EU saving lives in Horn of Africa
A Humanitarian Crisis Meeting on the alarming levels offood insecurity in the Horn of Africa was held in Brussels on 5 April 2017.
The meeting was co-hosted by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs (EU HR), Mr Sigmar Gabriel, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, and Mr Stephen O’Brien, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
The objective of the meeting was to raise awareness and share analysis on the dire humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa. Urgent and coordinated action is needed by the international community to rapidly and effectively scale-up life-saving humanitarian aid. While the United Nations and humanitarian partners have already intensified their life-saving response, more funding and access is needed.
With several million people starving and at risk of famine, the Horn of Africa is in dire need of life-saving humanitarian assistance to prevent recurrence of the famine of 2011 in Somalia. Several countries in the area are affected by conflict and displacement, a situation further exacerbated by consecutive severe droughts. The situation is especially dire in Somalia. Millions are also struggling in Ethiopia and Kenya, despite broad and strong support by the Governments. This poses a serious threat to the stability of the region as well as to the security and development gains achieved over the past years.
Humanitarian organisations warn that millions of people could starve if life-saving assistance cannot be providedrapidly. United Nations has described the currentsituation as dramatic and called for urgent action, including funding and humanitarian access.
Humanitarian partners require more than US$5.6 billion in 2017 for Somalia, South Sudan, North-Eastern Nigeria and Yemen. Of this, more than US$4.4 billion is required for immediate assistance to avert an even greater catastrophe.
The EU High Representative (HR), Germany and United Nations reaffirmed their commitment to support the efforts to assist people in need and recognized the extraordinary work done by humanitarian workers often in very difficult circumstances. The EU HR, Germany and United Nations commended the considerable success some governments in the region have achieved in strengthening drought resilience and recognized the efforts of Governments and humanitarian partners in responding to the crisis.
Humanitarian assistance, however, cannot address the structural deficits and root causes underlying the protracted conflicts and food insecurity. Political solutions as well as a parallel scale-up in longer-term action are needed to prevent a recurrence of the situation.
The EU HR, Germany and United Nations called on all partners to increase support for humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa and other crisis areas. The HR/VP, Germany and United Nations stressed that common efforts can only be effective as long as access for the timely delivery of humanitarian aid is granted.
The meeting also served to provide input to the London conference on Somalia on 11 May 2017 and the international meeting “The Berlin Humanitarian Call – jointly against famine” taking place on 12 April 2017 in Berlin.
The meeting was held in the presence of ministerial level representatives from national governments and international organisations, notably several EU Members States, Mr Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management, Norway, Switzerland, ICRC, FAO, WFP and Norwegian Refugee Council.