, so that we can deliver on those promises.”