Europe mobilising over 334m euro for fight against Covid-19 in Bangladesh

The European Union (EU) has said it is mobilising over 334 million euro [equivalent to around 31 billion BDT] for the fight against Covid-19 and its consequences in Bangladesh.

The EU said Covid-19 knows no borders. Therefore, the European Union (EU), its member states and the European financial institutions decided to join forces as "Team Europe" (#TeamEurope) to tackle the pandemic, said the EU Embassy in Dhaka.

As a result, a global EU response of 20 billion euro was launched to help mitigate the spread of the virus and to reduce spillover effects on economic and social stability in partner countries.

"Team Europe's support of some EUR 334 million will assist the Government of Bangladesh in providing support to those who are most affected by COVID-19, in terms of health and livelihoods," said the Ambassador of the EU, RensjeTeerink.

"#TeamEurope trusts that all Bangladeshis, and in particular millions of the most affected people, will benefit from these interventions. #TeamEurope is the tangible expression of the exceptional European efforts to lead the fight against COVID-19 and to express our global solidarity," she said.

In its ongoing development cooperation programmes in Bangladesh, the EU is already addressing many areas crucial in the Covid-response and the recovery of the economy.

On top of that, the EU announced that 334 million euro have been allocated to help fight the pandemic and that more funds may be mobilised in the near future.

In particular, EUR 263 millionwill be used to mitigate the economic and social impact of Covid-19. Of this, a EUR 93 million EU grant plus a EUR 20 million German grant will help the government to provide cash assistance to workers in the export-oriented industries adversely affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic, and contribute to boost the resilience of the national social protection system.

In addition, the French Development Agency -- AgenceFrançaise de Développement -- (AFD) will support the Bangladesh Government with EUR 150 million to improve the country's social protection measures.

EUR 64.8 million -- EUR 16.5 million from the EU and EUR 48.3 million from Germany -- will be used to scale up interventions through the United Nations (UN) and NGO partners for vulnerable Bangladeshi host communities and Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar. 

EUR 5.5 million aims at strengthening Bangladesh's research and health systems as follows: an EU grant of nearly EUR 3 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Government Preparedness and Response Plan.

An EU grant of EUR 246,000 will assist the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) with operational and technical support.

In addition, Sweden is supporting the health sector through UN and NGOs with the following programmes: 'Urban Health on Risk Communication and PPE in Urban Settings' (EUR 1,385,000); 'WASH, Handwashing Facilities and Information in Urban Slums' (EUR 462,000) and the 'Midwifery Programme with PPE, Training and Triage' (EUR 462,000).

Another grant of EUR 714,383 --EUR 618,383 from the EU and EUR 96,000 from Germany -- will address the urgent needs of ultra-poor and vulnerable people in the urban areas of Dhaka and rural areas in the country.

This contribution will support direct cash transfers to vulnerable households and awareness campaigns to reduce the spread of the virus.

At the global level, #TeamEurope has joined forces with other multilateral partners and IFIs (Word Bank, IMF, ADB) by contributing 22% of the USD 88 billion global response against Covid-19. Bangladesh will also benefit from the funds that the EU and its member states have made available to its multilateral partners to tackle the pandemic.

#TeamEurope's response is about combining the collective development resources of the EU, its member states and their respective financial institutions and implementing agencies, in particular the European Investment Bank, as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.