UNICEF USA & WFP USA appeal for more funding in global COVID-19 effort

May 7, 2020

Statement by Michael J. Nyenhuis, UNICEF USA, and Barron Segar, WFP USA

NEW YORK, WASHINGTON DC, 7 May 2020 – As CEOs of U.S. nonprofit organizations that support UN humanitarian agencies with a long history of American leadership and generosity, we strongly urge the United States to maintain its global leadership to combat the spread of and mitigate the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable populations.

From the earliest days of this battle, WFP and UNICEF have been on the frontlines with partners to provide lifesaving food, water, health services, and education support to families and children in need as well as global logistical support and critical supplies to frontline responders.  These and other actions are outlined in the United Nations updated global appeal for the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, released on May 7, 2020.

As the virus continues to spread throughout countries with fragile health systems, weak governance, crumbling educational systems and struggling economies, the risk to vulnerable populations will multiply.  WFP has warned that the pandemic might cause famines of biblical proportions and could lead to more than a quarter of a billion people suffering acute hunger by the end of the year.  UNICEF said that the COVID-19 crisis is a health crisis turning into a child-rights crisis, which threatens to significantly impact progress in education, protection, and reducing child mortality.

As CEOs, we commit to generating private sector resources for the agencies that we serve – but increased U.S. Government support is absolutely needed to save lives and protect futures.  This pandemic does not know nor respect national borders, and it must continue to be treated as a global response.

UNICEF USA and WFP USA commend the U.S. Government’s efforts, while noting that – as we are still in the middle of this battle – we need all governments and organizations around the world to step up to meet growing needs and maintain positive progress in our fight against the coronavirus

Top photo: On April 3, 2019, a group of students take their lunch at the Wau A Girls Primary School in Wau, South Sudan, as part of the Feeding Program run by WFP and UNICEF and funded by the European Union (EU).  © UNICEF/UNI220194/Gonzalez Farran