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New European Union funding targets resilience-building efforts in Yemen

Programme will reduce communities’ vulnerability to shocks and crises

25 March 2019, Amman - The European Union (EU) has contributed new funding totalling $40.8 million to boost United Nations (UN) resilience-building work in Yemen. Interventions will target the most vulnerable community groups, including women, the unemployed, youth, marginalized minority groups, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and stressed host communities.

The funding agreement, which has been recently signed in Amman, will support the second phase of the UN Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen Programme, which covers a 36-month period and aims to reduce communities' vulnerability to shocks and crises in the conflict-ridden country, which is facing the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

Targetting over vulnerable 735 000 people, the programme will be implemented jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

"The EU continues its efforts in creating the conditions for sustainable development and supporting key basic services to help Yemeni citizens endure the worst crisis they have ever lived. We are confident that this initiative will contribute to resilience-building work in Yemen, by targeting most vulnerable groups of the Yemeni society. The EU remains close to Yemeni citizens throughout the whole country." said the EU Head of Delegation, Antonia Calvo Puerta.

The FAO-led components of the programme will receive $9 million from the total EU funds and will target more than 370 000 vulnerable people. Some of the programme's interventions will include the provision of improved seeds, livestock feed for animals and small equipment, for example, solar powered irrigation pumps.

Small-scale dairy product producers will be supported with improved equipment and training to improve the quality and quantity of their products. The Programme will also support sheep fattening for small businesses and animal health services. As part of its value chain development activities, the programme will build the capacity of farmers and extension agents, and also pilot coffee value chain development with selected potential producers.

Programme activities will contribute to strengthening women's empowerment and inclusion of women at all stages of implementation considering the social and cultural barriers rural women face in Yemen. The Programme will not only actively seek to address the specific needs and opportunities for women; care will be taken to ensure that activities provided for women are culturally acceptable and can be accessed by women.

Agriculture is a vital sector for food and nutrition security in Yemen, ensuring employment for 54 percent of the population. It should thus be at the centre of resilience-building efforts bolstering communities' ability to withstand shocks, FAO stressed.

"Millions of Yemenis engaged in agriculture lack access to critical inputs and are now at higher risk, and less able to cope, than at any stage of the conflict. By helping to reduce communities' vulnerability to shocks, FAO will ensure that those who are the most vulnerable, the rural poor, are better prepared," said Salah Hajj Hassan, FAO Representative to Yemen.

In the overall context of the Global Network Against Food Crises, the new EU funding will complement other EU-supported initiatives and will provide a vital contribution to implementing FAO's Emergency Livelihoods Response Plan (ELRP) for Yemen. The aim of the plan is to reduce acute food insecurity and save the lives of the most vulnerable households. Implementing the ELRP will need USD 135 million to support 7 million people in 2019.

Meanwhile, food insecurity continues to rise four years into the conflict in the country. The recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report (December 2018), noted that nearly 16 million people (53 percent) needed urgent help. It went further to warn that without humanitarian support, the figure could increase to over 20 million people and leave many on the verge of famine.

Building complementarities and synergies crucial

The four UN agencies participating in this joint Programme aim to maximize the impact of their interventions on the target communities through their respective resources and expertise. The programme will stimulate sustainable development and self-reliance while pursuing a multi-sectoral livelihoods approach.

The programme will pursue resilience in target areas, improving service delivery, social cohesion, basic services, food security, and livelihoods recovery to address the negative impacts of the conflict.

Implemented in six governorates - Hajjah, Hodeidah, Lahj, Abyan, Taiz and Sana'a - it will contribute to stabilization in Yemen's communities and provide a solid foundation for the country's recovery.

Photo: ©FAO/Soliman Ahmed / FAO
Villagers are helping to build a water storage in the targeted area supported by FAO in Sana'a, Yemen.

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