I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The following countries align themselves with this statement: the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Norway+, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.
The European Union welcomes UNIDO’s effort to mitigate the crises caused by COVID-19 as laid out in the framework “Responding to the crisis: building a better future”. We take note with appreciation of the details provided in the Director General’s report on UNIDO’s response to the pandemic and welcome, in particular, UNIDO’s support to strengthen local medical supply chains, PPE production and health quality standards and guidelines in developing countries.
The EU and its Member States have been working on tailor made regional responses to the pandemic. Through Team Europe, around 46 billion Euros have been mobilised as of April 2021 to support over 130 partner countries, including on vaccine delivery, strengthening health systems, enhancing water and sanitation measures and mitigating the socioeconomic fallout.
The prospect for a swift and sustainable COVID-19 recovery, however, is severely hampered by Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. It has disrupted the exports of grain and wheat preventing them from reaching those most in need. The World Food Programme warned that acute hunger globally is expected to rise by 47 million people, due to the war in Ukraine. Russia’s aggression has thus further exacerbated global food insecurity, an issue already affected by climate change and disrupted value chains due to the pandemic. Food security is a top priority for the EU and a major concern. We actively contribute to the Global Crisis Response Group and will cooperate with the UN and the African Union in support of developing countries.
We encourage UNIDO to continue its work on the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular on food security in view of its expertise in sustainable agriculture.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania as well as potential Candidate Country Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Norway is a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.