WASHINGTON, October 11, 2008– The World Bank today welcomed the Australian government’s AUD$50 million contribution to a new Multi-Donor Trust Fund created by the World Bank to address the danger of high and volatile food prices.
“The Multi-Donor Trust Fund is an excellent vehicle to fast-track support to developing countries affected by the food crisis, and I am grateful to the Australian government for showing strong leadership on this vital issue,”said Zoellick.“I hope other donors will follow this example; we have many more demands than we can meet at this point.
The Trust Fund was created to facilitate the involvement of a broad range of development partners to support the World Bank’s Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP). The GFRP was approved by World Bank Board of Directors in May 2008 and is a rapid financing facility providing technical advice and access of up to $1.2 billion of financial support (including $200 million of grant financing from the World Bank’s own income) to countries affected by the food crisis.
To date, the World Bank has committed and is preparing more than $850 million in projects for agriculture and social protection in 32 countries. Activities include delivering seeds, fertilizer and nutrition supplements to people most affected by the food price crisis.
As part of the GFRP, the Trust Fund will facilitate policy and operational co-ordination among donors, and scaling-up of the responses to the food price crisis. The Trust Fund could be used to support any of the components of the GFRP including improving access for small farms to seeds and fertilizers for the upcoming planting season. The Trust Fund will also facilitate policy and operational coordination among development partners and help ensure that support to countries is both comprehensive and country specific.
The new rapid response facility stands alongside other efforts by the World Bank Group to address the global food crisis. The World Bank Group is boosting overall support for global agriculture to $6 billion from $4 billion over the coming year. The Bank is also considering initiatives to provide risk management tools to poor countries faced by drought and other catastrophes.