Today, the European Commission released a plan outlining how the EU will support developing countries in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Welcoming the EU’s renewed commitment to supporting people affected by the pandemic in developing or crisis-affected countries, Marissa Ryan, Head of Oxfam’s EU office, said:
“As many EU member states struggle to cope with COVID-19, the potential health, social and economic consequences in developing countries are catastrophic. Millions of people currently lack access to basic water, sanitation and healthcare, which puts them at extreme risk during the current health crisis. Women are disproportionately affected as they make up 70% of the world’s health-workers, while carrying the vast unpaid burden of care work at home where they are now at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence.”
“The only way to avoid the pandemic devastating lives and livelihoods at an untold scale is for rich countries to mobilise all available resources. It’s good that the EU is using its existing development funds to tackle COVID-19, but additional money is urgently needed, particularly to fund social protection schemes, and protect women and girls.
“If the response it to be effective, it’s crucial that the EU supports local organisations who are at the forefront of crisis response, yet who appear to be absent from this plan. EU countries should also use their diplomatic leverage to help end restrictions on the movement of humanitarian workers. These restrictions are hampering urgent, life-saving assistance to people trapped in crisis areas and refugee camps.
“A truly robust response to the Coronavirus emergency should not be limited to the short-term, ignoring the very real prospect of a looming food crisis generated by the health measures impacting production and supply. The EU must take concrete steps to ensure its response focusses on building a more sustainable, humane and green economy in the long term.”