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Brussels, 15 May 2009

EU € 1 billion “Food Facility”: Commission signs the first contribution agreements with UN partner agencies

Today Koos Richelle, Director-General of EuropeAid Co-operation Office, will sign on behalf of the European Commission the first contribution agreements of the Food Facility with three UN implementing partners: FAO (€106M), UNRWA (€ 39.6M) and UNICEF (€8.2M). Similar contribution agreements with the World Food Programme (€38.7M), and UNOPS (€ 10M) are expected to be finalised shortly, to be followed by agreements with the World Bank, IFAD and UNDP.

These agreements are financed under the € 1 billion Food Facility, which will support actions implemented by International Organisations, recipient governments and regional organisations. Also under this facility a €200 million call for proposals will be launched on the 26th May 2009, to finance projects to be implemented by NGOs, EU member states development agencies and local authorities active in 35 priority countries.

The signature of these agreements underlines the importance of the European Union as the world's first donor in improving food security across the globe. Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid stressed that: 

“At a time when the combined effects of the financial and food crises negatively impact developing countries, it is crucial for the EU to match its words with concrete action: that is exactly what the European Commission is doing today. The projects to be funded will impact positively on the lives of millions of the poorest people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The agreements to be signed today show that the EC and partner countries alike, are acting in a coordinated and swift manner in order to deliver on their prior aid commitments.

These agreements are a testimony to our fruitful partnership with the UN and WB, which was re-enforced in the reaction to the global food crisis."

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations added:

“Our food facility arrives in a crucial moment. By increasing agricultural production, and supporting social measures to protect the most vulnerable, the Food Facility will have a real and tangible impact on the most vulnerable populations in the world, and help ensure access to food for all, particularly in these times of crisis.”

The five UN agencies with which the Commission is to sign implementing agreements of the Food Facility are recognised for their sectoral and area-specific expertise in the field of food security. They have consulted local governments, NGOs and stakeholders during the identification of projects in order to ensure true ownership.

Concrete examples of projects financed within the framework of the agreements signed today include: 

  • access to agricultural inputs (FAO) : in Zimbabwe, seeds and fertilisers and training are expected to be provided to 150.000 vulnerable rural households and should result in increased cereal yield within the next agricultural season for 10 to 15% of communal farmers in the country;  
  • safety net measures (WFP) :  in Bangladesh, employment generating projects targeting 78.000 ultra poor rural households will improve irrigation and infrastructure and flood protection assets, thereby stimulating both agricultural supply (by boosting agricultural productivity) and demand (through cash transfers);
  • measures designed to reduce acute malnutrition rates (UNICEF): in Mali, the Food Facility will allow the distribution of appropriate treatment of 30.000 severely malnourished children and the training of two and a half million mothers, caretakers and young children on best feeding practices.

Information on the signing ceremony:

The signing ceremony will take place at EuropeAid Co-operation Office (Rue de la Loi 43, 1049 Brussels) on 15th May at 16:00 with the Director General of EuropeAid Co-Operation Office, Mr Koos Richelle, the Assistant Director General of FAO's Technical Cooperation department, Mr José M. Sumpsi, the Head of UNRWA's representation in Bruxelles, Mr Matthias Burchard, the Director of UNICEF's delegation to the EU, Mr Philippe Cori and the Donor relations officer of WFP, Mr Denis Vidal. Interested media are invited to contact Charlotta Asplund,, +32 229 85 480.


The above-mentioned agreements refer to actions agreed within the framework of the 1st financing decision by the Commission on the Food Facility which provides support to projects and programmes in 23 developing countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burma/Myanmar, Burundi, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe.

The overall plan for the implementation of the Food Facility contains a list of 50 target countries which will receive assistance during a three year period. Support will be provided through International Organisations, Regional Organisations and national governments as well as a Call for Proposals for activities by Non-States Actors, Member States bodies and other eligible implementing actors. 

More information:

Previous press releases on the EU € 1 billion “Food Facility”:

Facilité alimentaire pour les pays en développement (16/12/2008): PRES/08/373

EU €1 billion "Food Facility" for developing countries – Commission adopts overall plan and first implementation decision (30/03/2009):

EU € 1 billion "Food Facility" for Developing Countries – Commission adopts 2nd implementation decision (29/04/2009): IP/09/663

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