Dear Ambassador Neveen El-Husseiny,
Dear Mr Laurent De Boeck, and dear colleagues,
Thank you for the invitation to the launch event of this very important programme in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Allow me at the outset to make a general remark and express my appreciation for the ongoing strategic co-operation between the EU, IOM and Egypt in addressing migration related needs and challenges in Egypt and abroad. I also would like the stress the importance of our operational partnership with Egypt and the IOM, and the fact that this programme includes key institutional aspects such as capacity building and enhancing the work and outreach of health and other facilities.
The new programme ‘Regional Response to COVID-19 in North African Countries’ is among the many important initiatives that the European Union has launched in the wake of the current pandemic. It will improve resilience and reduce the vulnerabilities of both migrants and Egyptians from the impact of COVID-19. Supporting both migrants and the host communities has always been in the forefront of our work and engagement.
The programme will be implemented across the North African region (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia) with the exception of Libya where other similar initiatives have been launched in parallel.
The overall budget of the programme is € 7.5 million and it will cover a wide set of interventions benefiting both people and institutional stakeholders. Egypt is the main beneficiary of the programme and the IOM Regional Office in Cairo will be overseeing the operations. In Egypt the indicative budget is foreseen to finance activities in the following three main areas: health; protection, including psychosocial assistance; and support to medium term of socio-economic needs.
At the strategic level, the programme will work with all the relevant national authorities to offer migrants access to the social and health services.
The most vulnerable groups among migrants and Egyptian returnees will be helped through direct assistance to cover their current and immediate needs. Such assistance will mainly cover health services; housing; food and non-food items; cash-support; and psycho-social support.
Over the next 24 month IOM Egypt will implement the programme in the Greater Cairo area (Cairo & Giza) as well as in Alexandria, and future other locations as recommended by the Government.
Let me close by emphasising that this programme will assist and support the most vulnerable people affected by COVID-19 among migrants and Egyptians. And let me thank IOM Egypt, the IOM Regional Office in Cairo and the Egyptian Government for their strong support and cooperation, for the benefit of people in need.