Ivan Lewis (Bury South, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with which donors the Government has had discussions to ensure that funding is available for an early response to mitigate the emergency in the Sahel; what the outcome was of those discussions; and which donors apart from the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office he expects to take a lead on the Sahel emergency.
Andrew Mitchell (Secretary of State, International Development; Sutton Coldfield, Conservative)
Officials from my Department have been monitoring the situation closely and have been regularly liaising with their opposite numbers in other Governments, including the French, and with officials from the Red Cross, the United Nations and leading non-governmental organisations.
UK officials attended the European Council Working Group on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid meeting in Brussels this month. They discussed the situation in the Sahel with representatives from all 27 member states of the EU, plus representatives from UN organisations, non-governmental organisations working in the Sahel region area and other non-EU donors. Officials are in the process of following up these discussions with donors on an individual basis.
It is too early in the immediate response phase of the emergency to speculate on which donors will take the lead, however large donors including the US, Germany and France have the potential to play a key role. Having been at the forefront of the response in the Horn of Africa, the UK is looking to others to share the burden and provide leadership.
However I announced last month some specific targeted support to assist.