Tag Archives: Man-made disaster

Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection


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

Humanitarian aid

Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)

Since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU has had an exceptional shared competence in the area of humanitarian action, i.e. it has the power to conduct operations and a European policy in addition to those of the Member States. The Commission ensures the smooth coordination of action at European and national level.

Humanitarian aid

Humanitarian aid is specifically intended for developing countries. It is implemented via the instrument for humanitarian aid which finances emergency operations, in particular with the aim to:

  • provide assistance, relief and protection for the local population;
  • provide food aid and assistance to displaced persons;
  • support disaster preparedness and crisis rehabilitation actions.

These operations are conducted depending on the needs and interests of the victims, in accordance with international law and the principles of impartiality, neutrality and non-discrimination laid down by the European Consensus on humanitarian aid.

ECHO intervenes in partnership with organisations that have signed a framework partnership agreement with the Commission, such as the specialised agencies of the United Nations, the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and numerous non-governmental organisations.

Civil protection

ECHO also intervenes in the event of natural or man-made disasters (earthquakes, floods, industrial accidents, etc.) occurring in the EU. Its action is implemented via the Civil Protection Financial Instrument in response to requests for assistance from the countries affected.

The EU’s action involves encouraging cooperation between national civil protection services, principally with the aim of:

  • supplementing and supporting Member States’ prevention, preparedness and response activities;
  • faciliting rapid operational cooperation between Member States.

The EU can also conduct civil protection operations in non-Member States, more specifically with the accession candidate countries and the Mediterranean partner countries.


The EU is one of the world’s biggest providers of humanitarian aid funding. Since 1992, operations directed by ECHO have channelled aid to regions in crisis in more than 85 countries.

2001 report on ECHO

2001 report on ECHO

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2001 report on ECHO


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

Humanitarian aid

2001 report on ECHO

To assess the activity of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) in 2001.

2) Document or Iniciative

Report from the Commission- Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) – Annual Report 2001 [COM(2002)322 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

This report is published in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 concerning humanitarian aid. This stipulates that after each budget year, the Commission must submit an annual report to the European Parliament and the Council on the measures financed during the year.

The report states that in 2001, ECHO made significant progress, particularly with respect to its role in the linking of relief, rehabilitation and development, improving its relations with the United Nations and implementing its administrative reform.

As outlined in the Communication on linking relief, rehabilitation and development, adopted in April 2001, ECHO will focus more clearly on its core mandate, i.e. providing immediate life-saving relief in emergencies. A working paper setting out the criteria for the phase-out of humanitarian assistance and the hand-over to development cooperation was drawn up by the Commission.

ECHO developed a methodology to better define forgotten crises and unstable post-crisis situations. This methodology is based on an analysis of media reporting and coverage of needs through other donors. The crises thus identified in 2001 through this new tool were Angola, Western Sahara and Chechnya and they were allocated considerable funding.

ECHO’s methodology for assessing humanitarian needs was also improved in 2001. With this tool, ECHO has been able to demonstrate that its operations focus on the areas of greatest need.

With regard to its administrative reform, ECHO concentrated on restructuring its internal organisation and working methods, and developing instruments to measure and improve its results. Thus, in June 2001, a fast-track decision-making procedure was adopted, enabling ECHO to approve urgent projects within 24 to 72 hours.

In the course of 2001, a web-based crises information system was developed, which provides daily updates. A new local information system is being studied.

Operations carried out by ECHO

The global trend towards more frequent and more damaging disasters continues. The most important events in 2001 were: the earthquakes in El Salvador and India, the floods in India and the droughts in Central Asia. The global situation concerning man-made disasters remains very poor. It is estimated that 2.2 million people were killed in conflicts since 1991. The number of wars and violent crises is increasing and totalled 38 at the end of 2001.

ECHO allocated EUR 543.7 million to humanitarian crises in 2001. It signed 1 031 operation contracts and its aid funded projects in over 60 countries.

This report reviews the aid granted to the various parts of the world and their situation from a humanitarian point of view. The African, Caribbean and Pacific region was the largest recipient of funds in 2001 (EUR 173 320 million). The funds allocated to the Balkans were lower than the previous year due to the stabilisation in the region. However, the aid allocated to Asia increased. The Palestinian territories once again remained one of the major spheres of ECHO’s intervention.

In 2001, the Humanitarian Aid Office implemented two action plans under the DIPECHO programme (disaster preparedness activities within a regional framework): one in South-East Asia and one in Central America. The programme was extended to South Asia.

Cross-cutting issues

In 2001, ECHO signed the Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) with 27 new partners. The operation of the FPA was revised, taking account of the quality of aid.

Throughout 2001, ECHO granted EUR 1.6 million for the programme to subsidise initiatives on training, studies and networks in the humanitarian field.

In 2001, ECHO’s new information and communication strategy, adopted in 2000, was first implemented. It aims to define target audiences more clearly, develop the use of the Internet, define more structured objectives and establish closer links between ECHO headquarters and field offices. This approach was reflected in an EU-wide opinion poll aimed at gauging the level of public knowledge of ECHO and humanitarian issues. The poll revealed considerable support for the principle of humanitarian assistance but relatively low recognition levels for the role played by ECHO and a desire for more information on this issue.

In 2001, the rate of budget implementation in terms of commitment appropriations was 100% and 90.5% in terms of payment appropriations.

Outlook and perspectives

There are three major humanitarian challenges in the world: the persistence of protracted man-made crises; emerging crisis theatres in areas considered more or less stable in the past; and increasingly adverse effects of natural disasters.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Prevention of natural or man-made disasters in the European Union

Prevention of natural or man-made disasters in the European Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Prevention of natural or man-made disasters in the European Union


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

Environment > Civil protection

Prevention of natural or man-made disasters in the European Union

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 23 February 2009 – A Community approach on the prevention of natural and man made disasters [COM(2009) 82 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Community territory is affected by natural or man-made disasters, the number and impact of which is rising. This increasing vulnerability is caused in particular by the effects of climate change and by urban and industrial development.

The strategy is part of a set of instruments with both an external and an internal dimension. It does not cover emergencies related to conflicts or acts of terrorism.

The measures taken regarding disaster prevention are mainly at national level. Disaster prevention should nevertheless be approached at European level, since hazards often have cross-border impact and effects on the growth and competitiveness of the European Union (EU).

A Community approach should enhance the effectiveness of prevention action by adding to national actions in certain areas. This strategy is therefore based on three main themes:

  • Developing existing knowledge, so as to improve the effectiveness of prevention policies.

The Commission should facilitate the production of information and its comparability with regard to disaster factors. It will carry out an inventory of information sources and best practices, and dissemination of best practices in risk management procedures (land use planning, emergency plans, etc.). Risk areas should be mapped according to guidelines prepared at European level.

The 7th Research and Development Framework Programme (RDFP) supports the coordination of research activities and the dissemination of information on disaster risks.

  • Extending cooperation of actors involved in disaster management.

Prevention, preparedness, response and recovery activities should be based on coordinated mechanisms involving public and private actors. The creation of a network of those responsible at national level and specialists should serve to improve the coordination of Community, national and regional measures.

Links between detection and early warning systems should be developed, including in cooperation with Mediterranean third countries. The Commission must further develop the evaluation of the Civil Protection Mechanismand training will be carried out within the framework of the civil protection programme. Citizens should be better informed about prevention measures, as well as the existence of the emergency number 112 (pdf ).

  • Targeting legislative and financial instruments for prevention action.

Within the framework of the 2007-2013 budget, the Commission should identify the Community instruments which could finance prevention measures (for example in the areas of rural development, civil protection, environmental protection, research and information and communication technologies). If necessary, the Commission shall make recommendations for the integration of these measures in national operational programmes.

When certain legislative provisions are amended, the constraints related to disaster risk management should be better addressed. The following are particularly concerned: the SEA Directiveon the environmental impact of public and private projects, the SEVESO Directive on technological risks and the provisions concerning technical standards of anti-seismic construction. European legislation also coversflood management and oil spills.

International cooperation

This strategy should be implemented in cooperation with Candidate countries or potential Candidates for accession, with Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partner countries and as part of the programme for prevention, preparedness and response to natural and man-made disasters (PPRD) within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

The Commission will coordinate these actions with the European strategy for the reduction of risks in developing countries. This is to be in line with the international Hyogo Framework for Action 2005 – 2015 for disaster prevention.

Response to natural or man-made disasters

Response to natural or man-made disasters

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Response to natural or man-made disasters


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

Environment > Civil protection

Response to natural or man-made disasters

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 5 March 2008 on “Reinforcing the Union’s Disaster Response Capacity” [COM(2008) 130 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission has put forward proposals which aim to reinforce the European Union’s

disaster response capacity. The notion of ‘disaster’ is used in a broad sense to cover natural or man-made disasters and conflict-related emergencies taking place within the European Union (EU) and also outside its borders.

In order to react effectively to these disasters, a comprehensive approach including risk assessment, forecast, prevention, preparedness and rehabilitation is required. This also requires the mobilisation of all the policies, instruments and services available to the Community and Member States.

Planning, coordination and rapid response

The Commission stresses the need to reinforce the links between civil protection and the environmental policies included in environmental legislation in order to take full advantage of the preventive measures included in the latter. Importance is also placed on developing synergies with international, national and local stakeholders to achieve better coordination.

In particular, the Commission put forward the suggestion to streamline coordination between itself, the Council and Member States for large scale disasters involving both Community instruments and Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) instruments. The Commission referred to the opportunity to establish joint planning and operational teams as well as to develop standard operational procedures adapted to different types of disasters and geographical areas.

The Commission reiterated that it manages many Rapid Alert Systems (RAS) in case of specific sectoral disasters. It also decides on Community humanitarian assistance and coordinates the Community Civil Protection Mechanism. Furthermore, the Commission has at its disposal a number of instruments it can use to finance disaster prevention measures or to alleviate the financial costs incurred by public authorities when undertaking emergency operations. These instruments include the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), funds allocated for Rural Development, the Civil Protection Financial Instrument (CPFI) and the Instrument for Stability.

The Commission also has at its disposal a number of coordination tools for managing crisis situations more effectively, such as ARGUS, an internal mechanism developed in June 2006 to respond to multidimensional crises, and the RELEX Crisis Platform, established after the 2004 Tsunami, which assists political coordination between the Commission and Member States during external crisis situations.

Improving humanitarian aid

The Commission aims to improve the European Union’s humanitarian aid capacities. In particular this will be achieved by identifying existing gaps in terms of logistics, further strengthening the rapid assessment and response capacity in the field and improving liaison between the different actors involved.

Noting that the majority of disasters taking place in third countries do not trigger an international response and that when an international response is initiated, it often takes days for external assistance to reach the site, the Commission believes it is important to have an active expert presence in the field and to ensure that local authorities have the capacity to react immediately.

Reinforcing civil protection

In the field of civil protection, the Commission proposes to build up the Monitoring and Information Centre so that it can take on the role of the European Union’s operational centre for intervention. It also aims to improve the European Union’s response capacity, whilst keeping in reserve the means to rapidly intervene in the event of a disaster.

The Commission intends to undertake studies and finance diverse projects with the aim of developing a knowledge base on the EU’s capacity to intervene quickly in the event of major disasters in a Member State or third country. This will include studies on scenarios which aim to identify potential shortcomings and trial runs of different methods which would enable rapid intervention capacities to be kept in reserve. On this basis the Commission will put forward appropriate proposals.

The Commission suggests undertaking other measures in parallel, such as the creation of a European Disaster Response Training Network, the development of early warning systems and promoting the use of the single European emergency number (“112”).

The Communication includes an Annex on the subject of forest fires to clearly demonstrate how further prevention, preparedness, response and recovery measures could be combined to deal with such a disaster in a more effective manner.


The increase in major disasters in recent years (the 2004 tsunami in Asia, the war in Lebanon in 2006, forest fires and floods in Europe in 2007) and the risk of increasingly frequent disasters due to climate change makes modernisation and adaptation of the European Union’s means of response essential.

In December 2007 the European Parliament and European Council invited the Council and Commission to make the best use of the Community Civil Protection Mechanism and the Civil Protection Financial Instrument to help prepare for major emergencies. Furthermore, in December 2007 the European Parliament and the European Council signed the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, a comprehensive framework for improved delivery of humanitarian aid at the European Union level.

Moreover, the Commission believes that a disaster management policy must include measures aimed at preventing this type of event. The Commission announced its intention to present an integrated approach to disaster prevention in the European Union, as well as a European Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in Developing Countries.