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WFP struggles as traditional donors withdraw


… Financial struggles revealed in annual report

Ntsoaki Motaung

The World Food Programme (WFP) has unveiled a distressing truth: its financial lifelines have dwindled significantly, plunging the organisation into a crisis of support.

The Lesotho Annual Country Report 2023 laid bare the harsh reality that traditional donors have turned their backs, leaving WFP to navigate treacherous waters with a mere fraction of its requisite funds.

The report indicates that a total of USD 22.1 million in funding was available, covering 45 percent of the 2023 Country Strategic Plan (CSP) needs. Cumulatively, from the CSP’s initiation in July 2019 until June 2024, the received funding totalled USD 64.3 million, covering 38 percent of the needs-based plan.

It further highlighted significant disparities in funding levels across various activities. While some strategic outcome areas received satisfactory funding, delays in fund disbursements significantly impacted the implementation and expenditure of certain activities.

Moreover, according to the report, a portion of the received funds was allocated to multi-year initiatives earmarked for subsequent years, including funding from the Adaptation Fund for resilience-building activities and the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project funding earmarked for nutrition interventions.

It indicated that from the CSP’s inception in July 2019 to date, strategic outcomes 3 and 4 received the highest funding at 65 and 64 percent respectively, while strategic outcome 2 recorded the lowest funding at 34 percent.

“In 2023, WFP saw a notable reduction in support from its traditional donors, receiving only USD 2 million in funding. This amount reflects a 70 percent reduction compared to the support received in the preceding year and a 68 percent decline from the funding received in 2021,” the report read.

“Out of the USD 22.1 million available funding in 2023, carry-over balances from 2022 accounted for 65 percent of the funding while 25 percent was received from multilateral funding, including the anticipatory action fund. The remaining 10 percent originated from traditional donors,” it added.

The report also highlighted that WFP revised the implementation plan from USD 11.9 million to USD 13.8 million as a result of delayed payments in 2022 which affected the implementation plan by an increase of 9 percent.

It indicated that during 2023, WFP received internal funding to implement anticipatory action activities in response to the projected El Nino between October 2023 and December 2023.

WFP also received Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) funding for joint programming with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

It directed the contribution towards the innovative geospatial platform for the government of Lesotho, aiming to bolster governance and evidence-based decision-making on various national issues.

WFP stated in the report that intended to harmonise its plans with governmental initiatives aimed at enhancing financial support for the implementation of the CSP.

It explained that this involved forging close collaborations with key government ministries, notably the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, as well as other relevant government ministries including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations.

“The overarching objective is to facilitate domestic and collaborative resource mobilization efforts, thereby contributing significantly to improved funding opportunities for the CSP,” the report read.

It added: “Through the Government of Lesotho’s leadership on innovative finance, WFP will engage with sources such as International Financial Institutions (IFIs), development agencies, public-private partnerships, and the private sector.”

It said embracing these flexible funding channels is crucial to support WFP’s pursuit of achieving Zero Hunger, aligning seamlessly with the government of Lesotho’s vision of fostering self-reliance.

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