– Escalating hunger and malnutrition as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly dire for people living in the world’s most fragile countries. In response, the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) today agreed to join forces to help ensure sustainable access to nutritious food.
The Joint Cooperation Agreement was signed by His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah, the Advisor at the Saudi Royal Court and Supervisor General at KSrelief, and Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD.
“COVID-19 has amplified the hardships faced by the world’s most vulnerable people, many of whom are now experiencing an increase in hunger and poverty. It is vital for like-minded organisations to join forces to combat this,” said Houngbo. “I welcome this opportunity to collaborate with KSrelief to ensure that people living in the most dire situations can sustainably grow, market and consume enough nutritious food.”
“This agreement is a further step to expand the partnership between Saudi Arabia, represented by KSrelief, and IFAD aiming to help many people in need and expand the humanitarian scope of Saudi Arabia globally,” said Al Rabeeah. “KSrelief is a leading humanitarian organization that has managed to build a wide network of partnerships aiming to alleviate the suffering of those in need. We look forward to building a solid partnership with IFAD, aiming to widen our scope of work.”
The two organisations share a vision of alleviating poverty and hunger. As part of the agreement, they will draw on their respective expertise and reach, and share knowledge and experience to jointly address malnutrition and hunger. This includes collaborating on the strategy, design and implementation of projects in fragile countries, such as Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
IFAD is an international financial institution and UN agency which has provided more than US$23 billion in grants and low interest loans to help vulnerable countries to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition and increase rural peoples’ resilience to shocks. In 2019, IFAD opened its Liaison Office with the States of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf in Riyadh to strengthen partnerships within the region.
KSrelief was founded in 2015 by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to be the humanitarian arm of Saudi Arabia. To date, it has spent $5.26 billion, supporting over 1,600 projects in 68 countries with a focus on women and children, food security and nutrition, health, education, shelter, water, sanitation, and humanitarian and emergency relief coordination.