The European Union is Uganda’s most generous development partner
Speech by Christos STYLIANIDES
European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management
• H.E. the Secretary-General of the United Nations
• H.E. the President of the Republic of Uganda
• H.E. the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
• Rt Hon. Prime Minister of Uganda
• Honourable Ministers and Members of Parliament
• Representatives of the Media
• Ladies and Gentlemen
I stand here before you today, in humble admiration. You have received refugees like friends and neighbours from 13 countries in the region. We are here today to reaffirm our solidarity with a nation that keeps its doors open for those seeking sanctuary from violence, hatred and hunger. We applaud you for being inspired by your past. Only a few decades ago, it was Ugandans who sought refuge across the world from violence and fear. You have not forgotten.
The EU stands firmly behind the goals set in New York last September. We are actively supporting the development of the new CRRF for Uganda and pledges to support its implementation. Solidarity requires action. The European Union is Uganda's most generous development partner, with current combined commitments over the 2014 - 2020 period standing at over eight hundred 800 million euro.
We immediately reacted to the onset of the new influx of refugees from South Sudan. I was here myself in November last year to underscore the need to continue to support the humanitarian response to the regional South Sudanese crisis as a whole. Although Europe is facing an unprecedented migration and refugee crisis on our doorstep, our commitment towards Ugandahas not diminished. So far, in 2017, the European Union and its Member States have covered about half of the overall humanitarian efforts in Uganda.
Today, in agreement with the European Commissioner for Development Aid Neven Mimica and on behalf of the people of Europe, I am pleased to announce that the European Union steps up its support to the refugee response in Uganda with an amount of 85 million euro. With the additional separate announcements from the European Member States who are present here today, the overall help from the people of Europe amount to almost 210million euro.
We aim to support the most pressing humanitarian needs of refugees and host communities, and the promotion of their self-reliance in the West part of Uganda. This is why we have also re-opened the EU Humanitarian Office in Uganda, and established regular humanitarian Flights in support of this work.
Yesterday, along with the UN and international partners, we visited the Imvepi settlement in Arua. I was impressed by the Government's professional coordination and the dedicated work of UN agencies in collaboration with local and international NGOs. We witnessed a good registration process with further possibilities for improvement. We saw efficient food distribution posts and medical services. We visited classrooms full of smiley children. These people have fled violence and terror. Our moral obligation is to help them. To give them their smile back. To give them dignity. To give them hope. The government of Uganda, the host communities and the humanitarian staff in Imvepi are doing exactly that. This is why we are proud to support their efforts.
At the same time, as the CRRF model prescribes, we must address long-term development needs. Next month, the Government of Uganda and the European Union will launch our flagship Development Initiative for Northern Uganda. This will benefit host communities and refugees. The European Union contribution amounts to one hundred and thirty two (132) million euro. I thank the EU Member States for their generosity and vision in supporting these commitments.
We cannot pledge our support today, without stressing the need for a lasting solution to the root causes of displacement. Notably in South Sudan. The lives of many South Sudanese hang in the balance, threatened by brutal violence, famine and hardship. Peace in South Sudan is out of reach. Unfortunately. The solution to this crisis lies squarely in the hands of the political leadership - both Government and opposition - of South Sudan. Unfortunately we cannot subscribe to the outcome document in its present form since these facts are not reflected. We will be ready to co-sign if the outcome document reflects this reality.
Let me reiterate today our message to all parties. There can be no military solution. In line with the conclusions of the IGAD Summit on 12 June, the EU calls on all parties to observe the ceasefire in full and to ensure the implementation of the peace agreement. The UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) must be allowed to exercise its mandate without limitations. All parties must allow humanitarian access to those in need. Attacks on aid workers are unacceptable and must stop immediately. The National Dialogue launched by President Kiir must be transformed into an inclusive political process, truly open to all parties, which is deemed credible by the South Sudanese people.
In conclusion, I thank the President and Government of Uganda and the Secretary General of the United Nations, for convening us here today - to enable us to come together to address these issues as a community of nations. On behalf of the people of Europe, please receive this support and this expression of admiration as a tangible proof of our genuine solidarity with Uganda and its people, with East Africa and with the millions of people in need. Thank you