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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Strategic Goal 5 - Selected Strategic Priorities and Analyses

Bureau of Resource Management
February 24, 2012


PROTECTION, ASSISTANCE, AND SOLUTIONS: Protect vulnerable populations (e.g. refugees, internally displaced persons, and others affected by natural disasters and human-made crises) from physical harm, persecution, exploitation, abuse, malnutrition, disease, and other threats by providing disaster relief, food aid, and humanitarian assistance.

Analysis: The Department of State's Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) emphasizes a multilateral approach, providing the majority of funding to international organizations through the Migration and Refugee Assistance and Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance accounts. USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) provides most of its assistance bilaterally to non-governmental organizations and international organizations through the International Disaster Assistance account, and leads U.S. responses to humanitarian crises resulting from natural or industrial disasters. A large percentage of OFDA funding supports response to complex humanitarian crises. USAID's Office of Food for Peace (FFP) is the primary source of U.S. food aid, targeting the most food insecure beneficiaries including refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and those coping with conflict and natural disasters. Given the fluidity and unpredictability of population movements in any given crisis, the Department of State and USAID coordinate closely in the provision of humanitarian assistance. Activities include distributing food and other relief supplies to affected populations; providing health and nutrition services, including feeding centers; responding to water, sanitation, and hygiene needs; providing shelter materials; implementing programs in response to child protection and gender-based violence; and providing economic recovery and agricultural inputs where appropriate.

Analysis: The U.S. emergency food assistance program has long played a critical role in responding to global food insecurity. It saves lives and livelihoods, supports host government efforts to respond to critical needs of their own people during shocks, and demonstrates the concern and generosity of the American people in times of need. Urgent responses to rapid onset emergencies and efforts to resolve protracted crises provide a basis for transitioning to the medium- and long-term political, economic, and social investments that can eliminate the root causes of poverty and instability. In FY 2011, Food for Peace provided more than $1.77 billion in emergency food assistance and program support in 50 countries around the world. Of this funding, $1.54 billion was made available through Title II emergency resources and $232 million in International Disaster Account funds in grants through the Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP). EFSP provided funds to a variety of private voluntary organizations and the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) to support local and regional procurement and cash and food voucher programs in 22 countries, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, West Bank/Gaza, and Yemen. The U.S. Government is also the single largest donor to the WFP. In FY 2011, FFP contributed $1.28 billion to WFP in response to global appeals in 36 different countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Near East.

Analysis: U.S. assistance builds resiliency and reinforces the capacity of disaster-affected countries, American responders, and the international community to reduce risks and prepare for rapid, coordinated response. Programs also focus on increasing resiliency among households and communities and improving their ability to cope with and recover from the effects of a disaster. Although principles of disaster readiness and risk reduction are often incorporated into disaster response programs, assistance in the Disaster Readiness program area focuses primarily on risk reduction, readiness, resiliency, and capacity building. In FY 2011, USAID trained 12, 396 persons in disaster preparedness, 33 percent above the target goal. Achievements included national contingency planning and capacity building in desert locust prevention and other transnational plant pest control, conservation agriculture to reduce food insecurity due to erratic rainfall, flood early warning, and volcano and seismic monitoring.


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