ROME: The General Supervisor of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah signed cooperation agreements with the World Food Program and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome on Thursday.
The agreements signed by KSrelief — which manages, coordinates and supervises Saudi Arabia’s international aid — will “enhance cooperation” between the signatories and “provide a framework to promote goals related to improving food security and combating malnutrition at the international level.”
The signatories will also implement an emergency agricultural assistance project for those affected by the humanitarian crisis and COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen’s Hajjah and Lahaj governorates.
A statement issued after the meeting between Al-Rabeeah and FAO Director General Qu Dongyu in the UN agency’s headquarters in Rome said that the Yemen project “seeks to improve food security and nutrition through providing instant support for farmers and the most needy families in agricultural communities.”
A further agreement signed by KSRelief and the WFP aims to support Syrian refugees in Jordan and the children of Pakistan.
The partnership between Saudi Arabia and the WFP dates back more than 45 years.
Saudi Arabia provided a $50 million grant to the program between 1975-1976 to support its food projects for those affected by the 1973 economic crisis.
In 2008, the Kingdom announced a $500 million grant to the WFP to enable it to complete its relief projects and provide food to millions of people affected by inflated prices, and in 2014 it contributed more than $200 million to provide food for displaced families in Iraq, Syrian refugees in various countries, and refugees from South Sudan and Somalia.
KSrelief was established in 2015 and runs more than 1,600 projects in 68 countries, in cooperation with 144 local and international partners.
To date, KSrelief has contributed $1.2 billion worth of aid to the WFP, which has been used to provide food aid to 24 countries.
Al-Rabeeah also revealed that he hopes to establish cooperation between KSrelief and Italy in the aid sector.
“This is my second visit to Italy and we would love to establish a collaboration between Italy and Saudi Arabia in the humanitarian sector. The relationship between Italy and KSA dates back to many decades and we have many things in common. I believe we can (provide) added value in the humanitarian sector,” he said.