The World Food Program (WFP) announced on 19 April that it had received a USD 2.4 million contribution from Belgium towards a program to finance blockchain solutions to fight global hunger.
The Belgian donation will be used to expand research of the WFP’s blockchain solutions in addition to its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) project used for topographical data collection.
Belgian deputy prime minister and minister for development cooperation, Alexander De Croo, has calculated that more than 128 million worldwide will need humanitarian support this year.
“Only by finding better ways to deliver aid more efficiently will we close the gap between requirements and aid delivery on the ground,” De Croo said. “Belgium lauds the efforts of WFP to come up with innovative solutions to save more lives and help more people in need.”
WFP chief of staff Rehan Asad has expressed his gratitude towards Belgium, commenting that organizations must continue “to harness the most promising digital technologies in the service of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Using blockchain technology is not new to UN agencies. In 2017 the WFP launched an Ethereum-based payment pilot in Jordan, ‘Building Blocks’, which allowed effective transfer of cash payments to Syrians in Jordan’s refugee camps.
The UN continues to embrace new technologies in its fight against poverty, displacement, and hunger. Drones have recently been used in Mozambique, where WFP-supplied aerial vehicles were able to send flood analysis data on ahead allowing mass movement of people before they could be affected by flooding, avoiding loss of life.
The WFP, with a declared challenge of “zero hunger by 2030”, is not the only UN agency to utilize blockchain technology. The UN Office for Project Services now has a blockchain working group which includes the UN Children’s Fund and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
The WFP states that it has made “great progress” in reducing hunger around the world: “There are 216 million fewer hungry people than in 1990-92, despite a 1.9 billion increase in the world’s population.”
The World Food Programme is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. According to the WFP, it provides food assistance to an average of 80 million people in 76 countries each year.