EU Pledges €3M for Southern Africa's Urban Communities

JOHANNESBURG - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of EUR 3 million from the European Union (EU) to support the continuation of nutritional support and services to the most vulnerable urban communities in Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The contribution will explore viable pathways for WFP, governments and partners to reduce and mitigate the impact of shocks on vulnerable communities living in urban areas. It aims to understand, identify, and address the various risks faced by these communities, who are disproportionately affected by climate disasters, often resulting in devastating impacts on their livelihoods.

The experience from COVID-19 highlights the inadequate support provided to urban residents by emerging social protection systems in sub-Saharan Africa, especially the urban working poor and informal workers excluded from social assistance and insurance.

Building on the crucial insights gained in its first phase in 2021, the project will work with regional, national, and local authorities to develop guidance from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). These guidelines will help better prepare for urban responses, aiming to reduce the number of people affected by disasters in urban areas. Through a multi-sectoral participatory approach, the two-year project endeavors to enhance the capacity of the National Disaster Management Authorities (DMAs), Social Welfare and Local Governments at improving coordination and collaboration for preparedness and response activities in cities.

"We are grateful for the European Union's support, made through its Humanitarian Aid department," said Lola Castro, acting Regional Director for Southern Africa. "The contribution from the EU will help Governments and WFP to prepare and empower urban communities by strengthening resilience to withstand recurring multiple hazards. This will be done by ensuring emergency readiness and response that address urban dwellers' essential needs through targeted cash-based transfers, which upholds dignity and promotes their self-reliance."

Currently, Southern Africa faces an escalation in rates of malnutrition, coupled with widespread food insecurity among the rural and urban population. This year, more than 30 million people across Southern Africa have been affected by the severe El Niño-induced drought. However, even before the drought, the levels of food insecurity and humanitarian needs were high, driven by socio-economic challenges, high food prices, and the compounding impacts of the climate crisis.

WFP and EU remain steadfast in their commitment to provide humanitarian assistance and support to the most vulnerable people. This contribution underscores the shared dedication to humanitarian principles and the pursuit of a world with Zero Hunger.

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