Sharing the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, the Dominican Republic is an upper-middle-income country ranking 98 out of 189 in the 2019 Human Development Index.
Over the past decades, the country has experienced sustained economic growth and stability, and has succeeded in meeting the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of hungry people by 2015. However, income distribution remains unequal, quality of health services is inadequate, and poverty still affects just over 40 percent of the population, with 10.4 percent living in extreme poverty. Most poor families live in urban areas and 63 percent of them are headed by women.
Poverty and inequality, coupled with a lack of diverse diets and a weak agricultural structure, lie at the roots of food insecurity and overlapping nutritional problems. These include chronic undernutrition, which affects 7 percent of children under 5; overweight; and anemia, which affects one in three women of reproductive age and up to 61 percent of children aged between 6 and 11 months.
The Dominican republic suffers from recurrent natural shocks and, according to the Global Climate Risk Index, it is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. In 2016, after suffering from drought in rural areas, the country was indirectly affected by Hurricane Matthew that hit Haiti, as well as by severe floods as a consequence of continuous rains in the northern region.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been present in the Dominican Republic since 1969. Our work focuses on strengthening national capacities and programmes in the areas of nutrition, social protection, emergency preparedness and disaster risk management. We work in partnership with the government, contributing to the National Development Strategy. WFP also supports the development of public policies to reduce hunger and malnutrition.