Thursday, 23 June 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
145. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the Government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, particularly on the United Nations Security Council and the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32925/22]
149. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps being taken by the Irish Government with respect to the crisis unfolding in the Horn of Africa; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33098/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 145 and 149 together.
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.
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.
We will continue to draw international attention to the crisis in our role on the UN Security Council. As informal focal point on hunger and conflict at the UNSC, Ireland has consistently shone a spotlight on the underlying causes of food insecurity and the links between conflict, hunger and climate change.
Ireland has supported a strong EU response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa. In April, the EU pledged €348 million for 2022 to provide both humanitarian assistance and longer-term support to tackle root causes of food insecurity, including climate adaptation and mitigation measures.
Ireland is a committed global leader on food and nutrition. In 2021 Ireland’s commitment to food security and nutrition was reaffirmed with a pledge to spend €800 million over the coming 5 year period for nutrition programmes and interventions.