During an interactive debate the invited practitioners and policy-makers will discuss how EU Institutions and Member States, civil society organisations and stakeholders in partner countries can learn from our experiences with combating the current famine in the Horn of Africa, and evaluate what needs to be done to prevent another crisis of this scale.
The objective of the event is to look at the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa as an extreme example of the broken food system at the global level that does not respect the right to food of millions of people. A systematic failure to address the root causes of food insecurity in the region led to the first famine of the 21st century. Droughts may be inevitable in this region, but disasters are not. Practitioners and policy-makers will discuss how to prevent another crisis on this scale and the role that the EU institutions and EU Member States can play in reaching the solutions that exist by addressing the long-term problems that make people vulnerable in the first place.
The Horn of Africa denotes the region containing the countries of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia and is currently experiencing a severe drought, with 2011 being recorded, in some locations, as the driest or second driest year on record since 1951. The devastating impact of the drought has been compounded by rising food prices, creating a food security and acute livelihood crisis for over 12 million people. The regions that are worst affected are in northern Kenya, southern Ethiopia, and south-central Somalia. Other countries in and around the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan and parts of Uganda, are also affected by a food crisis.
The overall EU response to the Horn crisis has been positive. ECHO reacted early to forecasts that rains were expected to be scarce and increased funding to the Horn of Africa at the beginning of 2011. ECHO’s contribution to the horn crisis currently stands at EUR 180m for 2011. Member States were slower to react but concerted effort, encouraged by Commissioner Georgieva, pushed an increase in bilateral funding to its current total of EUR 500m making a total EU contribution of EUR 680m.
The severity of the current crisis is exceptional, but was in no way inevitable. The EU already has a number of policies in place that can contribute to preventing crises like this one from reoccurring.
-Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response;
-Prof. Mark Breusers, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
-Fran Equiza, Regional Director - Horn, East and Central Africa, Oxfam GB
-Yemi Akinbamijo, Head of the Agriculture and Food Security Division at the African Union, African Union
-Nazanine Moshiri, Al Jazeera English
-Ricardo Cortés Lastra. Member of European Parliment