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Palgrave Macmillan

The UN World Food Programme and the Development of Food Aid

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  • © 2001


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About this book

This is the first history to be written of the World Food Programme (WFP), the food aid arm of the United Nations System. It tells the story of the antecedents and origins of WFP and growth from modest beginnings as a three-year experiment in 1963-65 to become the main source of international food aid for both disaster relief and development against the background of the evolution and development of food aid. This dual role has put WFP in the front line of the United Nations attack on poverty, hunger and food insecurity.

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Table of contents (9 chapters)


The world food programme has long been one of the unsung success stories of the international system. Now John Shaw has produced a masterly history analysing its origins, growth and controversies - and telling this practical but visionary story with insight and fascinating detail.

Food security on a global scale is an essential challenge to international governance in the world today. John Shaw provides a masterly account of how the World Food Programme has grappled with the issues of food shortages and famine - the successes, the failures and what still remains to be done. Filled with lessons and important reading for anyone concerned with global governance in the 21st century.' - Professor Richard Jolly, Institute of Development Studies, UK

'John Shaw's history of the World Food Programme is based on deep practical experience and much careful research. It is a major contribution to understanding one of the foremost achievements of the United Nations.' - John Toye

'As a comprehensive history of WFP, the book contains material that appears in the public domain for the first time. It also represents a major contribution to the history of food aid generally since the Second World War. It should be read not only by those concerned with that history, but also with the future of food aid as an essential part of the goal of achieving world food security.' - Sir Hans Singer

About the author

JOHN SHAW was associated with the World Food Programme (WFP) for over thirty years. He served successively as Consultant, Senior Evaluation Officer, Senior Economist and Head of the Policy Unit, Economics Advisor and, finally, Chief of the Policy Affairs Service. He is currently on the International Editorial Board of the journal Food Policy. He has written extensively on development and food aid issues.

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