EU response to famine in the Horn of Africa

State­ment by High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton on the EU response to famine in the Horn of Africa
Cather­ine Ash­ton, the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy and Vice-Pres­i­dent of the Com­mis­sion, made today the fol­low­ing state­ment:
“Faced with the worst droughts in 60 years, over 12 mil­lion peo­ple in Soma­lia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Dji­bouti are in urgent need of food, water and shel­ter. The sit­u­a­tion is grave, and it is a moral oblig­a­tion of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to offer its help.

The EU is deter­mined to do so and is using the full range of sup­port it can offer. The EU con­tin­ues to work along­side its part­ners in Africa and world­wide, and calls on those attend­ing the AU inter­na­tion­al pledg­ing con­fer­ence in Addis Aba­ba on 25 August 2011 to con­tin­ue to do like­wise. As Euro­pean Com­mis­sion­er Kristali­na Georgie­va arrives in Addis Aba­ba tomor­row we con­tin­ue both to address imme­di­ate human­i­tar­i­an needs, as well as the roots of prob­lems and their long-term solutions.

For its part, the EU has raised its human­i­tar­i­an com­mit­ment from €97 mil­lion to €158 mil­lion in 2011, while its indi­vid­ual Mem­ber States have made avail­able a fur­ther €440 mil­lion. This mon­ey has pro­vid­ed food as well as health­care, water and san­i­ta­tion facil­i­ties. Assis­tance has been deliv­ered through­out the region, in Soma­lia itself, and in refugee camps such as Dadaab in Kenya. The EU has also looked close­ly at the caus­es of famine, and launched pro­grammes in the areas of drought-pre­pared­ness, agri­cul­ture, rur­al devel­op­ment and food secu­ri­ty.. It has com­mit­ted more than €680 mil­lion to the region in long-term aid in the areas of agri­cul­ture, rur­al devel­op­ment and food secu­ri­ty until 2013. 

Drought comes on top of many oth­er prob­lems fac­ing the coun­tries of the Horn of Africa, includ­ing scarce resources, cli­mate change, high pop­u­la­tion growth, a lack of infra­struc­ture and mar­ket access, dis­tort­ed trade pat­terns, and high cere­al and fuel prices. Insta­bil­i­ty has great­ly com­pound­ed these prob­lems: Soma­lia, in par­tic­u­lar, has been crip­pled by 20 years of civ­il con­flict, and the EU con­tin­ues to give finan­cial sup­port to the African Union Mis­sion designed to sta­bilise the coun­try, and to its Oper­a­tion Ata­lan­ta which com­bats pira­cy off the Soma­li coast.

The EU remains con­vinced that sta­bil­i­ty and good gov­er­nance are pre-con­di­tions to sus­tain­able devel­op­ment and the well-being of the peo­ples of Africa. It will con­tin­ue to sup­port pro­grammes designed to strength­en the rule of law, and build the role of young peo­ple and NGOs. The EU will step up its pol­i­cy dia­logues with African part­ners to mit­i­gate the adverse effects of droughts and build resilience through bet­ter man­age­ment and improved governance.

The EU’s com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing its part­ners in East Africa is as com­pre­hen­sive as it is longterm: in ris­ing to the des­per­ate chal­lenges of today, it is address­ing the defi­cien­cies of years gone by, and help­ing to put in place the longer-term solu­tions which can yield real progress in the years to come.” 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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