ROME, ITALY — Belgium has donated €5.8 million to support FAO activities that help protect agriculture-based livelihoods for food security and resilience in the face of natural disasters and human-induced crises.

The donation to FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA) enables FAO to rapidly acquire agricultural inputs — like quality seeds, fertilizer and tools — and quickly launch field activities to protect agriculture livelihoods, reboot agricultural production, and safeguard food security.

SFERA was created in 2004 to enhance FAO's capacity to respond quickly and flexibly to emergency situations and humanitarian crises via the rapid release of funds before specific donor agreements are signed. Today, the fund has leveraged over $170 million to this end.

Since inception of SFERA, Belgium has donated over $30 million to support food security projects in emergencies, making it the top donor to the fund to date and one of the most rapid and proactive donors for agriculture and food security.

“Belgium is a long-term donor and partner of FAO,” said Vincent Mertens de Willmars, ambassador and permanent representative of Belgium to FAO. “As such it plays a strategic role in advocating and financing agriculture in humanitarian action and recognizes the necessity of dynamic and flexible responses to changing needs in humanitarian crises, following the principles of Good Humanitarian Donorship.”

Belgium’s consistent support to the fund made it the first donor to assist affected countries with FAO’s agriculture emergency interventions after large-scale disasters and crises, such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and conflicts in the Central Africa Republic and South Sudan.

Belgian funding for rapid response activities through SFERA in 2014 also helped vulnerable family farmers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu region restore their productive capacity.