Statement by EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs in reaction to the Court of Auditor's report
Brussels, 28 March 2012 – I welcome today's report by the Court of Auditors on EU aid for food security in sub-Saharan Africa. I am very pleased to see that t the Court considers that our work is "mostly effective and makes an important contribution to ensuring that people have access to food". These are encouraging conclusions at a time when supporting food security is high on the political agenda, as showed by the recent announcements of further support in the Horn of Africa and Sahel. However, there is no room for complacency and we share the Court's conclusions and recommendations.
Commissioner Piebalgs made the following statement today:
"Following yesterday's coup d'état in Mali, I decided to suspend temporarily European Commission's development operations in the country until the situation clarifies. This decision does not affect humanitarian aid. I reiterate the call of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, for a speedy resolution of the crisis, restoration of constitutional order and the holding of democratic elections as soon as possible. Mali has achieved steady development progress in recent years which can only be preserved in a stable and democratic environment. In the face of the deteriorating security situation in the North of Mali and the looming food crisis in the region I urge all the parties to ensure protection of civilians and respect for human life."
Today, EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, proposed an aid package, worth €164.5 million, to increase food security in the Sahel countries. The region is currently affected by a food crisis as 15 million people are at risk of hunger. The European Commission has already mobilised €123.5 million for the early humanitarian response to the crisis. The new aid package will support the existing national food security systems managed by governments. In addition, cash/food for work initiatives will be reinforced to benefit the poor so they can afford to buy food and the farmers will receive vouchers for seeds and fertilizers. Moreover, information on food security and nutrition will be improved through improved early warning systems on the food situation. In designing its response the EU also tackles the root causes of food insecurity and under-nutrition through agricultural and health programmes.
To celebrate World Water Day 2012, the European Commission releases the video "More than Water" which shows concrete results of the EU-ACP Water Facility to provide access to drinking water in the Himba villages in the north of Namibia.
In many African countries, female genital mutilation/cutting is a centuries-old custom, believed to make girls marriageable. Estimates show that up to 140 million girls and women have undergone some form of female genital mutilation/cutting and are living with painful complications. Each year around three million girls – 8,000 a day – suffer the results of it. The practice occurs in African countries, and some countries in the Middle East and Asia. Girls are generally aged between five and 11 and most are cut without any medical supervision, but evidence shows the age at which girls are cut is decreasing.
Commissioner Piebalgs visits Haiti: "The EU keeps delivering on its promises to help Haitians to build a better future"
Tomorrow, EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will arrive in Haiti for a two day visit of the country. In line with the EU's commitment to help Haiti's reconstruction in the long term, he will announce an aid package which will enable Haitians to better access functioning basic services, including health, education and security. The aid package also aims to invest in economic development by improving Haitian infrastructure and increasing its support to rebuilding the State's capacity to provide services to Haitians.