Climate change, conflicts, hunger and poverty: the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating crises and turning successes into failures. One in ten people live in extreme poverty*. The United Nations estimates that more than 235 million people will be in need of humanitarian aid in 2021 – a record high, representing a 40 percent increase in just one year. With more budget for bilateral development cooperation and a substantial increase in the Foreign Disaster Fund, Austria is responding promptly and decisively to these unprecedented challenges.
“COVID-19 is dramatically exacerbating the existing humanitarian situation, with the world’s poorest people particularly affected by the impact of the pandemic. I am therefore pleased that we have been able to more than double the funds for the Foreign Disaster Fund (FDF) to 52.5 million euros and increase the funds of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) by almost 11 million euros. This means we can make our contribution to help reduce suffering,”
says Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
After increasing the basic operational budget of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) from 92.7 million euros in 2019 to 103.6 million euros for 2020, the Federal Government has increased the operational funds of the Austrian Development Agency by a further 10.7 million euros for the coming year.
In 2021, ADA will have operational funds of 114.3 million euros available. Together with the Foreign Disaster Fund (FDF), which has been increased to 52.5 million euros for acute emergency aid and long-term measures, this means millions of people can therefore be helped on the ground.
“The aim of Austrian Development Cooperation is to alleviate hunger and poverty and create prospects for people in the respective region. By making a lasting improvement to living conditions, we are making an important contribution in order to create a future for the people on the ground and minimise the reasons for fleeing. Austria will continue to lend its support in humanitarian emergencies in the future,”
said the Foreign Minister.
This is because even without the problems caused by COVID-19, trouble spots and therefore the need for humanitarian aid and development cooperation will not stop. For example, Austria responded to the devastating plague of locusts that greatly exacerbated the hardship in East Africa by donating 1 million euros each to Ethiopia and Uganda – both priority countries of Austrian Development Cooperation. The projects of the long-standing ADA partners Caritas and World Vision strengthen the food security and resilience of almost 37,000 people there.
“The increase in funding for humanitarian aid and development cooperation this year and next is an important step in the right direction. Because more budget means a broader impact when carrying out our mission – to find sustainable ways out of poverty throughout the world. Austria is fulfilling its responsibility here. I would like to thank the Austrian Federal Government for providing these additional funds and for the trust it has placed in us,”
said ADA Managing Director Martin Ledolter.
ADA is currently supporting 545 projects and programmes with a total volume of 521 million euros. Of this, a total of almost 23 million euros will go to initiatives to help people in developing countries deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
*According to the World Bank, almost one in ten people are living in extreme poverty in 2020: between 703 and 729 million people have to live on only 1.90 US dollars a day.