Coronavirus response: Team Europe support to Sudan through EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight


Terminal Dr, Juba, South Sudan (Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

Today, the second of two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights arrived in Sudan, helping humanitarian workers and essential supplies reach people in need and supporting the coronavirus response in the country. This fully EU-funded Humanitarian Air Bridge flight to Sudan was made possible through a coordinated Team Europe approach, bringing together the European Union, Sweden, France and the Humanitarian Logistics Network.

Ahead of the High-Level Sudan Partnership Conference taking place tomorrow, Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State to the Minister for European and Foreign Affairs of France, arrived in Khartoum to meet the Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan, H.E. Mr Abdalla Hamdok, as well as other high-level authorities and representatives of the humanitarian community.

Commissioner Lenarčič said: “Sudan is at an important juncture in its transition to democracy, as it is implementing reforms that can translate into a better life for its citizens, including the most vulnerable people. The EU is committed to supporting the Transitional Government’s efforts for an inclusive peace in the country. It also welcomes the Transitional Government’s clear message of openness to the international humanitarian community and the commitment to facilitate humanitarian workers’ delivery of aid to remote areas and people in need.”

The Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, Peter Eriksson, said: “Sweden has a strong commitment to support Sudan in recent years,” said. “I am proud that we have joined this Team Europe initiative and served as the lead facilitator of the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Sudan. With the two flights, we have been able to deliver vital humanitarian supplies and medical equipment and bring humanitarian workers to assist Sudan in countering the COVID-19 pandemic. I welcome this second flight to Sudan that has now landed in Khartoum.”

The EU’s Humanitarian Air Bridge to Sudan is part of the EU’s Global Response to the coronavirus pandemic. Through the Global Response, €6 billion is supporting countries in Africa, of which more than €120 million was mobilised in Sudan.

As part of the Team Europe support, the EU is also announcing today the signature of a €11.5 million programme with the World Health Organization (WHO), of which €10 million is channelled through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The programme will address critical needs in health governance, epidemiological surveillance, epidemic preparedness and response in the current coronavirus pandemic, including in Sudan where the focus will be on forcibly displaced people and vulnerable host communities.

On this occasion, the EU is also marking its support to a humanitarian project of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), which will restart operations in Sudan after its expulsion by the previous regime in 2009 has been revoked.


Sudan faces one the world’s largest humanitarian crises, with around 9 million people estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. Despite the positive political transition process, the country continues to grapple with multiple challenges including a dire economic crisis as well as the desert locust outbreak. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic adds to the pressure on the country’s beleaguered health system.

The objective of the High-Level Sudan Partnership Conference to be held on 25 June 2020 is precisely to muster the necessary support. During this virtual event co-hosted by the EU, Germany, the United Nations and Sudan, international partners will showcase both their political support as well as pledge further financial assistance in support of Sudan’s transition.

EU humanitarian aid in Sudan

The EU has allocated, since 2011, around €550 million in funding for aid organisations in the country in response to this complex crisis. The overall humanitarian response in Sudan continues to address the most critical needs, in terms of food, shelter, emergency health care, access to clean water, education and protection assistance.

EU development aid in Sudan

Since 2016, the EU has supported the Sudanese population and the high number of refugees it hosts with development aid up to €242 million, mostly through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. These funds have been used, among others, to promote peace, support women and youth’s economic empowerment, and ensure inclusive and sustainable growth for all. Since the civilian-led government took office in early September 2019, the EU has provided €88 million in development assistance to support political and economic reforms and contribute to stability and peace in Sudan.

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