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Providing lasting relief: Austria makes contribution against poverty and hunger

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BMEIA and ADA on World Food Day and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

After declining for years, the number of people suffering from hunger and living in poverty is on the rise again. This year alone, an estimated 88 to 115 million people have fallen into poverty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Not least by doubling the Foreign Disaster Fund, Austria is helping to find ways out of poverty and hunger.

“A lasting reduction in poverty is the most important objective of Austrian Development Cooperation. By supporting aid projects in the Middle East or East Africa, we are making an important contribution to the fight against hunger and to improving living conditions in conflict areas,”

said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg on the occasion of World Food Day and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

“In the future Austria will continue to be on the spot in humanitarian emergencies and assist people needing protection on the ground.”

Dealing with COVID-19 and its economic consequences is also a mammoth task for Austrian Development Cooperation. It is responding with a flexible mix of tailor-made funding instruments and is increasingly combining emergency aid with long-term measures to ensure sustainability. With the doubling of the Foreign Disaster Fund from 25 to 50 million euros per year decided in September, Austria is creating important framework conditions for more aid on the spot. By the end of the legislative period, disaster relief is to be increased to a total of 60 million euros per year.

Alleviating suffering in protracted crises

“We can see that our initiatives in the fight against hunger and poverty are working. But many challenges still lie ahead for us. Almost 17 million euros is currently being invested in projects to help particularly affected countries cope with the COVID-19 pandemic – from Palestine and the Western Balkans to Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and West Africa. Further support is planned,” says Martin Ledolter, Managing Director of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

In Ethiopia, for example, Austrian Development Cooperation is working to improve the food situation of households in the Amhara region. This includes building or rehabilitating water supply systems and improving existing irrigation systems. Women, girls, young people and other marginalised groups are being trained in entrepreneurial and income-generating activities in workshops at village level. Administrative and advisory services are being improved by encouraging local governments and alliances to ensure mutual exchange of knowledge between farmers, scientists and government staff.

The Austrian Development Agency has funds of around 166 million euros available in 2020. This is all being used for projects and programmes that provide lasting relief from suffering in protracted crises and create prospects for the future.

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