By Ere-ebi Agedah
The European Commission has adopted a proposal to mobilise €600 million from the reserves of the European Development Fund to address the current food security crisis aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
These funds will support African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to cope with the dire situation, through humanitarian assistance (€150 million), sustainable production and resilience of food systems (€350 million) and macro-economic support (€100 million).
Announcing the new support measure at the 2022 European Development Days in Brussels, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Russia’s war of aggression is taking a heavy and senseless toll, not only on the Ukrainian population, but also those most vulnerable around the world. Russia is still blocking millions of tonnes of desperately needed grain. To help our partners we will mobilise an additional 600 million euros to avoid a food crisis and an economic shock.”
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “Solidarity is at the core of our European Union values. The most vulnerable are facing tremendous suffering with a worsened food crisis following Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. With these additional €600 million, we will strengthen our support to address the crisis, while contributing to sustainable and resilient food systems.”
The Commission proposes to direct the €600 million mobilised from the European Development Fund reserves to support the most affected African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. This will address different dimensions of the crisis by sustaining:
Humanitarian assistance: €150 million for cash assistance whenever appropriate and where possible, support through existing social protection and safety nets mechanisms.
Food production and resilience of food systems: €350 million in the medium to long term to support investments in sustainable production to underpin more resilient food systems, including social sustainability (youth and women).
Macro-economic support: €100 million for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PGRT) of the IMF, which will facilitate support to affected countries. EU support to the PRGT is part of a Team Europe approach and the additional contribution is expected to incentivise other donors to contribute as well.
These €600 million to contribute to the EU Global Food Security Response to help tackle the food crisis, comes on top on top of already mobilised humanitarian assistance worldwide, and funds from NDICI-Global Europe earmarked for projects on sustainable agriculture, basic nutrition, water and sanitation, and social safety protection, amounting to over €2 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa and another €1 billion for the Southern Neighbourhood partners, that complement the EU’s Food and Resilience Facility worth €225 million in support of this region. Another €960 million are foreseen under NDICI-Global Europe for Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia until 2024.
Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, close to 193 million people across 53 countries and territories were acutely food insecure and in need of urgent assistance. Russia’s attack is dramatically worsening the situation.
The EU has reacted with a series of strategic decisions. In its 23 March communication on food security, the European Commission reaffirmed its firm commitment to fight global food insecurity, together with its partners.
The EU Global Food Security Response operationalises the various strands of action – including as foreseen within FARM and the G7 Global Alliance – while providing the necessary support to the UN Global Crisis Response Group. It comprises of four strands of action, to be implemented jointly with the Member States in a Team Europe approach: 1. Solidarity: emergency relief and affordability; 2. Sustainable production and resilience; 3. Trade: facilitating food trade; 4. Effective multilateralism.
The funds that the Commission proposes to use are de-committed funds from the 10th and 11th EDF, which would return to EU Member States unless otherwise agreed by the Council by unanimity. If the Council confirms, these funds will benefit African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and will be used in the framework of a Team Europe response.