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European Commission - Press release

The Commission and the UN agencies team up to fight food insecurity

Brussels, 24 June 2011 - On Monday, 27 June, the European Commission, together with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will launch a new Strategic Framework of Cooperation to address food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide. This agreement will be signed during the Annual Meeting of the FAO in Rome and builds on existing agreements with WFP and FAO.

Today, around 925 million of people in the world remain undernourished. The poor are particularly vulnerable to crises, the negative effects of climate change and high food prices. Over the past year, more than 40 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty by an increase in food prices. The three Rome-based Organisations are the key UN forces in food security and nutrition. The European Commission is one of the biggest global donors in the area of food security. Humanitarian food assistance is the single largest aid sector in the EU's humanitarian budget, representing more than € 1,1 billion from 2007 to 2010. Additionally, around €850 million is allocated to fight food insecurity each year through food assistance.

With these institutions joining forces, the international community will be better equipped to achieve better food security and nutrition on the ground both in the short and the longer term.

European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs said: "No country can exit from poverty and develop with a poorly fed population. Fighting hunger and food insecurity remains at the top of EU priorities, which will be reflected in the upcoming proposals on the future EU development policy. However, we are aware that eradicating hunger cannot be achieved by a single player. Joining forces with UN agencies is the most efficient recipe, which already created success stories such as the eradication of rinderpest this year".

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "We are fully committed to helping ensure that the most vulnerable are adequately fed. An increasing number of people are affected by natural disasters and conflicts, and resources are limited. A challenge of this magnitude requires the cooperation of all of us who share the same goal - to ensure that we deliver aid in the most efficient and effective manner. In the Framework of Cooperation that we are signing, the European Commission emphasizes its support for the three Rome-based agencies."

This agreement reinforces the partnership between all four organisations around a clear and common objective of food security for the most vulnerable while sharing the roles and actions. It will also help foster synergies among the agencies and ensure continuity between relief, rehabilitation and longer term development actions.

Background

EU tools to address Food Insecurity

For the period 2007-2013, the EU food security policy is financed through:

  • the implementation of food security policy at national and regional level is supported by geographical financial instruments. Under the current European Development Fund, Africa alone has received over €1 billion.

  • food security issues at global, continental and regional level are addressed by the Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP). Under the FSTP about €250 million per annum are committed.

  • In order to respond rapidly to problems caused by the food crisis in developing countries, the €1 billion Food Facility was launched in 2008 and provides assistance to countries most affected by the crisis over a three-year period 2009-2011. 8 contribution agreements were signed with FAO covering a total of 31 projects in 28 countries for an amount of €229 million (54% for Africa, 33% for Asia and Pacific and 13% for Latin America and Caribbean). In total, more than 50 million people in the world benefited from the Food Facility's support.

Reducing food insecurity of the most vulnerable: a significant component of the EU's humanitarian assistance

The aim of food assistance is to provide the most appropriate response to reduce the food insecurity faced by the most vulnerable people affected by natural disasters and other crises. An appropriate humanitarian food assistance response considers not only food distribution but the whole range of food assistance tools available, for example food-for-work and cash & vouchers. The aim is to ensure that the most effective and efficient response is provided to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in a given crisis context.

Humanitarian food assistance was provided to the most vulnerable people over 50 countries across the globe.

For more information:

MEMO/11/453

Press release on Eradication of rinderpest

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/multimedia/pdf/ip_20101222_rinderspest.pdf

IP and MEMO on Food facility:

Website of Development and Cooperation DG - EuropeAid:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

The European Commission's humanitarian aid:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Catherine Ray (+32 2 296 99 21)

Wojtek Talko (+32 2 297 85 51)

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)


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