The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s international development assistance for 2021 came to €28.9 million, Minister Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

This includes an advance payment of Ireland’s 2022 commitment of €25 million to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), under Ireland’s new Strategic Partnership Agreement 2022-2024 with the WFP, signed earlier this month.

“Food insecurity continues to rise across the world driven by the collective impact of conflict, the climate crisis and Covid-19, taking hunger and malnutrition to unprecedented levels,” the minister said this week.

“My department leads Ireland’s cooperation with UN’s leading food agencies – the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) – in their work towards the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger by 2030.”

Minister McConalogue noted: “This year (2021) we reinforced Ireland’s partnership and support of their work by entering a new Strategic Partnership Agreement with the WFP and a first Framework Agreement with the FAO. The dramatic worsening of world hunger in 2021 calls for us to transform our global agri-food systems.

“Ireland is a leading voice in advocating for global food systems transformation, based on our own appreciation of the central importance of farming, fishing and food production to our rural coastal communities,” he added.

“We are strongly supporting the UN agencies in this work, including through the follow-up to the Food Systems Summit and our own Food Vision 2030 strategy.”

David Beasley, the executive director of the WFP, commented: “The UN WFP is grateful to the government and people of Ireland for their sustained support, especially for our operations in Syria and neighboring countries. We appreciate Ireland’s commitment to a world free from hunger and we look forward to continuing our important partnership.”

Minister McConalogue also confirmed payments of €2.1 million for specific FAO projects and programmes, in addition to Ireland’s annual assessed contribution of €1.56 million.

These specific projects have a focus on climate change resilience; emergency agricultural assistance; rural economic empowerment; and work on sustainable food systems.

Payments of €206,000 under the Africa Agri-food Development Programme (AADP), which is operated by the department in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, were also made.