Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has revealed that the global finance center of the World Food Program (WFP) will move to Budapest following the signing of the relevant agreement.
Minister Szijjártó said the move would boost Hungary’s role in the fight against hunger. After meeting WFP chief executive David Beasley, he said the agreement was signed after several months of negotiations, and parliament will vote on its ratification next week. Fully 70% of the aid group’s financial global activities will be handled by 80 people working in Budapest from the spring, he added. The Hungarian state will cover the centre’s operating costs for 15 years, and this will free up more money for the WFP to spend on the fight against global hunger, Szijjártó said, adding that the organisation’s activities helped would-be migrants to stay in their homelands rather than search for basic necessities elsewhere. The minister noted that several UN organisations have already located their regional or global headquarters in Hungary. Commenting on the war in Ukraine, Szijjártó said the conflict had unleashed “an unprecedented global food crisis”, with the number of people suffering from extreme hunger has risen from 80 million before the war to 345 million today. Being among the largest food producers, Russia and Ukraine are vital to the world’s food supply, he said, adding that food production faced mounting difficulties the longer the war lasted. “The longer the war lasts, the more people starve,” he said. “The political destabilisation of any region is directly linked to hunger … [and] as extreme ideologies spread, terrorism appears and new mass migration gets underway.” The minister said the food crisis and its effect on global security was yet another reason for the establishment of an immediate ceasefire and peace talks.