Tag Archives: Aid

MALI: Ms.Pétronin hostage liberation

The son of the French-Swiss humanitarian worker Sophie Pétronin, the last French hostage in the Sahel since her kidnapping by armed men linked to Al Qaeda at the end of 2016, flew to Bamako, Mali, on October 6, in the hope of his soon being released.

Sophie Pétronin, 75, was kidnapped on December 24, 2016 in Gao, northern Mali, where she ran a children’s aid organization.

This morning Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin, who has traveled to Mali several times in an attempt to secure his mother’s release, has confirmed to a several news agencies that he had boarded a commercial flight to Bamako.

“There is still nothing official,” he said shortly before his plane took off. However, he referred to converging information coming from “reliable sources”.

According to a French security source in the Sahel, the hostages are being transferred to Bamako.

In a fragile state, the French humanitarian aid worker Sophie Pétronin should be released at the same time as the Malian opponent Soumaïla Cissé, kidnapped in March by a group linked to Al Qaeda, as part of a prisoner exchange, said three security sources.

More than 200 jihadists have been released in the past two days, according to security sources in Mali. (Image below: Strasbourg).

EU supports East Africa in locust outbreak

The EU has mobilised a further €15 million to support the United Nations and partner countries in the fight against one of the worst desert locust outbreaks seen in East Africa in decades.

The desert locust outbreak has had a devastating impact on food security in an already vulnerable region. Efforts to halt the spread of the locust infestation have been further strained due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is why the EU is increasing its support to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) response plan and will support broader EU development cooperation and humanitarian assistance in the region.

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “Our friends and partners in the Horn of Africa have experienced the catastrophic consequences of this desert locust outbreak on livelihoods and food security, a situation that is aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic which has made intervention efforts more difficult. Earlier this year we demonstrated the need to react quickly to combat the outbreak. Today’s decision to increase our support shows we are determined to continue our action to tackle food insecurity as a founding member of the Global Network Against Food Crises.”

The decision coincided with an Informal Ministerial on the Horn of Africa hosted by Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, and attended by Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen; African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smaїl Chergui; UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary A. DiCarlo and IGAD Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu.

The FAO has formulated a response plan, but given the continued desert locust crisis, country interventions must be scaled up to support national governments of the affected countries. The EU, together with partners in the region, is committed to containing this outbreak, anticipating its impacts on food and nutrition security and protecting the livelihoods of millions of vulnerable people across Eastern Africa and beyond.

The EU’s €15 million contribution announced today comes in addition to €42 million mobilised in early 2020 for a broad humanitarian-development approach in the region.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world. Crop and food losses in affected areas can be enormous, generating direct dramatic negative impacts on agriculture and livelihoods. Local food markets can also be affected, as food availability declines, impacting on an already vulnerable population through spikes to food prices.

The situation in East Africa has rapidly deteriorated, where 27.5 million people suffer from severe food insecurity and at least 35 million more are at risk. Weather conditions have been unusually conducive to the breeding and further spreading of locusts. Damage to crop and pasture have been devastating across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia and the outbreak may spread to neighbouring countries, particularly Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Yemen, Sudan, Iran, India and Pakistan are also at risk.

The FAO’s response plan estimates that around €206 million will be required for the most urgent activities for both desert locust control and agricultural livelihood protection and recovery.

EU-Italy provide aid to Somalia

“The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight arrived in Mogadishu from Brindisi, Italy, carrying humanitarian and medical supplies provided by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italian civil society organisations and international NGOs. Two other flights to Somalia will take off from Brindisi in the coming days, with additional material on board, bringing the total of cargo to 42 tonnes.

“This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation will support the coronavirus response in Somalia with personal protective equipment and medical material. In addition, the flights are helping humanitarian organisations transport supplies needed to reinforce their projects in the recently flood-hit areas in Somalia. Given the urgency of the needs, the EU accorded utmost importance that these flights are operated at the earliest possibility,” Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said.

“This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation is a tangible demonstration of a functioning and efficient Team Europe approach, strongly supported by Italy. The Italian Cooperation has a long-standing presence in Somalia, and through this important joint operation, and also thanks to all participating partners and to the collaboration of the humanitarian hub in Brindisi, we can bring additional aid and relief to the Somali population” Emanuela C. Del Re, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said.

The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Somalia have been put in place thanks to a cooperation between the European Commission and Italy. The flights are being facilitated by the Humanitarian Logistics Network and have been organised in coordination with the Somali authorities and the Delegation of the European Union in Mogadishu. The totality of the transport costs are financed by the European Commission, humanitarian organisations provide the cargo.

The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operations form part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic within the ‘Team Europe’ approach, bringing together the EU and its Member States. The total Team Europe’s support to Somalia in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic amounts to around €55 million. This funding helps to strengthen the health system, support the economy in these challenging times, train health staff and reinforce social support systems. As part of this package, the EU just announced a €5.85 million development programme to enhance coronavirus preparedness, response, and mitigation for internally displaced people (IDPs) and people living in the most vulnerable situations in Mogadishu. This programme will be based on previous and ongoing work on long-lasting solutions under the EU Trust Fund for Africa that support the city administration to deliver basic services in IDP settlements.

Somalia has suffered for decades from prolonged conflict combined with extreme weather, especially recurrent droughts and floods. Against a background of widespread poverty, it is now also facing the worst desert locust infestation in 25 years and a rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak.https://twitter.com/fabiomassimo85/status/1279865042578616322?s=21

COVID19: Urpilainen announces €55M Kenya aid

“Team Europe stands by Kenya during Covid-19 with €55m package of support. €25m to ensure #SafeTrade at borders and to support #SMEs with affordable loans to stay afloat, €30M in budget support to #GoK to create space for priority public expenditure in response to pandemic” EU Commisisoner Jutta Urpilainen announced.

Kenyan relevant authorities announced 134 new positive cases on June 5, and 2,474 total confirmed cases, 51 new recoveries, 643 Total discharged and recovered, total 79 fatalities.

EU restates support to Zimbabwe

The Council today adopted conclusions on Zimbabwe restating the EU’s continued support for economic and political reforms in the country, as well as for the formal political dialogue which was resumed in 2019, as a step towards a more constructive EU-Zimbabwe relationship.

https://twitter.com/eucouncilpress/status/1229347384884371456?s=21

The conclusions note the ongoing acute humanitarian crisis in the country, and renew the EU’s support for the people of Zimbabwe in various sectors, such as economic development, primary health care, resilience building, as well as through humanitarian assistance.

Taking into account the situation in Zimbabwe, including the yet to be investigated alleged role of the armed and security forces in human rights abuses, the Council today agreed to renew its arms embargo and targeted assets freeze against one company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, for one year until 20 February 2021. The existing restrictive measures against four individuals are suspended.
The arms embargo, as well as the asset freeze against Zimbabwe Defence Industries, do not affect the Zimbabwean economy, foreign direct investment, or trade.

The decision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU on 18 February 2020.

Restrictive measures were initially introduced in February 2002, when the Council expressed grave concern at the situation in Zimbabwe, in particular with regard to serious human rights violations by the country’s government at the time.

The Council conclusions highlight that the EU stands ready to review the whole range of its policies at any time, when justified, based on developments in the country.

EU towards “new partnership” with Africa

‘To speak of the future, one must speak of Africa – Europe’s twin continent.
Africa is the future: By 2050, Africa’s population will number 2.5 billion. One in four people on earth will be African” – said Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission in his 2018 State of Union speech.

“We need to invest more in our relationship with the nations of this great and noble continent. And we have to stop seeing this relationship through the sole prism of development aid. Such an approach is beyond inadequate, humiliatingly so.
Africa does not need charity, it needs true and fair partnerships. And Europe needs this partnership just as much.
“In preparing my speech today, I spoke to my African friends, notably Paul Kagame, the Chairperson of the African Union. We agreed that donor-recipient relations are a thing of the past. We agreed that reciprocal commitments are the way forward. We want to build a new partnership with Africa.

“Today, we are proposing a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa. This Alliance – as we envision it – would help create up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next 5 years alone. We want to create a framework that brings more private investment to Africa. We are not starting from scratch: our External Investment Plan, launched two years ago, will mobilise over €44 billion in both the public and private investment. Alone the projects already in the pipeline will unlock €24 billion.
We want to focus our investment where it matters the most. By 2020, the EU will have supported 35,000 African students and researchers with our Erasmus programme. By 2027, this figure should reach 105,000.

“Trade between Africa and Europe is not insignificant. 36% of Africa’s trade is with the European Union. This compares to 16% for China and 6% for the United States. But this is not enough. I believe we should develop the numerous European-African trade agreements into a continent-to continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals”.

EU provides €200 million aid to Somalia

The Forum in Brussels, organised by the European Union together with the Federal Government of Somalia and the Kingdom of Sweden, gathered representative from 58 countries and 6 international organisations. It brought together the Somali President Abdullahi Mohamed, High Representative Federica Mogherini and Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.

he conference aimed at raising awareness and support for Somalia, a country making progress in a number of critical areas despite extraordinary challenges.

“The European Union is leading the international partnership to strengthen Somalia’s political, economic and security reform agenda. Today, I announced that the EU will provide additional €200 million to support Somalia’s overall stabilisation to create a better future for its people. I also signed the EU’s contribution of €114.2 million for the African Union Mission to Somalia until the end of this year. The stability and development of the country is also critical for the stability of the broader region and for Europe” EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said.

Through the three EU security and defence missions based in Somalia: EUTM, EU Operation ATALANTA, and EUCAP Somalia, the EU is contributing to capacity building within the local security sector by providing training, advising, mentoring, as well as deterring and repressing acts of piracy. Also, the EU is an important partner of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has enabled Somalia’s peacebuilding and state-building with the focus on respect of human rights, protection of civilians, with particular attention to the rights of women as well as the protection of children, and prevention and countering of violent extremism.

The EU has consistently supported the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) which has been operating for 10 years now and with €1.73 billion. The EU is currently increasing its security support to the country, reorienting it to more direct support to the Somali institutions.

The EU has also stepped up its humanitarian contribution, with €89 million in new funding announced last week.

“The Federal Government of Somalia is fully committed to implement the Political Roadmap 2020, Transition plan for security, economic reform and reach out to the whole of Somalia for reconciliation and dialogue. The Somalia Partnership Forum is key for strengthened partnerships with our regional and international partners. We want to work according to the theme of the forum – forward together” – President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed stated.

“The Somalia Partnership Forum has made a number of strong commitments for inclusive politics. We encourage Somalia to adopt national laws and policies that protect women’s and girls’ human rights and enable them to have a stronger role in society. Somalia has taken very important steps on the pathway for sustainable peace and development. Sweden remains a committed partner and will double our development support to Somalia to approximately $350 million over the next five years.” – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Margot Wallström underlined.

 

 

 

EU pledges more than  €400 million for Sahel

The International High Level Conference on the Sahel, co-chaired today by the European Union, the United Nations, the African Union and the G5 Sahel group of countries -Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, – has mobilised political support for the Sahel region, €414 million to support the Joint security Force of the G5 Sahel whilst reinforcing the coordination of sustainable development efforts in the region.

Sahel presser

“Instability has many factors so our response must be linked and ambitious. Security and development must go hand in hand – on the occasion, President Jean-Claude Juncker said.  “To do so, we must continue to mobilise all the instruments we have at our disposal. The EU has doubled its support to €100 million to reinforce the operationalisation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force and I am proud that all our friends and partners of the Sahel joined us in these efforts.”

Key decisions of the High Level Conference:

  • Reinforced political support to the region: A Joint Communiqué was adopted, reaffirming support to assist the G5 countries in bringing greater stability to the region. Important support was given to the Mali peace process: those that threaten the process can face sanctions.
  • Increased financial assistance for security: the EU doubled its funding to the G5 Sahel Joint Force to €100 million, which aims to improve regional security and fight terrorism. The EU and its Member States together contributed to half of the international support of the Joint Force. This new funding fully meets the needs of the Joint Force and gives it the means to improve security conditions in the region.
  • Better coordination of development efforts: with €8 billion in development aid over 2014-2020, the EU is the biggest donor to the G5 Sahel countries. The EU will play a leading role in the Alliance for the Sahel launched in July 2017. This new initiative aims to coordinate and deliver aid quicker and more efficiently in the most fragile regions and is open to all the partners of the international community.

The EU uses all its tools to support development efforts in the region, notably the ‘EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa’ under which €843 million has been committed so far. The EU is also a member and key supporter of the newly formed Alliance for the Sahel, set up recently to coordinate existing EU and Member States development assistance better and faster in the region.

In 2014, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger set up the “G5 Sahel” group of countries to foster close cooperation in the region and tackle the major challenges that these countries face – from extreme poverty, terrorism or trafficking of human beings, which has potential spill-over effects outside the region. Since then, the EU has stepped up cooperation with this African-led initiative to build a strong partnership on many fronts: from political dialogue, to development and humanitarian support, to strengthening security and tackling irregular migration.

The EU is itself a key security player in the region, with its 3 active Common Security and Defence Policy missions: EUCAP Sahel NigerEUCAP Sahel MaliEU training mission (EUTM) in Mali.