New World Bank Grants Provide a Lifeline to Yemen’s Most Vulnerable

Three UN agencies welcomed $127 million in additional funding from the World Bank on Thursday to give lifesaving assistance to some of the country’s most vulnerable rural households, who are coping with several crises.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Development Programme (UNDP), and World Food Programme (WFP) will use the funds to combat the spread of extreme hunger in Yemen, which has been plagued by over six years of incessant conflict, economic disruptions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, and desert locusts.

One of Yemen’s most severe human development concerns is food insecurity. The combination of high household dependence on food imports, high food prices, and drastically reduced income is having a catastrophic impact on people’s livelihoods in the broader context of the ongoing conflict and economic crisis.

Around $61 million would go toward FAO-led efforts targeted at improving crop production, livestock, and seafood products, as well as strengthening local farming systems and building national-level agricultural chains.

Backyard food production serves as a barrier between millions of Yemeni families and the most severe forms of starvation. Improving local food production now can help to prevent the spread of severe acute food insecurity, as well as long-term agriculture for food and jobs.

UNDP will receive $23.8 million to implement a variety of climate change adaptation measures in rural Yemen, including a cash-for-work programme to rebuild damaged public and collective productive assets, particularly those harmed by the 2020 floods.

This effort is critical in assisting Yemenis in overcoming several crises, including the fact that the food crisis exists because Yemenis can no longer afford to eat, not because food is scarce.

The World Food Programme (WFP) will spend $42.2 million to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable rural households, with an emphasis on enhancing food security for women and children through the delivery of specialised nutrition supplies.

Women’s entrepreneurship will be promoted by the UN agency, which will provide both skill development opportunities and start-up funds focusing on agriculture and food production.

Despite the fact that agriculture is Yemen’s most important economic sector, conflict and illness have wreaked havoc, hurting livelihoods.

The country’s agricultural industry currently supplies just 15 to 20% of its food due to limited land and water resources, as well as poor farming methods aggravated by years of war, high fuel prices, and water scarcity.

The Food Security Response and Resilience initiative, which is a significant aspect of the package, combines “immediate support to households with medium-term measures targeted at developing resilience to future shocks.

Photo Credit: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/07/1096702