The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced the governing body will contribute around €600 million to address global food security problems.
The money will be used to finance immediate humanitarian aid, as well as support sustainable food production and boost food system resilience in partner countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.
These areas are witnessing the worst effects of the food security crisis, which have been further aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine war, according to the Commission.
From the €600 million sum, €160.5 million is earmarked for West and Central Africa, €146 million for East Africa and the Great Lakes Region, €76.5 million for Southern Africa, €36.5 million for the Caribbean and €10 million for the Pacific.
An additional €100 million will be used to provide macroeconomic support to Low Income Countries in these regions. This will be donated to the International Monetary Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, allowing countries to take out concessional loans and enabling them to better manage their ongoing food crises.
Some €52.5 million will also be put towards supporting sustainable finance and investments for sustainable agriculture and agrifood value chains at a continental and regional level.
Von der Leyen made the announcement towards the end of a week of discussions with world leaders and international partners at the UN General Assembly in New York.
The estimated total EU support for global food security and food systems now stands at more than €7.7 billion until 2024.
On top of the €600 million, the support includes an estimated €2.2 billion in immediate humanitarian food and nutrition support for the most vulnerable countries, as well as €5 billion for building sustainable food systems in the medium to long term.
President von der Leyen said: “Team Europe is answering the call from citizens to address food security, to take care of our health and the health of our planet. After we joined forces to fight the pandemic, we must now come together to end other deadly diseases, tackle poverty and bring equity.”
She also said the Commission’s funding towards global biodiversity would be doubled, resulting in €7 billion being invested to protect it worldwide. The EU is in the process of delivering its first Forest Partnerships with Mongolia and Guyana in South America, and Uganda, Zambia, and Congo in Africa. This will protect forests from further deforestation, degradation and illegal logging – much of which is a result of current agricultural production.
Earlier this month, the EU revealed another attempt to tackle biodiversity loss, as Parliament voted in favour of limiting the sales of goods produced from deforested or degraded land.
At the UN General Assembly, von der Leyen added that Europe will play a role in “the global green transition.” In advance of the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15, in December, she said: “We are confirming an unprecedented investment in support to our partners. I call on all international donors to match our ambition on biodiversity.”
Learn more about how the war in Ukraine is impacting food security worldwide in this Food Matters Live podcast episode: