The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has concluded an intense week of discussions with world leaders and international partners at the UN General Assembly in New York with a series of pledges to tackle the current food crisis, aggravated by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the urgent climate and nature crisis and to improve global health.
Speaking at the Global Citizen Festival in New York, President von der Leyen has reiterated EU’s commitment to help our most vulnerable partners deal with the social and economic fallout of Russia’s unlawful actions and boost sustainable investments under the EU’s Global Gateway strategy.
President von der Leyen pledged €715 million for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which brings the total Team Europe (EU and Member States) contribution to more than €4.3 billion. She also announced the allocation of the €600 million in additional funds for addressing the global food security crisis in the most vulnerable partner countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific.
In addition, the President announced a new contribution of €45 million over six years to support sexual and reproductive health and rights – and women’s rights – worldwide.
And she announced that the doubling of the Commission’s funding to global biodiversity would result in €7 billion invested to protect biodiversity around the world. In addition, the President announced that the European Union is preparing forest partnerships with five countries – Uganda, Zambia, Congo, Mongolia and Guyana.
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. And Europe will also play its role in the global green transition. Ahead of COP15 in December, we are confirming an unprecedented investment in support to our partners. I call on all international donors to match our ambition on biodiversity.”
Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “We must unite to put the Sustainable Development Goals back on track. As announced at the Transforming Education Summit this week, the EU has significantly increased its investment in education – the accelerator of progress on all SDGs. With these new announcements today, we call on the international community to join us in investing more, more equitably and more efficiently in people and planet.”
Stepping up EU support to the most vulnerable African, Caribbean and Pacific countries hit by the food crisis
The European Commission has redirected €600 million from the 10th and 11th European Development Funds to finance immediate humanitarian aid and to support sustainable food production and resilience of food systems in the most vulnerable partner countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific.
With these funds the EU will help its partners to face the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, notably the food security crisis and the related economic shock, by strengthening partners’ autonomy. From the additional €600 million, €160.5 million have been allocated for West and Central Africa, €146 million for East Africa and the Great Lakes, €76.5 million for Southern Africa, €36.5 million for the Caribbean and €10 million for the Pacific.
An additional €52.5 million will focus on sustainable finance and investments for sustainable agriculture and agrifood-value chains at continental and regional level and a further €100 million will provide macroeconomic support to African, Caribbean and Pacific Low Income Countries by leveraging, via a contribution to the International Monetary Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, concessional loans thereby creating fiscal space to help these countries address the food crisis situation.
This brings the estimated total EU support to global food security and food systems to over €7.7 billion until 2024. Along with the additional €600 million, this is includes an estimated €2.2 billion in immediate humanitarian food and nutrition assistance for the most vulnerable countries and €5 billion to be invested in sustainable food systems in the medium to long term.
Supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide
UNFPA is the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, active in about 150 countries worldwide. Its mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
The UNFPA Supplies Partnership supports countries in strengthening their health systems to provide sexual and reproductive health services, including contraceptive options, for all persons of reproductive age. The programme is set to cover 54 countries with high rates of maternal mortality and unmet family planning needs.
With the additional contribution of €45 million from the European Commission, the UNFPA Supplies Partnership will help save and improve lives by delivering modern contraceptives and life-saving maternal health medicines to the women and adolescents who need them the most.
The EU remains strongly committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and women’s rights, as enshrined in the European Consensus on Development and the Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in External Relations.
Fighting against HIV, TB and malaria and for better health for all
Earlier this week, the European Commission announced a new record pledge of €715 million to the Global Fund for the period 2023-2025 at the Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference in New York. The European Union and its Member States are a major contributor to the Global Fund, with combined pledges of more than €4.3 billion for the period 2023-2025 testifying to the strong commitment of ‘Team Europe’ to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
In just 20 years, the Global Fund partnership has saved 50 million lives and cut the death toll from the three diseases by more than half. Yet malaria alone still kills a child nearly every minute.
In 2023-2025, the Global Fund aims to save a further 20 million lives, avert more than 450 million infections, cut the death rate from HIV, TB and malaria by 64% and build a healthier, more equitable world, including through investments in strengthening health systems and community networks.
Global funding for biodiversity
The President’s announcement of a €7 billion investment in biodiversity protection worldwide is a concrete follow up to the commitment she made last year to double biodiversity financing for 2021-2027, especially for the most vulnerable countries. Today’s announcement comes at a critical moment ahead of December’s UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal set to adopt a Global Biodiversity Framework.
The European Union and the Member States have started making good on this commitment on the ground. For example, with the NaturAfrica initiative, the EU supports partner countries in Africa to combine nature preservation with socio-economic development.
The EU contribution to the Great Green Wall Initiative led by the African Union is another example of support to a mosaic of green and productive landscapes across Sahelian and Horn of Africa countries, from Senegal to Djibouti and Somalia. Through the Regreening Africa project, the EU is supporting land restoration across one million hectares, benefitting 500,000 households in Mali, Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Rwanda.
The Commission is also delivering and should sign its first Forest Partnerships this year to support partner countries to sustainably manage, protect and restore their forest for the benefits of their populations and long-term development.