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This World AIDS Day, December 1, the Government of Sweden, together with the regional offices of UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNICEF and WHO, announces the start of a USD45 million Joint United Nations (UN) four-year Regional Programme to reduce unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), new HIV infections, maternal mortality and sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) across East and Southern Africa.
The Government decided today to enter into a cooperation agreement with the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The agreement will form the basis for support to a series of regional initiatives in southern Africa which Sweden is providing through SADC. The aim is to strengthen SADC as a regional actor.
"Many of Africa's problems require cross-border cooperation.
Today the Government took the decision to authorise Sida to prepare budget support for ten countries - Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mali, Mozambique, Nacaragua, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia - and to disburse previously approved budget support to Malawi. The decision was made under the guidelines for cooperation strategies recently adopted by the Government, which entail giving Sida responsibility for handling Swedish budget support to poor countries.
"This budget support will give the recipient countries a better chance to control their own development.
The UN today launched an appeal for support for the measures required to avert an acute food crisis in southern Africa. The UN has estimated that USD 614 million is needed for these measures. USD 507 million of this refers to direct food assistance. The remainder is for efforts inter alia in agriculture, water, health care, education as well as the transport and distribution of food.
Sweden already contributes extensive humanitarian support to southern Africa. It amounts to SEK 62 million for 2002.
At a press meeting during political week at Almedalen in Visby, Gotland, today, Minister for Development Cooperation, Migration and Asylum Policy Jan O. Karlsson spoke about the acute food crisis in southern Africa.
Southern Africa is facing one of the most serious food crises for ten years. Twelve million people in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia are risking starvation. The situation could lead to a catastrophe that lasts until the spring of 2003.