ABU DHABI The UAE is the top regional contributor and the world’s fifth largest donor to the World Food Programme, with 2019’s contributions amounting to $270 million, a top WFP official said.

“However, the major contribution of the UAE is hosting the WFP over the past 15 years. The UAE is contributing efficiently to our operations in Yemen, Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees and our school programmes in Cuba,” Mageed Yahia, WFP director for the UAE and representative to the GCC told WAM.

“We are proud of this partnership and working together to move forward to strengthen it,” he added.

Yahida made these remarks yesterday following a high-level roundtable discussion convened by the WFP at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Abu Dhabi to look into the link between climate change and food security with special emphasis on the situation in the Horn of Africa.

Erika Joergensen, WFP regional director for East Africa, also participated in the roundtable discussion, which was moderated by Jamal Al Suwaidi, the director-general of Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research.

“WFP entirely depends on voluntary contributions from member states. Today, the UAE ranks fifth after the US, UK, EU and Germany in terms of donations. 2019 witnessed a peak in Emirati contributions to WFP, amounting to $270 million,” Yahia explained.

“We have close ties with many organisations [in the UAE] like the International Humanitarian City in Dubai.

“The roundtable here helped us conduct in-depth analysis of the situation [in the Horn of Africa] and share experience to reach innovative ideas toward lessening the food and nutrition crisis,” he added.

The roundtable discussed what innovative solutions could be implemented to tackle climate change, therefore, ensure food security.

“We focused particularly on the situation in the Horn of Africa, which has been hit by consecutive cycles of drought since 2011,” Yahia said.

“This year around 7.2 million people in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have been affected by drought. It is a major consequence of the lack of food security, with people moving from one location to another desperately in search of food,” he continued.

The roundtable provided a wealth of information from diverse partners, Yahia said.

“The participants included representatives from the UAE Ministry of Food Security and International Humanitarian City along with other partners such as the European Union and Dubai Cares.