The ACP Group of States is deeply concerned with the deteriorating food security situation in the Horn of Africa.

This crisis has already claimed thousands of lives and is threatening the lives of more than 10 million people with many more at risk of starving to death if relief does not reach them in good time.

The ACP Group expresses solidarity with, and profound sympathy to, the Governments and peoples of the affected countries in the Region at the tragic loss of lives, livelihoods and human suffering, especially of women, children and the elderly.

The Group recalls that Article 72 of the Cotonou Agreement addresses the provision of humanitarian, emergency and post-emergency assistance to countries in situations of crisis in order to save and preserve life and to prevent and relieve human suffering wherever the need arises.

The Agreement also provides that post-emergency assistance shall aim at rehabilitation and linking the short-term relief with longer term development programmes.

The Group commends the offers of financial and material resources made by several countries and the relief efforts so far undertaken by the World Food Programme. Nevertheless, The ACP Group appeals to its member States, the European Union and the rest of the international community to expedite relief efforts in order to avert the loss of more lives.

The Group is well aware that the effects of the famine in the Horn of Africa have been made worse by insecurity in Somalia, which has prevented effective delivery of relief supplies. The Group therefore strongly condemns the actions of militant groups in Somalia who are restricting the delivery of relief supplies to affected communities.

The debilitating effects of this famine and food insecurity will continue to be felt in the region for many years to come.

For this reason, the ACP Group, in line with Article 72 of the Cotonou Agreement, calls on the international community and affected governments to address, in a comprehensive manner, the ecological, political, social and economic risk factors that have contributed to food insecurity in the region. Brussels, 29 July 2011