More than 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray in famine: UN analysis

More than 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray are suffering famine conditions, with millions more at risk, according to an analysis by United Nations agencies and aid groups that blamed conflict for the worst catastrophic food crisis in a decade.

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Highlights – 2022 Budget: committee debate with EU agencies in the context of the pandemic – Committee on Budgets

CONT Secretariat
The Committee on Budgets will hold a debate with the EU Agencies Network Chair, Hans Bruyninckx, European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Director, Andrea Ammon, and European Medicines Agency Director, Emer Cooke, on 14 July. The aim is to go over the agencies’ priorities, outlook and budgetary needs following the publication of the draft EU budget for 2022, and to discuss the enhanced role that the agencies have played in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Highlights – EU leadership in the fight against famines: committee debate – Committee on Development

The Executive Director of the World Food Programme David Beasley with people in Yemen
The Committee on Development will discuss the global humanitarian and food security situation with UN World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley, on 13 July. According to the latest Global Report on Food Crises, the number of people facing acute food insecurity and needing urgent assistance hit a five-year high in 2020. The debate will feed into the Committee’s work on an upcoming report on food security in developing countries.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Mental health and the pandemic – 09-07-2021

While the pandemic is primarily a physical health crisis, it has also had widespread impact on people’s mental health, inducing, among other things, considerable levels of fear, worry, and concern. The growing burden on mental health has been referred to by some as the ‘second’ or ‘silent’ pandemic. While negative mental health consequences affect all ages, young people, in particular, have been found to be at high risk of developing poor mental health. Specific groups have been particularly hard hit, including health and care workers, people with pre-existing mental health problems, and women. The pandemic has also appeared to increase inequalities in mental health, both within the population and between social groups. To address the population’s increased psycho-social needs, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe established an expert group on the mental health impacts of Covid-19 in the European region. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has issued analyses and guidance on mental health in general and the pandemic’s impact on mental health in particular. At European Union level, a December 2020 European Commission communication addressed the pandemic’s impact on mental health. In May 2021, the Commission organised a major online stakeholder event, and published best practice examples of solutions presented. A July 2020 European Parliament resolution recognises mental health as a fundamental human right, calling for a 2021-2027 EU action plan on mental health. Members of the European Parliament have also called on the Commission to put mental health at the heart of EU policymaking. Stakeholders broadly rally around calls for programmes and funding to improve citizens’ mental health, not least to respond to the pandemic’s long-term implications.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – The financial management of visitor groups to the national parliaments – 08-07-2021

In most Member States, visitor’ groups are not sponsored to visit the national parliament. A visit to the national parliament is free of charge, and all the costs related to the visit, for example travel costs, accommodation and local minor expenses, need to be paid by the visitors themselves.
Germany is the only country which has various kinds of programmes where visitors can be reimbursed. Members of Parliament can invite up to 200 people a year of which the travel costs are partially covered by the German Bundestag. There is also a programme which consists of more days for which all the costs related to travel and accommodation are covered by the German government. The German Bundesrat has a programme in which the 16 federal states can invite people for a visit of multiple days to Berlin. In this case the travel costs and accommodation are paid for by the Bundesrat. For all reimbursements, the rules apply that the receipts and underlying documents need to be provided to the Bundestag and Bundesrat after the visit. All documents and receipts are checked through an ex-post control.
The United Kingdom has a programme in which costs are reimbursed, and this programme is funded by the commercial tours of the parliament. In this case, it can be MPs, Peers or the House of Commons or Lords who can invite visitors who are eligible for reimbursement.
In Hungary, only schools can get reimbursement for their travel costs and the entry fee for the national parliament. All the receipts need to be provided to the visitor service of the parliament.
Some countries do have other schemes in which they provide coverage for schools or costs are covered by the MPs’ own funds.
The Council of the EU does not sponsor visitor groups. All visits are requested by visitors themselves and they need to cover all the costs related to the visit themselves. The questions were also sent to the European Commission but no answer was received.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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