Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (152)

Brendan Smith

Question:

152. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will raise at the EU Foreign Affairs Council the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Angola; if this matter will be raised at the Human Rights Council of the UN; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21542/14]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Despite oil revenues and high economic growth rates, Angola continues to experience drought-related humanitarian emergencies. The aftermath of a severe drought during the 2012-2013 agricultural cycle continues to have an impact on the country’s southern provinces. It is estimated that 1.8 million people in six provinces were affected by this drought. The effects on food supplies and drinking have had a significant impact on the population’s nutritional health, particularly among children under five. Last month, the Government of Angola reported that over 400,000 people are being affected by drought in provinces in the west of the country. It is the fourth consecutive year of abnormal rainfall in these provinces and it is reported that river levels have dropped or even dried up completely, with a negative impact on cultivation. In addition to the problem of drought, Angola continues to grapple with the legacy of 27 years of conflict and civil war, and in particular massive use of land mines, which has held back its agricultural development.

Working with our EU partners, Ireland takes a strategic approach to post-conflict countries like Angola. The EU is working to develop long term solutions to assist Angola in diversifying its economy, especially its agriculture sector. Between 2010 and 2013 just under €2.6 million was provided by Irish Aid to civil society organisations working in Angola, including Christian Aid Ireland, Trócaire and Concern, to address inequality, access to services and land rights. Under the 10th European Development Fund, the EU allocated €227.9 million to Angola, for institutional reform, human and social development as well as rural development, agriculture and food security and demining between 2008 and 2013. EU assistance is designed to contribute to the sustainable development of the country and to support the Angolan Government’s strategy to combat poverty and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Under current EDF funding, the EU is also supporting projects to support regional integration, biodiversity and the private sector.