To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information his Department holds on the extent of support given by the EU to alleviate the food crisis in the Sahel; whether he has had discussions with the President of the Council of Ministers to highlight the food crisis in the Sahel; and if he will make a statement.
Officials from DFID are in regular contact with their opposite numbers in the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO). ECHO has committed over £144 million to date in response to the Sahel crisis.
Denmark held the presidency of the Council of Ministers from January 2012 up to the end of last month. The Under-Secretary of State for International Development, my hon. Friend Mr O'Brien, has spoken to representatives of the Danish Government about the Sahel crisis in February and May 2012. The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend Mr Mitchell, has spoken to Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, whose mandate includes ECHO. We have not yet spoken to the Government of Cyprus, the new President of the Council of Ministers.
The UK has been generous in its commitment to the Sahel response, but we firmly believe that a joint donor effort is needed to address the deepening crisis. UK Ministers and officials have also been calling on other donors around Europe and elsewhere to ensure that they are also contributing their fair share.