Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
377. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide an update on Irish Aid to the Horn of Africa region; the efforts that are being made to avoid a humanitarian crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32064/22]
The Horn of Africa is experiencing one of the most severe droughts in at least forty years, pushing the region close to the brink of catastrophe. Food prices are rising as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Responding, my Department through the Irish Aid programme has contributed over €48 million in direct humanitarian support to drought-affected Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia over the past 18 months, working with partners on the ground who can act fast to provide life-saving critical assistance to those who need it most. These interventions complement the Irish Aid investment of over €12 million in development funding last year to communities across the region, including in partnership with Irish NGOs, to help address the underlying causes of food insecurity and to build community resilience.
In addition, communities in the drought-affected countries are being supported through Ireland’s contributions to multilateral humanitarian action, such as the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) which reacts immediately to crises as they happen. Ireland is the 8th largest contributor to CERF providing €11.5 million in 2022. Since 2021, the CERF has allocated almost $100 million to help drought-affected communities in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
Ireland is a consistent advocate for increased support to the Horn of Africa at a global level. On 26 April Ireland delivered a statement at the high-level roundtable chaired by the UN and EU on the drought in the Horn, at which member states pledged $1.3bn to the humanitarian response. As informal focal point on hunger and conflict at the UN Security Council, Ireland has consistently shone a spotlight on the underlying causes of food insecurity and the links between conflict and hunger and the impact of climate change. Ireland also hosts bi-annual briefings for UNSC member states by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on food insecurity in conflict affected countries.
Ireland is a committed global leader in the global food and nutrition space with prominent political leadership and funding on the world stage. Following the UN Food Systems Summit and the Nutrition for Growth Summit in 2021, Ireland’s commitment to leadership and support for food security and nutrition was reaffirmed with a pledge to spend €800 million over the coming 5 year period for nutrition programmes and interventions.