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Press release – UNOPS and Partners to help deliver EU’s€60 million COVID-19 response project in Africa’s IGAD region

Press release

For immediate release: Thursday, 3 September 2020

UNOPS and Partners to help deliver EU’s €60 million COVID-19 response project in Africa’s IGAD region.
Six implementing partners will work together to support eight African nations mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

● The European Union’s (EU) €60 million COVID-19 response project in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region was launched in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia on Monday, 31 August 2020.

● The EU-IGAD COVID-19 Response programme will help all eight IGAD member states – Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda – tackle the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

● Through a ‘one team, one programme’ approach the six implementing partners include: IGAD, German development agency GIZ, International Organization for Migration (IOM), TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), UNICEF and UNOPS.

● Work has already begun with UNOPS as the Programme Manager hosted a two-day (Wednesday, 2 September – Thursday, 3 September 2020) inception workshop to create a common understanding and commitment to the programme between the implementing partners.

UNOPS has joined a team of implementing partners to help deliver the EU-IGAD COVID-19 Response, launched earlier this week (Monday 31 August 2020) in Ethiopia. The €60 million programme, financed by the EU, will help eight countries in eastern and southern Africa mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.

The programme was initiated in response to a request made by IGAD, and is part of the EU’s Team Europe Global Response Package to support partner countries combat the challenges of the pandemic and its consequences.

The programme will help to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the IGAD region by increasing access to health and socio-economic support for vulnerable groups; ensuring borders and critical supply chains are safe for trade; and promoting digital solutions that support the COVID-19 health response.

The six implementing partners – IGAD, GIZ, IOM, TMEA, UNICEF and UNOPS – will work closely together through a coordinated, and comprehensive plan of actions across the 8 countries in the Horn of Africa.

At a two-day inception workshop, hosted by UNOPS this week, all implementing partners committed to prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable groups – including migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and cross-border communities. This includes twenty cross-border communities, six refugee camps and five migrant refugee centres in the region.

IGAD has established the Emergency Coordination Unit in Djibouti and is in the process of establishing the Rapid Regional Response Teams in each country to ensure smooth coordination among state actors and development partners. The programme will help bring health services to more than 400,000 people, and provide critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to over 500,000 people. Nearly 90,000 people will also be provided with education in the prevention of and response to gender-based violence, through initiatives led by UNICEF and IOM.

UNOPS is procuring essential PPE, COVID-19 test kits and ambulances – having already delivered 60 per cent of PPE supplies to date, amounting to almost 4.5 million items of protective equipment. More supplies also include 70,000 test kits and 24 ambulances. UNOPS will also construct two new quarantine facilities.

TMEA is working with vulnerable traders, including women, to help them safely return to border trading by creating safe trade zones. TMEA will enhance digital systems for processing, clearances of imports and exports, application, issuance, and renewals of licences and permits, payment of fees, and vehicle and loads, and xtend the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) to track movement of trucks not currently covered, such as petroleum and closed-body trucks.

GIZ is promoting digital solutions for the response efforts in partnership with IGAD.

In her closing remarks during the workshop, Mrs Worknesh Mekonnen, UNOPS Director, Ethiopia Multi-Country Office said:

“We are delighted to forge this partnership between the EU, IGAD, the UN family, GIZ and TMEA . COVID-19 poses serious challenges and risks the capacity of health systems all over the world. Medical personnel are working under extreme pressure. Supplies and equipment are in urgent demand.

“On top of that, temporary health infrastructure is needed to cope with the influx of patients requiring specialized treatment in most cases. The most marginalized and vulnerable communities are challenged at multiple levels: health, economy and social.

“UNOPS is committed to contributing to strengthening the health system in the IGAD region through proactive participatory planning and efficient and effective programme management. We echo the words – one-team, one-programme.”

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