To start, I want to thank the Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chairperson of the African Union Executive Council, Christophe Lutundula, our Rwandan host, Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, and the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission Monique Nsanzabaganwa for hosting us and for this great organisation.
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political partnership between 27 European countries. It plays an important role in international affairs through diplomacy, trade, development aid and working with global organisations. Abroad, the EU is represented through more than 140 diplomatic representations, known also as EU Delegations, which have a similar function to those of an embassy. The EU Delegation to the African Union is located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and employs 50 staff members. It comprises the Head of Delegation's office, Political, Press and Information Section, Cooperation Section, Finance, Contracts and Audit Section and Administration section. The establishment of the Delegation in January 2008 was an important political statement by the EU: the recognition that the African Union and its Commission has become a strategic partner in EU relations with Africa.
The European Union (EU) regrets that Ethiopia has announced the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), without reaching a prior agreement with downstream partners on this issue.
Unilateral actions, by any party, are unhelpful to finding a negotiated solution. A jointly agreed clear roadmap is urgently needed, setting out the timeframe and specific aims of the negotiations for talks to resume as soon as possible, and to continue on a regular basis thereafter. The EU continues to call on the parties to resume negotiations.
The European Commission today launched two new platforms, the EU-Africa (EU-AU) cooperation in research and innovation (R&I) portal and the EU-Mediterranean cooperation in R&I portal to provide one-stop-shops for all policy-makers and stakeholders interested in EU-Africa cooperation on research and innovation. They are part of the cooperation initiatives announced in the EU Global Approach to Research and Innovation and the EU comprehensive strategy with Africa.
The Council today approved conclusions reaffirming the EU's strong commitment towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable development Goals (SDGs), which continue to guide the EU internally and externally to build back better and greener.
Let us have our last debate today with a little more of a positive perspective. Because talking about multilateralism is a good thing and I am happy that this report is being presented today to the European Parliament.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the learning crisis in Africa by severely limiting access education. By early April 2020, the crisis had left more than 20 million pre-primary, 160 million primary, 56 million secondary, and 8 million tertiary level learners out of school with no access to continued learning and teaching facilities across the continent.