Category Archives: Humanitarian Aid

The European Union is the world’s leading provider of humanitarian aid. This aid, which takes the form of financing, provision of goods or services, or technical assistance, aims to help prepare for and deal urgently with the crises which seriously affect populations outside the Union, whether these be natural disasters, disasters caused by human activity, or structural crises.
The Union’s action is based on the fundamental humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and comprises three instruments: emergency aid, food aid, and aid for refugees and displaced persons. ECHO coordinates this action and cooperates closely with partners who implement aid on the ground, in particular the United Nations and non-governmental organisations.

GENERAL PROVISIONS
European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
Instrument for humanitarian aid
EU guidelines on the promotion of compliance with international humanitarian law
Promotion of compliance with international humanitarian law: GuidelinesArchives
Partnership with the United Nations: development assistance and humanitarian aid
Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations (2008-2012)
Towards the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps

Humanitarian aid

Humanitarian aid

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Humanitarian aid

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

Humanitarian aid

The European Union is the world’s leading provider of humanitarian aid. This aid, which takes the form of financing, provision of goods or services, or technical assistance, aims to help prepare for and deal urgently with the crises which seriously affect populations outside the Union, whether these be natural disasters, disasters caused by human activity, or structural crises.
The Union’s action is based on the fundamental humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and comprises three instruments: emergency aid, food aid, and aid for refugees and displaced persons. ECHO coordinates this action and cooperates closely with partners who implement aid on the ground, in particular the United Nations and non-governmental organisations.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

  • European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
  • Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
  • Instrument for humanitarian aid
  • EU guidelines on the promotion of compliance with international humanitarian law
  • Promotion of compliance with international humanitarian law: Guidelines
  • Partnership with the United Nations: development assistance and humanitarian aid
  • Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations (2008-2012)
  • Towards the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps
  • Strengthening the European disaster response capacity
  • Disaster and crisis response in Non-EU Member Countries
  • Civil Protection Mechanism
  • Financing of civil protection measures (2007-2013)
  • EU response to fragile situations
  • Disaster risk reduction in developing countries
  • Linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD)

Food aid

  • Humanitarian Food Assistance
  • Facility for rapid response to soaring food prices

Human rights

  • Children in EU external action

HUMANITARIAN AID OFFICE – ECHO

  • Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)
  • ECHO Annual Report 2009
  • ECHO Annual Report 2008
  • ECHO: 2007 Annual Report
  • DG ECHO: Annual Report 2006
  • DG ECHO: Annual Report 2005
  • 2004 ECHO annual review
  • 2002 report on ECHO
  • 2001 report on ECHO

European Union institutions and bodies

  • European Parliament: Committee on foreign affairs
  • Council of the European Unión: Foreign affairs
  • European Commission: Humanitarian aid and civil protection, European External Action Service
  • Economic and Social Committee: External relations section
  • Committee of the Regions: Commission for citizenship, governance, institutional affairs and external relations (CIVEX)

Enactments

Article 214 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides the following:

1. The Union’s operations in the field of humanitarian aid shall be conducted within the
framework of the principles and objectives of the external action of the Union. Such operations
shall be intended to provide ad hoc assistance and relief and protection for people in third countries who are victims of natural or man-made disasters, in order to meet the humanitarian needs resulting from these different situations. The Union’s measures and those of the Member States shall complement and reinforce each other.
2. Humanitarian aid operations shall be conducted in compliance with the principles of
international law and with the principles of impartiality, neutrality and non-discrimination.
3. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative
procedure, shall establish the measures defining the framework within which the Union’s
humanitarian aid operations shall be implemented.
4. The Union may conclude with third countries and competent international organisations any
agreement helping to achieve the objectives referred to in paragraph 1 and in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union.
The first subparagraph shall be without prejudice to Member States’ competence to negotiate in
international bodies and to conclude agreements.
5. In order to establish a framework for joint contributions from young Europeans to the
humanitarian aid operations of the Union, a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps shall be set up. The European Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall determine the rules and procedures for the operation of the Corps.
6. The Commission may take any useful initiative to promote coordination between actions of the Union and those of the Member States, in order to enhance the efficiency and complementarity of Union and national humanitarian aid measures.
7. The Union shall ensure that its humanitarian aid operations are coordinated and consistent
with those of international organisations and bodies, in particular those forming part of the United Nations system.

2004 ECHO annual review

2004 ECHO annual review

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2004 ECHO annual review

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

2004 ECHO annual review

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report of 23 November 2005 – 2004 Annual Review – (ECHO) [COM(2005) 580 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

2004 will be remembered as the year of the terrible tsunami on 26 December, which killed up to 280 000 people on the shores of the Indian Ocean, making it one of the worst disasters ever recorded. However, thousands more died in other crises in other parts of the world, often without the public being aware of the disastrous consequences on the affected populations. ECHO’s response to humanitarian emergencies evolved in line with the changes in global humanitarian needs in 2004, with a particular focus on the “forgotten crises”, which were not, or no longer, in the media spotlight.

To make sure that operations matched needs, ECHO compared the situations of some 130 developing countries on the basis of nine humanitarian indicators: human development, poverty, natural disaster risk, conflicts, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), malnutrition, mortality and other donors’ contributions. Applying this methodology to the 2004 results revealed that 62% (EUR 353 million) of the EUR 570 million (EUR 518.2 million was financed from the Commission’s budget and EUR 52.2 million from the European Development Fund) was allocated to the regions with the greatest needs, 30% (EUR 172 million) to those with medium needs and less than 1.0% (EUR 4 million) to low-need areas (“pockets of need”). ACP countries were the biggest recipients of aid (EUR 301.6 million), followed by Asia (EUR 111.1 million). The remaining amount (EUR 41 million, 7%) was spent on thematic funding, technical assistance and support expenditure.

ECHO’s methodology for identifying forgotten crises was based on both quantitative data (lack of media coverage or low donor support combined with high needs) and qualitative factors (field assessment by ECHO experts and desk officers). In 2004 the main forgotten crises were identified as being in Algeria (Western Sahara), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Haiti, India, Myanmar/Burma, Nepal, Northern Caucasus (Chechnya), Thailand (Burmese refugees), Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

In 2004, despite hopeful signs, the difficulties confronting humanitarian assistance continued: the number of refugees decreased from 10.6 million in 2002 to 9.67 million at the end of 2003, however, when refugees become returnees they still need humanitarian assistance, at least in the initial phase following their return. Furthermore, there were 25 million internally displaced persons. The humanitarian crisis unleashed in Asia by the tsunami illustrated people’s increasing vulnerability to natural disasters.

Main DG ECHO operations in 2004

In Africa, the most extensive operations took place in Sudan/Darfur, which the UN called the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world”. The civil war that began in 2003 escalated drastically in 2004. In addition to the EUR 20 million initially budgeted for Sudan, a series of decisions were taken granting a total of EUR 83 million in aid.

Funding was also given to projects in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo (Brazzaville), Central African Republic and Tanzania) and the West African sub-region.

In the Northern Caucasus, the protracted and forgotten humanitarian crisis in Chechnya remained one of the operational priorities of ECHO in 2004, which allocated EUR 28.5 million to the victims of this conflict.

A total of EUR 37.35 million was spent on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, Palestinian refugees in Jordan, the Lebanon and Syria and refugees from Iraq housed in camps in Jordan and in no man’s land between Jordan and Iraq.

EUR 35 million in aid was made available to Afghanistan, mainly to support refugees’ and internally displaced people’s return to and reintegration into their areas of origin.

ECHO was the first donor to respond to the tsunami, allocating EUR 3 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross. In January 2005 the European Commission asked the budgetary authority (Parliament and Council) to accord up to EUR 100 million in additional emergency aid for the stricken zone. EUR 80 million was allocated to the victims.

In 2004 16 financing decisions were taken to provide assistance in disaster preparedness activities across several regions of the world. ECHO also spent EUR 360 000 in support of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction at Kobe.

Thematic funding is a new way of working with international organisations (United Nations’ agencies and the Red Cross movement) to reinforce their institutional capacity as a means of improving the delivery of humanitarian aid. In 2004 ECHO concluded thematic contracts with the OCHA, WHO, WFP and Unicef.

Other actions

ECHO participated in a number of meetings to discuss with other donors issues such as the erosion of the humanitarian space, humanitarian principles – in particular the risk of their not being respected in the case of UN integrated missions – or the problem of access to certain countries for humanitarian workers.

Meetings on strategic programming were held in the course of the year with major partners (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitatrian Affairs – OCHA-, Unicef, World Health Organisation – WHO-, World Food Programme -WFP). At Community level, ECHO was active in ensuring commitment the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence and attended a number of meetings at various levels in the Council and with other Commission departments.

As far as cost-cutting issues were concerned, progress was made in pilot cases on the links between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD). A total of EUR 46 million (EUR 26 million in 2003) was spent on child-related activities and some 66 of the 102 financing decisions focused on this area. Water was one of the priorities of ECHO’s annual work programme and an invitation to tender was published for a study on water and sanitation issues in humanitarian emergencies.

ECHO organised training sessions and a range of activities to communicate the values, principles and practical achievements of the European Union’s humanitarian assistance policy. ECHO also conducted 145 audits at the headquarters of humanitarian organisations to ensure regular monitoring of financial information and adequate management information.

Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid

Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 13 June 2007 from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Towards a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid [COM(2007) 317 final – Not yet published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission presents the principles of the future European Union (EU) consensus on humanitarian aid. This joint declaration aims to increase the effectiveness of aid by increasing the complementarity of the EU’s and its Member States’ actions.

The European Union (EU) is the world’s leading humanitarian donor, adding together the aid given at both European and national levels. However, it needs to adopt a more strategic approach, notably in the face of the new challenges raised by changes in the crisis landscape, such as:

  • the greater frequency with which humanitarian crises occur, linked to poverty, climate change and competition for access to natural resources;
  • the increasing disregard for or violation of international and humanitarian law;
  • the encroachment of humanitarian space *.

The European Consensus on humanitarian aid must be in-line with the European Consensus for Development.

Create a common vision

Humanitarian aid is based on specific principles and modalities. Therefore, the Commission suggests that the EU ensures the:

  • respect for fundamental humanitarian principles, particularly those of humanity *, neutrality *, impartiality * and independence *;
  • promotion of international law, especially international humanitarian law;
  • coherence, complementarity and effectiveness of policies connected with humanitarian aid (e.g. crisis management and food security), while highlighting their differences and their independence.

The sharing of experience could contribute towards increasing the impact of aid, including through international cooperation. In this context, the EU must confirm its commitment in favour of the initiative on the principles and good practice for humanitarian aid.

Translating principles into practice

Financial humanitarian aid must be assessed with the objective of effectiveness in mind. Thus, the Commission recommends that the EU:

  • commits to adequate provision of humanitarian aid, on the basis of agreed minimum standards of assistance and protection;
  • establishes a common framework for assessing needs and sharing expert analysis;
  • ensures an overall balanced response, particularly with regard to forgotten crises *;

In addition, the participation of all stakeholders concerned is essential for carrying out action. In particular, this concerns European and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the United Nations through its Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement. To ensure speed and quality in the delivery of humanitarian aid, implementing partners should be selected on the basis of:

  • professionalism, experience and capacity to respond to an identified need;
  • adherence to international standards and guidelines;
  • cost-efficiency (e.g. overheads in proportion to the aid going to recipients);
  • local partnership and context;
  • accountability to aid recipients and European public opinion.

The EU’s crisis response capacities need to be increased, specifically by drawing on local resources. The EU also needs to increase its response capacities and help plug capacity gaps at global level, in particular in the fields of transport, communications and logistics.

Humanitarian action may be supported by Member States’ civil protection and military resources and assets. In this respect, the EU encourages adherence to UN guidelines on the use of civil defence and military means in natural disasters (Oslo guidelines ) and in complex crises (Military and Civil Defence Assets Directives ).

Reducing the risks caused by natural disasters is another essential component of humanitarian action. In this context, the EU encourages international efforts within the Hyogo Framework for Action, which proposes a global model for reducing the risks associated with natural disasters by 2015.

Lastly, the EU should reinforce the link between disaster relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) based on experiences and lessons learnt, and through cooperation between humanitarian aid actors and development aid actors (especially in situations of complex crisis and state fragility).

Key terms of the act
  • Humanitarian space: The operating environment which humanitarian actors need on the ground in order to have full access to victims, to be able to deliver assistance and to offer protection, without endangering the safety and security of aid workers.
  • Principle of humanity: Humankind shall be treated humanely in all circumstances by saving lives and alleviating suffering, while ensuring respect for the individual.
  • Principle of neutrality: Neutrality means not taking sides in hostilities or engaging at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
  • Principle of impartiality: Provision of humanitarian assistance must be impartial and not based on nationality, race, religion or political point of view.
  • Principle of independence: Humanitarian agencies must formulate and implement their own policies independently of government policies or actions.
  • Forgotten crises: Crises that receive little or no media attention and whose victims receive relatively little or no international assistance.
  • Hyogo Framework for Action: Global blueprint for disaster-risk reduction efforts (horizon: 2015).

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – The mid-term review of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid Action Plan – implementing effective, principled EU humanitarian action [COM(2010) 722 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission identifies the areas which require additional effort for the further implementation of the European Consensus on humanitarian aid. In particular, the partners must strengthen their joint action in terms of planning interventions, food aid, reducing the risks of disasters and assistance with the transition period following on from a disaster.

DG ECHO: Annual Report 2005

DG ECHO: Annual Report 2005

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about DG ECHO: Annual Report 2005

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

DG ECHO: Annual Report 2005

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission of 4 August 2006 – Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO): Annual Report 2005 [COM(2006) 441 final – Not yet published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Main interventions

In 2005, DG ECHO allocated a total of 652.5 million,. of which, 629.33 million was financed from the Commission’s budget and the rest was drawn from the European Development Fund (EDF). African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States were the biggest recipients of aid, followed closely by Asia.

The most important actions in the ACP countries took place in Sudan (Darfur crisis), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Coastal West Africa (Guinea, Liberia and Ivory Coast), Niger and Mali. In Latin America, ECHO’s activity focused on the populations affected by the violence in Colombia. In the Mediterranean and the Middle East, ECHO continued to provide financial assistance to the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and to Sahrawi refugees in Algeria. In Asia, most aid went to the countries hit by the tsunami in December 2004 (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives and Thailand) and to Pakistan and India, which were struck by a devastating earthquake in October 2005.

ECHO continued to pay particular attention to forgotten crises *, notably in Algeria (Western Sahara), Indonesia, Myanmar/Thailand, Nepal, the Northern Caucasus (Chechnya), Tajikistan, Somalia and Uganda. It also strove, wherever possible, for an exit from humanitarian aid and a transition towards development activities, notably in Angola, Tajikistan and Cambodia.

With regard to disaster preparedness activities, action plans were adopted in the context of the DIPECHO programme for the Andean Community, Central Asia, South Asia and the Caribbean, regions chosen because of their high risk of natural disasters, the high vulnerability of their populations, and their lack of local resources and coping capacities.

To implement its operations, ECHO relied on some 200 partners in the field, most of them NGOs (54 %), UN agencies (32 %) and other international organisations (11 %).

Relations with other actors

During 2005 ECHO provided input to the discussions on reforming the international humanitarian aid system that were launched in the wake of the experience of crises like the tsunami and the earthquake in Pakistan. In this context, the United Nations endorsed a reform programme aimed at improving the predictability, timeliness and effectiveness of the humanitarian response, strengthening coordination and ensuring predictable funding.

DG ECHO continued to follow the work of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative – GDH, among other things by participating in the meeting held to take stock of the progress made in the two years since the adoption of the initiative in 2003.

ECHO also continued to support the institutional capacities of the main international humanitarian agencies through thematic funding programmes, e.g. WHO’s capacity to respond to health emergencies.

Other activities

In order to boost its disaster response capacity, ECHO increased the number of experts in the field in 2005 and reinforced its Regional Support Offices. It also helped shape EC communications in this sector.

During the course of the year ECHO continued to develop policy guidelines on children affected by humanitarian crises and on water and sanitation in emergency situations. It also looked into ways to help NGOs ensure the safety of their field staff, through a follow-up security review to that completed in 2004.

Regarding its communication strategy, ECHO continued to use the mass media to inform wide audiences about its mission and activities, and also launched a pilot awareness-raising campaign in the Czech Republic.

Finally, ECHO conducted 142 financial audits at the headquarters of humanitarian organisations and 24 operational audits in the field or in their offices. It also conducted evaluations of its own operations, in the framework of its partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Key terms used in the act
  • Forgotten crises: Crises that receive little or no media attention and whose victims receive relatively little or no international assistance.
Key figures given in the act
  • Total aid allocated in 2005: 652.5 million.
  • Main aid recipients: ACP countries (244.2 million / 37 %), Asia (239.25 million / 37 %) and Russia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East (84 million / 13 %).
  • Aid to areas with the greatest needs (according to the GNA classification): 312 million (48 %).
  • Aid to medium-need areas: 136.8 million (21 %).
  • Aid to low-need areas (“pockets of need”): 6.9 million (1 %).
  • Balance (196.6 million / 30 %): allocated to tsunami response activities, disaster preparedness activities (the DIPECHO programme), thematic funding, and technical assistance and support expenditure.

DG ECHO: Annual Report 2006

DG ECHO: Annual Report 2006

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about DG ECHO: Annual Report 2006

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

DG ECHO: Annual Report 2006

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission of 29 September 2006 – Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (DG ECHO): Annual Report 2006 [COM(2006) 555 final – Not yet published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Main interventions

In 2006 DG ECHO allocated a total budget of 671 million, the main recipients being African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, followed by Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the New Independent States.

The most important actions in the ACP countries took place in Sudan (worsening of the Darfur crisis), Northern Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia. In the Mediterranean and the Middle East, DG ECHO provided assistance to victims of the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon and continued to help Palestinian refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon as well as the most vulnerable populations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In Asia, DG ECHO’s activity focused primarily on the Thai-Burma border (Burmese refugees) and on providing assistance to Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran. In Latin America, DG ECHO again provided assistance to populations affected by the violence in Colombia.

As always, DG ECHO continued to pay particular attention to forgotten crises *, using a method of analysis based on both quantitative and qualitative factors. The forgotten crises identified in 2006 were Algeria (Western Sahara), Myanmar, Nepal, Chechnya and India (Kashmir).

With regard to disaster preparedness activities, DG ECHO reinforced its institutional resources to facilitate mainstreaming disaster preparedness in humanitarian relief and rehabilitation programmes. It also allocated 10 million for pastoralist populations in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda), to help them prepare for drought.

DG ECHO also continued to support programmes to reinforce the institutional capacities of the main international humanitarian agencies, e.g. the refugee registration programme operated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

To implement its operations, DG ECHO relied on some 200 partners in the field, most of them NGOs (54%), UN agencies (32%) and other international organisations (11%).

Financial Perspectives 2000-2006 – Financial Perspectives for 2007-2013

The report found that over the period 2000-2006:

  • the humanitarian aid budget was kept a quite stable and minimal amount, which meant that DG ECHO had to seek reinforcement every year, mainly through use of the Emergency Aid Reserve;
  • the funds allocated to the different regions varied sharply from year to year, reflecting the short-term orientation of DG ECHO’s interventions;
  • the relative share of funds allocated to the ACP States increased over the period, and by 2006 accounted for nearly half the DG’s total budget, the sole exception being in 2005, when Asia received the lion’s share of funding, on account of the tsunami and the earthquake in Kashmir.

For the period 2007-2013, the integration of food aid and aid to uprooted people will enable DG ECHO to manage all humanitarian activities through a single instrument. In the context of linkage between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD), this will facilitate the transition from food aid to food security.

Other activities

The report underlines the significant change in the international humanitarian situation. On the one hand, the extent and number of natural disasters have increased, and conflicts last longer and are more destructive. On the other hand, there are new actors on the humanitarian aid stage, including non-traditional donors (companies and States) and the civil protection services and armed forces of the Member States. In this context, the EC launched a consultation between its partners and the Member States to strengthen the effectiveness and coordination of EU policies in the field of humanitarian aid. The results of this process fed into a Communication defining a European Consensus on the principles and best practice of humanitarian action.

In 2006 DG ECHO refined its methodology for assessing global humanitarian needs, splitting the GNA into vulnerability and crisis indicators for the 140 developing countries considered, on the basis of factors such as human development, malnutrition and natural disaster risk.

As regards its strategy for reinforcing the EU’s response capacity in the event of disasters and crises in third countries, DG ECHO increased the number of experts in the field and further improved its operational and contractual procedures.

DG ECHO also continued to pursue its communication and information strategy and to develop its security and safety policy for staff engaged in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Key terms used in the act
  • Forgotten crises: Crises that receive little or no media attention and whose victims receive relatively little or no international assistance.
Key figures given in the act
  • Total aid allocated in 2006: 671 million.
  • Main aid recipients: ACP countries (322 million / 48%), Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the New Independent States (177.9 million / 27%), Latin America and Asia (105.5 million / 16%).

2002 report on ECHO

2002 report on ECHO

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2002 report on ECHO

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

2002 report on ECHO

Evaluation of the activities of the Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Commission (ECHO) in 2002.

2) Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission, of 16 July 2003, Annual Report 2002 (Humanitarian Aid Office – ECHO) [COM(2003) 430 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

During 2002, ECHO channelled a total of 537.8 million into humanitarian aid projects throughout the world. The African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) and the Asian countries were the main beneficiaries. ECHO paid special attention to “forgotten crises” (those that do not really attract the attention of the media or other donors), implementation of a policy linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) and strengthening relations with its partners.

Humanitarian operations carried out in 2002

In 2002 natural disasters affected 170 million people and killed almost 40 000. Half the 42 ongoing wars and violent crises occurred in Africa. ECHO succeeded in implementing its needs-based strategy. Thus, the populations of ACP countries were the biggest recipient of aid (211.5 million or 39% of ECHO’s total budget), followed by Asia (137.96 million or 26%) and by Eastern Europe (85.3 million or 16%). Aid to the Balkans, however, was phased down (8% of the budget against 15% in 2001).

In 2002 new humanitarian crises in Afghanistan (the sudden return of 2 million refugees) and Southern Africa (food crisis affecting 13 million people), required ECHO to call on the emergency aid reserve. It therefore overshot the budget initially planned for 2002 by 80 million.

ECHO allocated 85 million (16% of its total budget) to forgotten crises in Angola, Chechnya, Uganda, Western Sahara and Yemen. ECHO also refined its methodology for identifying forgotten crises.

The report gives a detailed account of ECHO’s humanitarian operations in various countries around the world in 2002. Humanitarian operations are presented by first outlining the country’s humanitarian needs. The humanitarian objectives and achievements come afterwards. Efforts undertaken to implement a policy linking emergency relief, rehabilitation and development round off the analysis. The budget allocated to each country is also given. The report looks at 19 African countries, 2 Balkan countries, 6 NIS, 5 Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, 15 Asian countries and 12 Latin American countries.

The objective of the Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) is to help prepare local institutions, to enhance their capacity to cope with disasters and to finance small-scale disaster mitigation works. DIPECHO’s budget for 2002 totalled 8 million. This money was used to finance action plans in Andean and Central America, South Asia and the Caribbean. Over 2 million people in South Asia and over 30 000 in Andean America benefited from this programme.

Relations with humanitarian partners and the European Parliament

ECHO’s main partners were non-governmental organisations and UN Agencies. The former accounted for 62% of the contracts signed by ECHO in 2002 and the latter 27% of the total. During 2002 ECHO deepened its relationships with its major partners through strategic programming dialogues.

ECHO continued to consult the signatories of the Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA), which governs ECHO’s relations with the majority of its partners responsible for implementing humanitarian projects, with a view to its consolidation and revision. A new FPA, based on the quality of aid, will enter into force on 1 January 2004.

In 2002 ECHO further improved its relations and collaboration with the European Parliament. In January 2003 Parliament adopted a report congratulating ECHO on its progress in effective aid delivery, simplification of procedures and sound financial management during the period 2001-2002.

ECHO also laid the foundations for continued dialogue and cooperation with US agencies dealing with refugees and migration, development cooperation and disaster relief.

Internal planning instruments

ECHO’s internal planning instruments, such as global needs assessment (a ranking of countries in terms of humanitarian needs in order to focus on those with the most urgent needs) were updated and fine-tuned during 2002. ECHO also prepared an entry strategy paper in 2002, which defines objective criteria as to when ECHO should intervene in case of disasters. As regards LRRD policy, ECHO developed a methodology to measure progress in moving from humanitarian to development aid.

In 2002, ECHO continued its internal reform. It partially decentralised its financial circuits and stepped up its internal control systems to better assess the risks relating to humanitarian projects, and to monitor their progress more effectively. A reorganisation designed to further improve the efficiency of the service was also undertaken

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations

Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

Framework Partnership Agreement with humanitarian organisations (2008-2012)

Document or Iniciative

Framework Partnership  Agreement with humanitarian organisations.

Summary

The Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid of the European Commission (DG ECHO) does not intervene directly in the field; its assistance is distributed and implemented by its partners. As a result, Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) form the basis of its work. Since its creation in 1992 ECHO has always made use of FPAs and two types are currently in force: a framework agreement with international organisations and a framework agreement with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). There is also a Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement between the European Community and the United Nations (FAFA) governing ECHO-financed humanitarian aid operations carried out by UN humanitarian services.

This new FPA with NGOs is in force from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2012 and it may be renewed tacitly by the Commission for a maximum of one year. It is the fourth FPA in the history of DG ECHO, following the FPAs adopted in 1993, 1998 and 2003, and aims to simplify and to increase flexibility of the contractual instruments with the partners, as well as to improve the implementation of humanitarian aid using a result-oriented approach. With this in mind, the two key objectives of “continuity” and “high-quality partnership” have been taken from the previous FPA.

General provisions

The humanitarian aid of the European Union (EU) is provided through programmes and projects supported by the European Community, which can finance the purchase and delivery of all products, materials and services necessary for their implementation in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96, the legal basis for DG ECHO and FPAs.

The FPA defines the common principles governing the partnership between ECHO and NGOs and establishes rules and procedures applicable to humanitarian operations carried out in partnership. It also defines the criteria for the selection of partners and aims to establish long?term cooperation between ECHO and NGOs in order to ensure quick, effective and efficient aid. The signing of a partnership agreement is, in principle, the precondition for making financial grants in support of specific humanitarian operations, but the FPA is not a financing agreement as such.

The principal aims of the FPA are:

  • to optimise the results and implementation of humanitarian aid operations, with principles of economy and efficiency in addition to well-defined objectives and performance indicators;
  • to simplify procedures and clarify rules;
  • to promote the idea of high-quality partnership through carefully chosen partners and a commitment to improvement.

The quality of the partnership must be manifested when carrying out the humanitarian project. This quality must be based on transparency and accountability towards the parties concerned, formulation of strategies seeking efficiency of the humanitarian response, access to fair working conditions for humanitarian workers and the promotion of a culture of learning linked to best practice. Information and communication must flow between partners.

Selection and evaluation of partners

All NGOs that adhere to ECHO’s values, principles and objectives are eligible partners after verification that they meet predetermined criteria. The eligibility criteria are:

  • to be an autonomous non-profit organisation with its head office in a Member State. The Commission will verify the organisation’s act of incorporation and status with national authorities;
  • to provide audited financial statements for the two previous financial years. The Commission will verify annual activity reports for the two last years certifying a minimum of three years of operational experience in the field;
  • to demonstrate sufficient and verifiable administrative capacity, both by the organisation chart and the list of management board members;
  • to be able to certify the moral integrity of the organisation and its management board;
  • to have endorsed a voluntary code of conduct or charter stipulating adhesion to the principles of impartiality, independence and neutrality in delivering humanitarian assistance.

After eligibility, aptitude is also evaluated. Technical and logistical capacities, administrative and financial management capacities, experience, previous results, implementation capacity and impartiality will be taken into consideration for selection and verified with national authorities on-site.

Monitoring and control

In order to control NGO activities in a more effective way, two control mechanisms have been set out in the new FPA:

  • mechanism “A” (A for action) for monitoring of the implementation of actions, in?depth checks of the final report and ex post audits of actions;
  • mechanism “P” (P for prior evaluation and for internal procedures), based on ex ante evaluation of internal control procedures, risk management and the award of contracts by the NGOs, as well as ex post audits of the implementation of their rules and procedures.

The Commission periodically assesses the NGOs which are party to FPAs using the following two-stage procedure:

  • the first stage, which is carried out annually and is compulsory for all NGOs, aims to verify the eligibility and aptitude criteria. In this context, the Commission is to receive a copy of the annual accounts, an external audit report and a copy of the annual activity report for the previous financial year, as well as any additional documentation considered relevant;
  • the second stage consists of an in-depth evaluation, which is to be performed at least once every three years.

Suspension or termination of the partnership agreement

Following the annual evaluation, the Commission can either confirm its partnership with the NGO or suspend the FPA or terminate it by giving prior notice. In the event of non-compliance with the criteria, the Commission may suspend the partnership with 45 days’ written notice. In the event of suspension, the NGO is no longer eligible for new financing during the suspension period but it may see its active status restored if it can show that it once again meets the aptitude criteria. Where there are grounds for suspecting an infringement of the contractual obligations by the NGO, the Commission may suspend the FPA with immediate effect.

After one year’s suspension, the partnership agreement will be terminated. Other cases of termination result from non-compliance with the eligibility requirements set out above, breach of the values, principles or objectives of FPAs and cases of substantial irregularity which cause or may cause loss to the Community budget. Here too, 45 days’ written notice must be given.

Actions eligible for Community financing

Humanitarian assistance involves supplying food, water and sanitation, shelter and health services, short-term rehabilitation, reconstruction work, protection of victims of conflict, and disaster-preparedness operations.

These operations must conform to the fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence *. They must be focused on the beneficiaries, be based on the needs of the population in distress and use best practice in the humanitarian field. To this end, NGOs must:

  • allocate funds according to need;
  • foster participation of the beneficiaries;
  • base their operations on local capacity while respecting culture, structure and tradition;
  • establish a link between emergency assistance, rehabilitation and development;
  • cooperate to support affected communities’ capacity to respond to future humanitarian crises.

The operations may be launched on the initiative of the Commission or the NGO; they may be financed wholly or in part by the European Community.

Key terms in the act
  • Principle of humanity: humankind must be treated humanely in all circumstances; it is necessary to save lives and alleviate suffering, while ensuring respect for the individual.
  • Principle of neutrality: neutrality means not taking sides in hostilities or engaging at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
  • Principle of impartiality: provision of humanitarian aid must not be based on nationality, race, religion or political point of view.
  • Principle of independence: humanitarian agencies must formulate and implement their own policies independently of government policies or actions.

ECHO: 2007 Annual Report

ECHO: 2007 Annual Report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ECHO: 2007 Annual Report

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

ECHO: 2007 Annual Report

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission of 9 July 2008 – Annual Report 2007 of the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) [COM(2008) 449 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In 2007 the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (DG ECHO) allocated a budget of €722 million. Financed actions made it possible to respond quickly to natural and man-made disasters and crises in non-EU member countries.

Main Interventions

DG ECHO allocated 55 % of its budget to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, with a particular focus on Africa (Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Zimbabwe, Sahel, Uganda and Ethiopia).

20 % of the budget was allocated to Asia and Latin America in light of the crises and natural disasters which occurred in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar and Latin America (Peru, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Colombia).

Countries in the Middle East and New Independent States (NIS) received 16 % of the budget to support vulnerable populations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, and vulnerable populations affected by the crisis in Chechnya.

DG ECHO continued to support victims of forgotten crises like Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, Bhutanese refugees, victims of the Maoist insurrection in Nepal and populations affected by conflict in India (Jammu and Kashmir).

In 2007 the linkage between relief, rehabilitation and development strategy (LRRD) was reinforced through the adoption of the 2007-2013 Development Co-operation Instrument (DCI) and the 2007-2013 Instrument for Stability.

Disaster preparedness remained a main priority achieved by the implementation of DIPECHO projects at local and regional levels to increase awareness about potential risks among highly vulnerable populations.

Non-governmental and international organisations as well as United Nations agencies who signed Framework Partnership Agreements and Partnership Agreements received specific program funding.

Detailed information about interventions financed in 2007 appears in the appendix to the report.

Other interventions

DG ECHO ensured the mobilisation and quality of humanitarian aid, paying particular attention to the safety of field staff, rapid response and enhanced monitoring at every phase of an intervention.

The Commission also deepened its relationships with other European institutions, national institutions of Member States, international institutions and non-European donors.

Context

DG ECHO operates within the framework of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid adopted in 2007 by the European Parliament, Council and Commission. In 2008 the Consensus should be followed by an operational action plan.

ECHO Annual Report 2008

ECHO Annual Report 2008

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about ECHO Annual Report 2008

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

ECHO Annual Report 2008

Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission of 1 July 2009 – Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) – Annual Report 2008 [COM(2009) 290 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In 2008 the budget of the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) was increased to Euro 937 million due to the increase in the number of natural disasters and soaring food prices. The budget for emergency food assistance was doubled in order to help over 25 million people.

Main operations

Man-made crises affected many regions of the world in 2008. This was the case in South Ossetia due to the conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation, in Kenya due to the political turmoil that led to the displacement of 500,000 people, in the Philippines following the failure of the peace agreement between the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which led to the displacement of 550,000 people, and in Yemen and Sri Lanka due to the internal conflicts in those States.

A number of worsening humanitarian crises required special management due to their protracted or complex emergency nature; this was the case in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Commission’s strategy is also focused on the management of forgotten humanitarian crises (those where the needs are great yet which receive little attention on the part of donors and the media).

The Commission notes an increase in the frequency and extent of natural disasters.In 2008 it had to conduct relief operations in several regions of the world to help suffering populations who in some cases had already been affected by other types of crises. Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons affected the Caribbean region, Madagascar, Burma/Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.The Horn of Africa, Sahel, Republic of Moldova, Paraguay, Honduras and Palestinian territories experienced periods of drought and Peru and Bolivia periods of extreme cold.China was affected by an earthquake and Benin, Latin America and the Caribbean region by epidemics. In addition, there were floods in Latin America, Bangladesh, Nepal, Namibia, India and Yemen.

The EU’s strategy for disaster risk reduction in developing countries, including the DIPECHO programmes, aims to make local communities more aware of the risks they face and to increase their resilience.

ECHO action is short-term oriented but the Commission encourages linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LLRD). It thereby helps populations affected by crises to return quickly to self-sufficiency.

Effectiveness of aid

ECHO action contributes to the definition of a humanitarian policy that is best adapted to situations of vulnerability. It aims to ensure the effectiveness and quality of the aid delivered. To this end the Commission recommends:

  • developing the safety of staff involved in the delivery of aid;
  • reinforcing partners’ capacities;
  • strengthening rapid response capacity by organising multi-sectoral teams;
  • extending communication and information strategies;
  • supporting the training of staff involved in the delivery of aid, in particular via the ‘Network on Humanitarian Assistance’ (NOHA).

In 2008 humanitarian aid was delivered by UN agencies (46%), non-governmental organisations (44%) and international organisations (10%).

Humanitarian Food Assistance

Humanitarian Food Assistance

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Humanitarian Food Assistance

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

Humanitarian Food Assistance

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 31 March 2010 Humanitarian Food Assistance [COM(2010) 126 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission defines the strategic framework in which the European Union (EU) provides food assistance in the event of humanitarian crises outside its territory. This new strategy should allow the effectiveness of assistance and the joint work of all actors involved to be improved.

Humanitarian food assistance has the main aim of saving and preserving lives, protecting livelihoods and increasing resilience for populations facing ongoing or future food crises. The EU’s action also aims at meeting a series of specific objectives:

  • ensuring the availability, access to and consumption of adequate, safe and nutritious food;
  • protecting food production and marketing systems;
  • strengthening the international system to improve the effectiveness of assistance.

However, operations must not:

  • make populations dependent upon the relief system;
  • disrupt the functioning of commercial markets;
  • expose beneficiaries to risk in receiving assistance;
  • have too much impact on the environment and natural resources.

Initiation of assistance operations

The Commission can trigger a humanitarian food assistance response where:

  • emergency rates of mortality or acute malnutrition have been reached, or will be reached according to forecasts, due to lack of food;
  • there are serious threats to the lives of the population or risks of extreme suffering, due to a lack of livelihood or bad strategies for coping with the crisis (i.e. in particular the sale of productive assets, migration, or insecure survival practices, etc.).

Nevertheless, the Commission can intervene as soon as a crisis begins, without waiting for extreme risks for the population to occur or for a disaster to be officially declared.

It can also deal with situations of chronic food insecurity by associating humanitarian intervention with development actions. This is only possible if:

  • the situation presents an imminent humanitarian risk of significant severity;
  • other actors cannot act;
  • the action may have a positive impact in a short time.

Operations are gradually halted when indicators are stable below emergency levels. They are also halted when other donors or non-humanitarian stakeholders are able to meet the needs of the population for a sustained period.

Food and nutritional needs

Operations aim first of all at the timely supply of food. However, humanitarian food assistance may also intervene in several food-related sectors, such as agriculture and health.

Furthermore, populations should have access to safe and well balanced food, of sufficient quantity and quality. The type of food proposed should, if possible, conform to local dietary preferences.

Finally, populations should be made aware of nutrition and appropriate feeding practices.

Additional strategies

The Commission wishes to develop links between humanitarian assistance, the strategy for relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) and the strategy for disaster risk reduction (DRR). This approach necessitates long-term support and effective coordination among those involved in humanitarian assistance and development.

The EU also promotes better collaboration between international actors and a reinforcement of global governance.

Context

This strategic framework complies with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid. It is presented in conjunction with the Communication on food security and development.