Archive pour la catégorie ‘Humanitarian’

Sahel Food Crisis

Mardi 17 janvier 2012

Commissioner Georgieva declares the state of emergency.

The European Union’s Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva arrives in Niger today amid a looming crisis in Africa’s Sahel region. The Commissioner is responding to calls for assistance from the affected countries.

During a four-day visit to the region she will visit Niger and Chad, two of the five Sahel countries (including Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania) most at risk of major food shortages over the coming months.

“Nobody should have to live in fear of famine yet within months people will begin to starve unless we act,” said the Commissioner. “This is the third time in a decade that this region has fallen into crisis. Every year we save more than 200,000 children from severe acute malnutrition but we must and will go further.”

The Commissioner said that, as in the last major crisis in 2010, by anticipating the worst effects of the looming food shortages and acting before they strike more lives would be saved.”I am here this week to make sure that we deliver smart aid, targeting the most vulnerable and delivered in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.”

She will be evaluating humanitarian needs with the authorities and the European Commission’s current response to the crisis as well as identifying the potential needs for further assistance.

Because crops failed in last September’s harvest the annual ‘lean season’ – when food reserves have dwindled – will begin next month instead of June. Seven million people are already facing shortages. Food prices have already risen by 40 per cent, with some forecasts predicting that they will triple with the onset of the lean season.

The Commission has been working to mitigate future crises by establishing an innovative programme through its partners. This programme currently treats more than 200,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in the Sahel and is working to achieve a permanent and sustainable solution to the region’s chronic food security problems.

Commissioner Georgieva added: “The Commission has provided more than €225 million since 2005. But we want to go further and break the cycle of hunger. In the current crisis we’ve already allocated more than €100 million to fight hunger and we are working closely with other agencies to build a comprehensive aid strategy to cover both the short and long-term actions required to make malnutrition history.”

Background
Approximately 22.9 million people are beginning 2012 with huge uncertainty about how they will feed themselves and their families.

The Sahel suffers from a chronic malnutrition crisis but the prospects of a full-scale disaster this year have already been signalled with the governments of all five countries taking the unprecedented step of declaring emergencies and calling for international assistance. Early, effective and coordinated action by the Sahel governments supported by the international community can reduce the risk of it turning into a major disaster.

Most people who live in the Sahel are heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture and livestock for survival. Food production deficits are as high as 52% in comparison to last year while an estimated 1.3 million children in the region are currently suffering from acute severe malnutrition.

The Commission has been at the forefront of the humanitarian response to malnutrition in the Sahel since 2007 when a specific ECHO Sahel Plan was adopted to raise awareness of nutrition issues, demonstrate the effectiveness of nutrition action and advocate for an enhanced focus on nutrition issues.

2 years after, aid in Haiti continues

Mardi 10 janvier 2012

Two after the disaster, the European Union will launch a new aid package for the construction of houses destined for 60,000 homeless.

This new €23 million programme will be implemented together with local communities, the municipalities and the Haitian Ministry for Public Works. It is a part the part of the European Commission’s action to support the country to recover from the disaster which claimed the lives of more than 220,000 people and affected 3 million others. The two years that followed the earthquake were no less challenging – Haiti was affected by Hurricane Tomas and is suffering from the worst cholera epidemics of the past century. The years ahead will not be easy either, but the long-term goals of stability and development are still fully valid to address Haiti’s situation.

The European Union has been among the first, the most generous and the most efficient donors of aid and civil protection support to Haiti in the past two years. Its assistance aims both to bring immediate relief to Haitians and to ensure long-term recovery of their country. To date, Europeans’ solidarity has alleviated the suffering of 5 million people in Haiti, has prevented the crisis from deteriorating further and has limited the disaster’s twin side-effects: cholera and malnutrition.

At present, the European Commission focuses its support on building strong links between relief, rehabilitation and development, most notably by ensuring the functioning of the State, improving education, health services and civil security, rebuilding roads, shelters and other vital infrastructure, and stimulating the local economy.

Background
During the last two years, the EU has been providing both humanitarian assistance and development aid to rebuild Haiti. The EU is the largest donor to the country: it pledged €1.2 billion to assist Haitian government in all areas over both the short and the long-term. The Commission alone pledged €522 million and has committed more than €358 million.

EU Member States have pledged a total of €201 million in emergency relief, while the European Commission has given €158.5 million in humanitarian aid throughout 2010 and 2011. In 2012 the Commission has set aside €15.25 million in humanitarian aid for Haiti.

The European Union is committed more than ever to the Millennium Development Goals

Mercredi 21 décembre 2011

Additional support was given to 36 ACP countries in the fight against hunger, child mortality, maternal health and providing access to water.

This additional funding will focus on reducing hunger and child mortality and securing better maternal health and drinking water and sanitation facilities. With today’s decision the EU is delivering on its €1 billion MDG initiative, announced in September 2010, at the UN MDGs Summit in New York.

Examples of actions to be financed under the MDG initiative include:
- ensuring better access to food for the poorest households in Haiti
- providing milk to children in nurseries and primary schools in Rwanda
- increasing the number of healthcare professionals in Ghana to reduce maternal mortality
- improving access to save water in Samoa, mainly through rainwater harvesting and better sanitation facilities
The MDG initiative focuses on those African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries that have designed projects of high quality to achieve results in the areas where progress is most needed: hunger, water and sanitation, maternal health and child mortality. Today’s allocation amounts to 700€ million. Project proposals have been identified in partnership with the respective countries and are fully results-oriented: they put clear and measurable indicators in place to secure the benefits of the additional money.

Background
The MDG Initiative

The MDG initiative mobilises money from one of the EU’s main instruments of development aid, the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). It envisages a total extra financial effort of €1 billion. Regarding today’s allocation of €700 million, the European Commission and the EU delegations, in coordination with EU Member States representations and national authorities in the partner countries, will soon start working on the preparation of detailed project designs and specific financing proposals for all the actions to be supported by the MDG initiative, with a view to starting the implementation of most projects by the end of 2012. (For a full list of countries and targeted MDGs, see MEMO/11/930).

In parallel to today’s decision, approximately €300 million of the MDG initiative are in the process of being allocated as a reward to 18 well-performing countries, in the framework of the 10th EDF Mid-term Review.

Progress on the MDGs
The UN Millennium Goals Report 2011 confirms that the world has made significant progress on some of the goals. By 2015, global poverty is currently expected to fall below 15%, which is well below the target of 23%. Increased funding and intensive control efforts have led to a reduction of 20% of global deaths from malaria; HIV infections have been declining steadily and the availability of retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS has increased massively in recent years. Important steps have been made globally towards providing universal primary education.

The European Commission presents its external budget for the next programming

Mercredi 7 décembre 2011

The new budget will fund the EU priorities: the fight against poverty and promoting democracy, peace, stability and prosperity.

The range of instruments will support developing countries as well as countries in the European neighbourhood and those that are preparing accession into the EU. The Commission will seek to target its resources where they are most needed, where they will have the highest impact while ensuring more flexibility to be able to react swiftly to unforeseen events. This budget will also enable the EU to further reinforce its role on the global stage and promote its interests and values.

On the new European Neighbourhood and Pre-accession instruments Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle commented: “These new instruments will allow us to respond even better in the future to our partner’s needs and ambitions. Through the new European Neighbourhood Instrument and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, support to our neighbours will become faster and more flexible; allowing for increased differentiation and incentives for best performers. At the same time it will continue to ensure the success of the democratisation process and improve economic and social development in our immediate neighbourhood, and support the reform process in those countries preparing for EU membership. ”

The budget proposals will support the Commission’s new approach - the “Agenda for Change”- to focus EU aid in fewer sectors supporting democracy, human rights and good governance and creating inclusive and sustainable growth.

Under the new principle of “differentiation,” the EU will allocate a greater proportion of funds where aid can have the highest impact: in the regions and countries that are most in need, including in fragile states. Countries that can generate enough resources to ensure their own development will no longer receive bilateral grant aid and will instead benefit from new forms of partnership; they will continue to receive funds through thematic and regional programmes. This will be complemented by different innovative cooperation modalities such as the blending of grants and loans.

One of the major innovations and a key external policy tool is the new Partnership Instrument. It will aim to advance and promote EU interests and to address major global challenges. It will also allow the EU to pursue agendas beyond development cooperation with industrialised countries, emerging economies, and countries where the EU has significant interests.

Background
Today’s texts are the legal proposals to implement the Multiannual Financial Framework presented by the Commission on 29 June 2011, in the area of external action. The package covers the full range of external support under the EU budget and includes: A Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council: “Global Europe” and the legislative proposals for nine geographic and thematic instruments accompanied by a common implementing regulation

The total amount proposed for these nine instruments is €96,249.4 million over the period 2014-2020 (current prices).

- Pre-accession instrument (IPA): €14,110 million

- European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI): €18,182 million

- Development Cooperation Instrument DCI): €23,295 million

- Partnership Instrument (PI): €1,131 million

- Instrument for Stability (IfS): €2,829 million

- European Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights (EIDHR):€1,578 million

- Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation: €631 million

- Instrument for Greenland: €219 million

- European Development Fund (EDF, outside EU Budget): €34,276 million

The package will be transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council and is expected to be adopted in 2012. (For more details on the various instruments, see MEMO/11/878)

The differentiation approach
Differentiation will be applied first in countries covered by DCI and ENI. Under the DCI it is proposed that 17 Upper Middle Income Countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Thailand, Venezuela and Uruguay) and 2 large Lower Middle Income Countries whose GDP is larger than 1% of global GDP (India, Indonesia) graduate to new partnerships that are not based on bilateral aid. Emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India, in particular, are currently regarded more as EU partners for addressing global challenges.

The Neighbourhood and Pre-Accession Instruments
In the context of the renewed approach to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the new ENI Instrument will provide streamlined support to the same 16 partner countries1 as the previous European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). In line with the principles of differentiation and “more for more”, the ENI will support the strengthening of relations with partner countries and bring tangible benefits to both the EU and its partners in areas such as democracy and human rights, the rule of law, good governance, sustainable economic and social development and progressive economic integration in the EU single market.

The EU will continue its support to enlargement countries2 through a renewed Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), building on the positive experience from the current instrument. IPA will help these countries implement the comprehensive reform strategies needed to prepare for future membership, with emphasis on regional cooperation, implementation of EU laws and standards, capacity to manage the Union’s internal policies upon accession, and delivery of tangible socio-economic benefits in the beneficiary countries. More use will be made of innovative financing arrangements set up with international financial institutions, with EU funds acting as a catalyst for leveraging investment in infrastructure.

European Development Days in Warsaw

Lundi 5 décembre 2011

The European Development Days will be held in Warsaw on 15 and 16 December with the theme of the Spring and Arab democracy.

Interim Prime Minister of Tunisia, H.E. Beji Caid el Sebsi, and Chairman of the National Transitional Council of Libya, H.E. Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil, are the latest special guests to confirm their attendance at European Development Days on 15-16 December, which in the wake of this year’s Arab Spring events, will focus for the first time on democracy, human rights and governance.

The two new speakers will join a long list of high profile world leaders and figures from the international stage who are already confirmed; including the President of Niger, H.E. Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, Haitian President H.E. Mr Michel Martelly, the President of Georgia H.E. Mr Mikheil Saakashvili, H.E. Ms Roza Isakovna Otunbaeva, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, and Professor Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Laureate.

European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, and Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, will all attend. The Polish President, Bronisław Komorowski, will take part in the opening ceremony.

Web-streaming
You can watch the event online while it takes place or choose particular panels and speeches. Photos and videos will be available for download and the website will also include a quote service. We invite you to follow the event at www.eudevdays.eu

Other High-level participants and programme
European Development Days, which this year is organised by the European Commission and the Polish Presidency, has become known as one of the key events on the international development calendar, and will take place in Warsaw between 15 and 16 December.

The key theme of European Development Days will be the link between development and democracy. Organized for the first time in a country east of the former Iron Curtain and in the context of the ongoing political changes in the Arab World the 2011 edition will bring together key players from both regions.

The event will provide a platform for putting the transition experiences of Eastern Europe into a new context.

The other main themes are:

- Aid effectiveness
- The new EU approach to development cooperation: an “Agenda for Change”
- Human rights

The two day event will also provide an opportunity for the development community to discuss the European Commission’s new approach to development cooperation the “Agenda for Change” – a commitment to increase the impact of aid by focusing on fewer sectors and those countries most in need.

Background
European Development Days was launched in 2006 as an opportunity for key partners to come together to talk about how to make aid more effective. The five previous editions have featured 36 heads of state, 60 heads of government or ministers and 7 Nobel Prize laureates. The last edition in 2010 in Brussels attracted a total of 5,000 participants.

Organised by the European Commission and the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, European Development Days is Europe’s premier forum on international affairs and development cooperation. It has global reach and provides a collaborative platform bringing together thousands of development advocates, decision-makers and practitioners.

“Development and Democracy” is the 2011 edition’s main theme and focus. Twenty years ago, Central and Eastern Europe experienced intense transitions. Last year saw the beginning of uprisings in Northern Africa and the Middle East. What better time than now to bring together the development community to take stock, analyse and review the links between political change and socio-economic progress.

The European Commission proposes an asylum policy more inclusive

Vendredi 2 décembre 2011

The Commission has responded to the events of the Arab Spring and lack of mutual trust between Member States

Solidarity has to be at the core of EU asylum policy and the European Commission is working in this direction. Even though common rules are, to a large extent, already in place, asylum solidarity between EU member states is still far too weak. Some countries’ asylum systems do not function well enough. Other countries simply accept far too few asylum seekers, for example, in the first half of this year, over 75% of all asylum applications were made in only 6 Member States (France, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy), meaning that many EU members could take a far greater share of the responsibility. In addition, unforeseen events can over-stretch the capacity of any Member State and the European Union has to be prepared to support these Member States, so that people who arrive are received in dignity.

In a Communication adopted today on “Enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum”, the European Commission proposes to improve asylum systems through the interaction of EU legislation, an enhanced practical cooperation and a better use of EU funding mechanisms.

This will notably be achieved by:

- making the supporting role of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) more effective. Practical cooperation could, for example, be strengthened by making it easier to send officials to help Member States facing particular pressure
- increasing the amount of funds available to Member States and making these more flexible, taking into account significant fluctuations in the number of asylum seekers
- further developing and encouraging the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection amongst EU Member States, notably through financial assistance
introducing an evaluation and early warning mechanism to detect and address emerging problems in Member States’ asylum systems.
Drawing on lessons from the Union’s reaction to the migratory consequences of the events in the Southern Mediterranean, the Communication emphasises in particular the need for better coordination between Union agencies such as, Frontex, Europol and the Fundamental Rights Agency. A reinforcement of cross-agency cooperation is important both when reacting to emergencies and in proactive work, such as risk analysis and early warning capacity.

Background
Asylum flows are not constant, nor are they evenly distributed across the EU. They have, for example, varied from a peak of 425 000 applications for EU-27 States in 2001 down to under 200 000 in 2006, and up to 260 000 in 2010. An increase is expected this year, with the number of asylum applications up by 14% in the first half of 2011 compared to the first half of 2010.

Solidarity has been a central tenet in the field of EU migration for over a decade, since the very beginning of the Union’s common asylum policy (CEAS), and is now enshrined in Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The need to translate solidarity into concrete measures flows from practical realities since Member States’ asylum systems are also interdependent: an overburdened or malfunctioning system in one Member State has a clear impact on all the others.

It is thus the Union’s responsibility to assist these Member States and to uphold the Union’s common values and fundamental rights. Member States, in turn, must ensure that their asylum systems meet the standards set by international and European law, notably through the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

The Stockholm Programme, the roadmap for EU action in the justice, freedom and security field, also calls for the Union to strengthen solidarity on asylum. In particular, it calls for solidarity between Member States as they collectively shoulder the responsibility of setting up a humane and efficient system to manage asylum flows. Today’s Communication is a step closer in answering that call.

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Mardi 29 novembre 2011

It was at this same date in 1947, the Assembly of the UN decided the partition of Palestine

Since 2000, the European Commission has provided almost €600 million in humanitarian aid to help meet the basic needs of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Particular attention is paid to those refugees who do not receive aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near-East (UNRWA) and other organizations, especially those living in the 42 unofficial ‘gatherings’ in Lebanon, lacking the legal status to benefit from UNRWA’s aid programme.

In 2011, the Commission’s assistance supported:

- getting food assistance to 1,130,000 people;
- provided healthcare and psychosocial support for 471,000 vulnerable Palestinians;
- made clean water available to 413,000 people in Gaza, West Bank and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon;
- provided shelter for 655 Palestinians in Lebanon and contributed to the protection and care of children and adult Palestinian refugees.

ACP-EU Assembly

Mardi 22 novembre 2011

Despite economic difficulties, efforts must continue to help the ACP countries according to the co-chair of the Assembly Louis Michel

The Joint Assembly of MEPs and their counterparts from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries is focussing its discussions this week on the consequences of the Arab Spring in Sub-Saharan Africa, the impact of indebtedness on development aid and the food crisis in the Horn of Africa. The resolutions will be adopted on Wednesday.

Democracy, transparency, security

Referring to an urgent resolution on the consequences of the Arab Spring scheduled for adoption by the Assembly, he stressed that difficulties should not be used as a pretext for reducing aid and that the democratic aspirations of the people must not be opposed.

Democracy had progressed in a spectacular way in West Africa in recent years, said Mr Michel. However, he underlined that democratic transitions were extremely fragile and rarely linear and it was essential that elections should always meet the criteria of transparency.

Mr Michel pointed to Somalia’s political and security problems, which must be addressed seriously in order to prevent the problems from spilling over to other countries, such as Kenya.

No more lawless zones

Faure Gnassingbé, President of the host country Togo, stressed that the establishment of a “lawless zone”, similar to that in Somalia, must be prevented in the Gulf of Guinea and in the Sahel area.

He said that the activites of the International Criminal Court should be considered “transitional” and every country had to reinforce its judiciary so that it had the capacity to convict those found guilty.

The Acting Co-President of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Assarid Ag Imbarcaouane of Mali, drew attention to the worsening piracy situation in the Gulf of Guinea. He also urged the EU to dismantle its subsidies for European cotton producers when reforming its agricultural policy, so to avoid unfair competition with ACP cotton producers.

Proliferation of weapons

In his speech, the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, listed food security, drought, infrastructure, access to drinking water, democratic governance and the prevention of the proliferation of weapons following the events in Libya amongst the most important issues to be addressed.

ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly

Vendredi 18 novembre 2011

The next ACP-EU meeting held from November 19 to 23 in Togo, will deal with the Arab Spring and debt for development

Impact of debt on development financing in ACP countries

The economic crisis is hurting countries across the globe and one third of ACP countries are in debt distress or at a high risk of debt distress even though $72 billion in debt reduction was agreed by the international community at the end of last year.

Delegates will look at the ways of resolving the issue, including debt cancellation, debt rescheduling and debt repayment. However, MEPs are keen that money released by debt cancellation goes to social spending, including education and healthcare, that will help the whole population.

Integration of disabled people

Also under discussion will be the social and economic costs of disability. According to the International Labour Organisation disabilities cost 3-7% of GDP in African countries. The likelihood of disability rises with the incidence of poverty and disabled people suffer even more in developing countries, where they face unemployment and poverty, than in the EU.

Since the cost of including disabled people in the workforce is seen as much lower than the cost of exclusion, the focus will be on positive discrimination, challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusion.

The EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) brings together elected representatives of the European Union and ACP countries - the 78 states that signed the Cotonou Agreement in 2000 - the basis for ACP-EU development cooperation.

The European Union and the United States to coordinate disaster management and emergency

Jeudi 17 novembre 2011

The European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) met to discuss the priorities for cooperation in disaster management and emergency response.

The meeting highlights the signature of an administrative agreement between the European Commission and FEMA. With it, the two partners commit to fostering cooperation in disaster risk reduction, resilience and response to disasters.

The agreement and the regular dialogue between the European Commission and FEMA are part of the comprehensive approach of the EU to strategic partners such as the USA, Japan and Russia and neighbouring countries. This approach aims to share knowledge and exchange best practices and to be able to work together in the event of major disasters.

Background
The European Commission has a holistic approach to disaster management; this includes prevention, preparedness, response and rehabilitation. Moreover, the EU has developed various legal and financial instruments to support and complement the national initiatives in disaster preparedness and response of the 27 EU Member States. These include training programmes and joint exercises for civil protection experts, cooperation projects and transport co-financing. Through them, Europe aims to ensure effective response to disasters when they affect its own citizens, as well as effective assistance to other countries when they need disaster relief assistance.

About the EU Civil Protection Mechanism
The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response among 31 European states (EU-27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The participating countries pool the resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of European assistance wherever it is needed. The European Commission manages the Mechanism through its emergency response centre (the Monitoring and Information Centre).

Since its creation in 2001, the Mechanism has been activated for disasters in Europe (like the forest fires in Portugal, floods in the Balkans in 2010 and explosion at a naval base in Cyprus in 2011) as well as worldwide, including after Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan.