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Ajutorul umanitar

ncepnd cu 1960, Comisia European acord asisten umanitar pentru persoanele


din rile tere afectate de conflicte sau catastrofe, att naturale ct i provocate de om.
Numrul mare de operaiuni de acest tip, ntreprinse ncepnd cu sfritul anilor '80, a
fcut ca aceasta s reprezinte un element principal al aciunii externe a Comisiei. Din
1992, ajutorul umanitar al UE este gestionat de ctre Direcia General Ajutor
Umanitar (DG ECHO), care s-a adaptat de-a lungul anilor la caracterul schimbtor i
la sporirea numrului problemelor umanitare. n prezent, Uniunea European, mai
exact Comisia European i statele membre n mod colectiv, reprezint liderul mondial
n materie de ajutor umanitar.
TEMEIUL JURIDIC
Articolul 179 din Tratatul CE.
OBIECTIVE
Cadrul de reglementare al aciunilor umanitare ale CE este Regulamentul (CE) nr. 1257/96
al Consiliului din 20 iunie 1996. n conformitate cu regulamentul, ajutorul umanitar
comunitar cuprinde aciuni nediscriminatorii de asisten, sociale i de protecie destinate
ajutorrii populaiilor din rile tere, i n special a celor mai vulnerabile dintre acestea. n
special, principalele obiective ale aciunilor comunitare de ajutor umanitar sunt:
s salveze i s apere viei n timpul situaiilor de urgen, al catastrofelor naturale i al
situaiilor care rezult imediat n urma acestora;
s asigure asistena i ajutorarea necesar persoanelor afectate de crize pe termen lung
generate, n special, de conflicte sau rzboaie;
s ajute la finanarea transportrii ajutoarelor i s depun eforturi pentru a se asigura c
acestea sunt accesibile persoanelor crora le sunt destinate;
s desfoare lucrri de reabilitare i de construcie pe termen scurt, n special pentru
infrastructur i echipamente, n vederea facilitrii sosirii ajutoarelor;
s fac fa consecinelor provocate de relocarea populaiei (refugiai, persoane
strmutate i repatriate) ca urmare a catastrofelor naturale i a celor provocate de om;
s garanteze o pregtire prealabil mpotriva riscurilor catastrofelor naturale sau ale
circumstanelor excepionale de proporii asemntoare i s utilizeze un sistem
corespunztor de rspuns rapid i de intervenie;
s susin aciunile civile de ocrotire a victimelor conflictelor sau ale situaiilor de
urgen de proporii asemntoare, n conformitate cu conveniile internaionale n vigoare.
REALIZRI
Comunitatea a luat parte la aciunile de asisten umanitar de la sfritul anilor '60.
Valoarea semnificativ a ajutorului acordat de la sfritul anilor '80 a fcut din acesta un
element esenial al politicii internaionale a Comunitii. UE, Comisia European i statele
membre mpreun, a devenit n prezent liderul mondial n materie de ajutor umanitar,
contribuind n 2006 cu peste 2 miliarde EUR (peste 40 % din asistena internaional
oficial). Din 1992, ajutorul umanitar al CE este gestionat de Direcia General Ajutor
Umanitar (DG ECHO).
A. Rolul DG ECHO
DG ECHO a fost nfiinat n scopul centralizrii aciunilor de ajutor umanitar ale Comisiei
i, prin urmare, al organizrii mai eficiente a acestora. DG ECHO nu implementeaz
programe de asisten propriu-zise; aceasta finaneaz operaiuni prin intermediul a peste
200 de parteneri (ONG-uri, Agenii ONU, Organizaii internaionale, precum Crucea
Roie/Semiluna Roie).
Sarcina principal a DG ECHO este s se asigure c bunurile i serviciile umanitare obinute
prin intermediul acestor parteneri ajung la populaiile vulnerabile din zonele de criz n
mod eficient i rapid, c acestea sunt livrate n funcie de necesitile reale i asigurnd
o gestionare financiar eficient.
Rapiditatea livrrii ajutoarelor este facilitat de prevederile speciale din Regulamentul
financiar i normele sale de aplicare, permind astfel Comisiei s ia decizii de urgen
privind finanarea ajutoarelor. Prin aceste decizii se poate aproba acordarea unei sume de
pn la 3 milioane EUR n 72 de ore i pn la 10 milioane EUR n 10 zile n cadrul
activitilor umanitare prin procedurile bugetare rapide la apariia unei catastrofe umanitare.
n plus, partenerii DG ECHO (peste 200) au semnat fie un Acord-cadru de parteneriat (ACP,
pentru ONG-uri i Organizaii Internaionale) fie un Acord-cadru financiar i administrativ
(ACFA, pentru Ageniile ONU). Aceste acorduri contractuale ex ante au facilitat i urgentat
alocarea resurselor, promovnd n acelai timp responsabilitatea partenerilor DG ECHO.
DG ECHO acord asisten financiar exclusiv pe baza evalurilor nevoilor umanitare, cu
respectarea strict a principiilor fundamentale umanitare de umanitate, neutralitate,
imparialitate i independen. n acest scop, DG ECHO a dezvoltat propria metodologie
bazat pe o abordare dubl: clasificarea analitic a rilor tere n funcie de vulnerabilitatea
general a acestora, adaptat la evaluarea pe teren efectuat de ctre experii DG ECHO,
care prezint de asemenea importan n identificarea rapid a partenerilor adecvai i a
proiectelor care s satisfac nevoile existente.
Implementarea aciunilor umanitare este urmat de monitorizarea la faa locului a
partenerilor i a proiectelor sale de ctre DG ECHO, pentru a garanta o gestionare financiar
eficient i c resursele alocate au fost utilizate n scopul prevzut. Unitatea de evaluare a
DG ECHO, nfiinat n 1996, a contribuit la consolidarea monitorizrii i la eficientizarea
activitilor umanitare ale CE.
Asistena DG ECHO vizeaz, de asemenea, mpreun cu alte instrumente de ajutorare, s
faciliteze revenirea populaiei ntr-o situaie de autosuficien oriunde i oricnd este posibil
i s permit eliminarea progresiv a finanrii umanitare n condiii bune. n acest context,
DG ECHO este implicat n mod activ n implementarea unei strategii de corelare ntre
ajutorul social, reabilitare i dezvoltare (LRRD).
Dincolo de activitatea principal de finanare a interveniilor umanitare, DG ECHO se ocup
i cu aspecte legate de sprijinirea furnizrii i calitatea ajutorului umanitar. DG ECHO:
menine relaiile sale active cu alte instituii, cu statele membre i cu organizaiile
internaionale, n vederea consolidrii politicii umanitare;
promoveaz respectarea dreptului umanitar internaional i a principiilor umanitare i
aprarea spaiului umanitar;
a dezvoltat o politic de siguran i securitate pentru personalul DG ECHO implicat n
furnizarea ajutorului umanitar;
coopereaz cu programele de formare, precum Reeaua de ajutor umanitar (NOHA), i
acord asisten tehnic partenerilor si;
promoveaz contientizarea publicului fa de problemele umanitare din Europa i din
alte locuri.
n vederea realizrii diverselor sale sarcini, DG ECHO s-a dezvoltat de-a lungul anilor i, n
prezent, aceasta are 200 de funcionari care lucreaz n sediile sale de la Bruxelles, plus 100
de experi pe teren i 250 de ageni locali care lucreaz n cele aproximativ 40 de birouri de
sprijin ale sale din rile tere.
B. Cadrul politic general: Consensul european privind ajutorul
umanitar
De-a lungul ultimelor decenii, amploarea, fora i numrul de catastrofe naturale i al celor
provocate de om au crescut, devenind tot mai complexe i avnd o durat din ce n ce mai
mare. De asemenea, numrul de persoane afectate a crescut i populaiile cele mai srace au
fost afectate disproporionat. Contextul internaional n care are loc ajutorul umanitar a
devenit tot mai problematic, cu participarea actorilor statali sau a altor actori dect statele,
cu nclcri foarte grave ale dreptului umanitar internaional i cu periclitarea frecvent a
securitii lucrtorilor umanitari.
n acest context, cele trei instituii ale UE (Parlamentul European, Consiliul i Comisia) au
semnat n decembrie 2007, dup ase luni de negocieri, un Consens european privind
ajutorul umanitar. Consensul este un efort colectiv realizat de Uniunea European (inclusiv
de statele membre ale acesteia) care vizeaz conturarea viitorului ajutorului umanitar al UE,
abordnd noile probleme i rspunznd, pentru prima dat, cu o voce unic i mai eficient.
Acesta reprezint un pilon semnificativ pentru ajutorul umanitar al UE.
Consensul reconfirm angajamentul UE fa de principiile umanitare, dreptul umanitar
internaional i nevoia de coordonare intensificat la nivelul UE, respectnd n acelai timp
rolul central de coordonare al Naiunilor Unite. Acesta subliniaz, de asemenea, nevoia de
mai multe resurse i faptul c ajutorul trebuie furnizat de ctre profesioniti n domeniu. De
asemenea, acesta delimiteaz n mod clar rolul actorilor statali i, n special, al forelor
armate ale acestora, la care trebuie s se apeleze doar ca ultim variant pentru ntmpinarea
nevoilor umanitare critice.
Consensul a fost urmat n 2008 de un Plan de aciune prezentat de ctre Comisie, care
include aciuni concrete i msurabile n fiecare dintre zone, plan salutat att de ctre
Consiliu, ct i de ctre Parlamentul European. Din partea sa, Consiliul a decis prelungirea i
adaptarea mandatului Grupului su de lucru privind ajutoarele alimentare, denumit de la 1
ianuarie 2009 ca Grupul de lucru pentru ajutoare umanitare i ajutoare alimentare. Aceast
decizie important, care trebuie considerat ca fiind una dintre consecinele imediate ale
adoptrii Consensului, va stabili n cele din urm un forum corespunztor pentru dezbaterea
regulat privind politica n cadrul Consiliului.
C. Tratatul de la Lisabona
n final, dac Tratatul de la Lisabona intr n vigoare, acesta va prevedea o serie de nouti
n ceea ce privete ajutorul umanitar al UE, inclusiv, pentru prima oar, ajutorul umanitar ca
o politic de sine stttoare n Tratatul CE. n prezent ajutorul umanitar se bazeaz, prin
definiie, pe articolul 179 din Tratatul CE (politica de dezvoltare).
Dispoziiile Tratatului de la Lisabona ar confirma, n ansamblu, obiectivele actuale,
principiile i procedurile de baz (codecizia), i ar introduce politica umanitar a UE n
dispoziiile generale ale aciunii externe a UE. n plus, Tratatul prevede crearea unui Corp
voluntar european de ajutor umanitar care va reprezenta un cadru pentru contribuiile
comune din partea tinerilor europeni la operaiunile de ajutor umanitar ale Uniunii.
D. Sursele i destinaia fondurilor DG ECHO
1. Bugetul
DG ECHO are dou surse primare de finanare: bugetul general al CE i Fondul European
de Dezvoltare (FED), pentru a fi folosit pentru asistena umanitar excepional n rile
ACP (rile din Africa, Caraibe i Pacific). Comisia aplic aceleai principii i linii
directoare pentru ajutorul finanat de FED i ajutorul din bugetul general.
Pentru a putea rspunde n mod rapid la cererile specifice de ajutor rezultate n urma
evenimentelor care nu au putut fi prevzute n momentul stabilirii bugetului, DG ECHO
poate de asemenea apela la o rezerv pentru ajutorul de urgen. Pentru ca aceasta s fie
mobilizat, este necesar un acord trilateral ntre Comisie, Consiliu i Parlament. Anul 2007 a
fost excepional, ntruct nu a avut loc nicio criz sau catastrof major neateptat i, prin
urmare, DG ECHO nu a trebuit s recurg la Rezerva pentru ajutor de urgen a Comisiei.
Asemenea tuturor celorlalte departamente ale Comisiei, DG ECHO rspunde n faa
Parlamentului i a Consiliului, n special prin rapoartele anuale n care sunt detaliate
activitile acesteia. Administrarea bugetului acesteia este de asemenea supus auditrii
permanente din partea Curii de Conturi, care raporteaz Parlamentului i Consiliului. n
fiecare an, Parlamentul i Consiliul sunt invitate s i prezinte avizul cu privire la
descrcarea bugetelor anterioare.
Din 1992 pn la aceast dat, DG ECHO a prevzut peste 7 milioane EUR pentru ajutorul
umanitar n peste 85 de ri la nivel mondial. Bugetul DG ECHO a fost modest la nceput,
dar acesta a crescut rapid pn la un nivel similar asistenei prevzute bilateral de ctre
statele membre ale UE. n perioada 2000-2005, bugetul mediu anual al DG ECHO a fost de
543 milioane EUR (inclusiv Rezerva de urgen). n perioada 2007-2013, acest buget va
crete treptat, ajungndu-se la un buget anual de 875 milioane EUR n 2013, chiar dac o
mare parte a acestei creteri se datoreaz transferului liniei bugetare pentru ajutor alimentar
umanitar ctre DG ECHO ncepnd cu data de 1 ianuarie 2007 (anterior gestionat de
EuropeAid mpreun cu operaiunile de securitate alimentar). Alocaiile DG ECHO n 2007
au atins cota de aproape 769 milioane EUR.
2. Alocarea fondurilor
a. Intervenii n funcie de ar/regiune
n ceea ce privete distribuia geografic a interveniilor umanitare, cota relativ de
finanare pentru rile ACP a crescut permanent, cu excepia anului 2005 n care dou crize
mari din Asia au primit cea mai mare parte a finanrii: tsunamiul din Oceanul Indian i
cutremurul din Kashmir. n 2007, rile ACP au primit 422,7 milioane EUR (mai exact 55 %
din bugetul total final al DG ECHO), urmate de Asia (110 milioane EUR sau 14 % din
buget), Orientul Mijlociu i Africa de Nord (99 de milioane EUR sau 12,8 % din buget),
America Latin (32 milioane EUR sau 4 % din buget) i, n final, Europa de Est i noile
state independente, inclusiv Cecenia (25,8 milioane EUR sau 3,3 % din buget).
Cea mai mare finanare unic de fonduri n 2007 este alocat Sudanului, teritoriilor din
Palestina i Republicii Democratice Congo.
Strategia de ajutorare a DG ECHO se axeaz n continuare pe crizele uitate: situaii n
care donatorii i mass-media acord puin atenie nevoilor umanitare majore, reflectate prin
nivelul sczut al ajutorului primit n comparaie cu nevoile. Crizele uitate identificate n
2007 sunt: refugiaii din Sahrawi, Cecenia, Jammu i Camir (India), Nepal,
Birmania/Myanmar i Columbia. Cu excepia Columbiei, toate aceste crize fuseser deja
identificate ca fiind crize uitate n 2006. Suma fondurilor alocate pentru crizele uitate s-
a diminuat de-a lungul ultimilor ani: 89 milioane EUR n 2005 (de exemplu 18,7 % din
buget), 65 milioane EUR n 2006 (14 % din buget) i 60,7 milioane EUR n 2007 (13 % din
buget).
b. Pregtirea pentru aprarea mpotriva catastrofelor
Catastrofele naturale sunt aproape imposibil de prevenit. Totui, impactul negativ al acestora
poate fi deseori redus sau prevenit n mod substanial. n conformitate cu mandatul su, DG
ECHO promoveaz pregtirea pentru aprarea mpotriva catastrofelor prin coordonare,
sensibilizare i prin intermediul programului su specific de pregtire n caz de catastrofe:
Dipecho, care funcioneaz din 1998. Dipecho finaneaz proiectele comunitare care vizeaz
consolidarea prevenirii i a capacitilor de rspuns ale comunitilor vulnerabile,
evideniind formarea, consolidarea capacitii, sensibilizarea, elaborarea sau mbuntirea
sistemelor de alert rapid locale i planificarea n caz de urgen. n prezent, Dipecho
cuprinde ase regiuni expuse catastrofelor (America Central, America de Sud, Caraibe,
Asia Central, Asia de Sud i Asia de Sud-Est). De la nfiinare, Dipecho a finanat peste
400 de proiecte la nivel mondial, n valoare de peste 119 milioane EUR. n 2007, suma de
19,5 milioane EUR a fost alocat programului Dipecho (mai exact 2,5 % din bugetul total).
Mai mult, DG ECHO coopereaz n mod activ cu principalii ageni din domeniul cooperrii
pentru dezvoltare, pentru o mai bun integrare a reducerii riscului de catastrofe n activitile
de dezvoltare i pentru a asigura o legtur mai puternic cu eforturile legate de adaptarea la
schimbrile climatice n rile cu un grad ridicat de risc.
c. Finanare tematic
Angajamentul UE de a lucra strns cu instituiile internaionale pentru mbuntirea
capacitii de reacie umanitar la nivel mondial este demonstrat prin intermediul
programului tematic de finanare. n 2007 s-a alocat o sum total de 27,5 milioane EUR
pentru sprijinirea consolidrii capacitilor instituionale ale ageniilor ONU i a Micrii
Crucii Roii/Semilunii Roii.
ROLUL PARLAMENTULUI EUROPEAN
Prin avizele i rezoluiile sale, PE i-a exprimat ntotdeauna preocuparea cu privire la
ajutorul umanitar, exercitnd astfel o presiune considerabil pentru promovarea unei
mbuntiri constante i a unei dezvoltri a unei serii de instrumente. n mod specific, ideea
de nfiinare a DG ECHO a venit de la PE.
Ca instituie de adoptare a bugetului UE, PE a insistat n mod regulat asupra unei creteri a
creditelor pentru ajutorul umanitar, nu doar n general, ci i pentru regiunile sau rile
specifice, inclusiv asupra sporirii activitilor de pregtire pentru aprarea mpotriva
catastrofelor i a utilizrii fondurilor de urgen n cazul crizelor legate de preul alimentelor.
PE a trimis frecvent delegaii pentru studierea pe teren a situaiei populaiei locale pentru a
permite propuneri specifice pentru mbuntirea ajutorului.
Merit precizat faptul c PE adopt n mod regulat rezoluii privind situaiile din diferite
locuri cu probleme din toat lumea. De-a lungul ultimilor ani, PE s-a preocupat de crizele
umanitare din Regiunea Marilor Lacuri, Sudan, Somalia, teritoriile din Palestina,
Birmania/Myanmar, Etiopia i Eritreea, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Nepal, precum i din
Republica Popular Democrat Coreean, printre altele.
Pentru consolidarea poziiei sale n problemele de ajutor umanitar, PE a creat n 2006 postul
raportorului permanent pentru ajutor umanitar, al crui mandat prevede conservarea
intereselor bugetului pentru ajutor umanitar, monitorizarea implementrii programelor
umanitare ale Comunitii i pstrarea relaiilor strnse cu comunitatea umanitar.
Poziiile ferme adoptate de ctre PE n cadrul negocierilor din Consensul european privind
ajutorul umanitar au fost eseniale pentru dezvoltarea unor rezultate concrete, asemenea
angajamentului Consiliului de creare a unui forum corespunztor pentru discuii politice
privind ajutorul umanitar.

Humanitarian aid
Since 1960, the European Commission grants humanitarian assistance to people affected
by conflicts or disasters, both natural and man-made, in third countries. The large number
of such operations undertaken since the late 1980s has made it a key element of the
Communitys external action. Since 1992, EC humanitarian aid is managed by the
Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), which has adjusted itself over the
years to the growing and changing nature of humanitarian challenges. Today the European
Union i.e. the European Commission and the Member States, collectively is the
worlds leading humanitarian donor.
LEGAL BASIS
Article 179 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC).
OBJECTIVES
The regulatory framework of EC humanitarian operations is Council Regulation (EC) No
1257/96 of 20 June 1996. According to the regulation, the Communitys humanitarian aid shall
comprise of assistance, relief and protection operations, conducted on a non-discriminatory basis
to help people in third countries, and especially the most vulnerable among them. In particular,
the principal objectives of EC humanitarian aid operations shall be:
to save and preserve life during emergencies, natural disasters and their immediate aftermath;
to provide the necessary assistance and relief to people affected by long-lasting crises arising,
in particular, from outbreaks of fighting or wars;
to help finance the transport of aid and efforts to ensure that it is accessible to those for whom
it is intended for;
to carry out short-term rehabilitation and reconstruction work, especially on infrastructure and
equipment, with a view to facilitating the arrival of relief;
to cope with the consequences of population movements (refugees, displaced people and
returnees) caused by natural and man-made disasters;
to ensure preparedness for risks of natural disasters or comparable exceptional circumstances
and use a suitable rapid early warning and intervention system;
to support civil operations to protect the victims of fighting or comparable emergencies, in
accordance with current international agreements.
ACHIEVEMENTS
The Community has been involved in humanitarian aid operations since the end of the 1960s.
The significant amount of aid supplied since the late 1980s has made it a key element of the
Communitys international policy. The EU the European Commission and the Member States,
collectively has now become the worlds largest provider of humanitarian aid, contributing in
2006 with over EUR 2 billion (more than 40 % of official international assistance). Since 1992,
EC humanitarian aid is managed by the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).
A. Role of ECHO
ECHO was established with the aim of centralising the Commissions humanitarian aid
operations and thereby organising them more effectively. ECHO does not implement assistance
programmes itself; it funds operations through more than 200 partners (NGOs, UN agencies,
international organisations such as the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement).
ECHOs main task is to ensure that humanitarian goods and services get through these partners
to vulnerable populations in crisis zones effectively and rapidly, that they are delivered
according to real needs, and to ensure sound financial management.
The rapidity of aid delivery is facilitated by special provisions in the Financial Regulation and its
implementing rules, thus allowing the Commission to take emergency decisions on financing
relief. These decisions can inject up to EUR 3 million within 72 hours and up to EUR 10 million
within 10 days into humanitarian operations through fast-track budgeting procedures at the onset
of a humanitarian disaster. In addition, ECHOs partners (over 200 of them) have signed either a
framework partnership agreement (FPA) (for NGOs and international organisations) or a
financial and administrative framework agreement (FAFA) (for UN agencies). These ex
ante contractual arrangements have facilitated and expedited the allocation of resources,
promoting at the same time ECHOs partners accountability.
ECHO allocates financial assistance exclusively on the basis of humanitarian needs assessments,
in full respect of the basic humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and
independence. For this purpose ECHO has developed its own methodology based on a double
approach: analytical ranking of third countries according the their overall vulnerability, matched
with the evaluation in the field by ECHOs experts, who are also instrumental in the rapid
identification of suitable partners and projects to meet the needs.
The implementation of humanitarian operations is then followed up by ECHOs on-the-spot
monitoring of its partners and projects in order to ensure a sound financial management and that
the allocated resources have been used for their intended purpose. ECHOs evaluation unit, set
up in 1996, has helped to strengthen the monitoring and effectiveness of the EC humanitarian
operations.
ECHOs assistance also aims at facilitating, together with other aid instruments, the return of
populations to self-sufficiency wherever and whenever possible, and to permit the phasing out of
humanitarian funding in good conditions. In that perspective, ECHO is actively engaged in
implementing a linkage strategy between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD).
Beyond its core task of funding humanitarian interventions, ECHO deals with related issues
aimed at supporting the delivery and quality of humanitarian aid. ECHO:
pursues its active relationship with other institutions, Member States and international
organisations to enhance humanitarian policy;
promotes the respect for international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles and the
defence of the humanitarian space;
has developed a security and safety policy for ECHOs staff involved in the delivery of
humanitarian aid;
cooperates with training programmes, such as the network on humanitarian assistance
(NOHA), and gives its partners technical assistance;
raises public awareness about humanitarian issues in Europe and elsewhere.
To fulfil its various tasks, ECHO has grown over the years and it currently has 200 officials
working at its Brussels headquarters, plus 100 field experts and 250 local staff working in its
approximately 40 support offices in third countries.
B. General policy framework: the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
Over recent decades, the magnitude, strength and number of natural and man-made disasters
have increased and become more complex and protracted in time. The number of people affected
has also increased and the poorest people have been affected disproportionately. The
international context in which humanitarian aid takes place has become increasingly challenging,
with new State and non-State actors on the scene, blatant violations of the international
humanitarian law, and the security of humanitarian workers often put at risk.
In this context, the three EU institutions (the European Parliament, Council and Commission)
signed in December 2007 a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, after six-months of
negotiations. The consensus is a collective effort by the European Union (including its Member
States) to shape the future of the EUs humanitarian aid, tackling the new challenges and
responding, for the first time, with a single, more effective voice. It represents a significant
landmark for EU humanitarian aid.
The consensus reconfirms the EU commitment to humanitarian principles, international
humanitarian law and the need for enhanced coordination at EU level, while respecting the
central coordinating role of the United Nations. It also emphasises the need for more resources
and that the aid should be delivered by dedicated professionals. It also clearly delimits the role of
State actors and, in particular, their armed forces, which should be used only as a last resort in
meeting critical humanitarian needs.
The consensus was followed in 2008 by an action plan presented by the Commission, including
concrete and measurable actions in each of the areas, which was welcomed by both the Council
and the European Parliament. From its side, the Council decided to extend and adapt the mandate
of its Working Parting on Food Aid, to be referred as from 1 January 2009 as the Working Party
on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid. This important decision, which should be seen as one of the
immediate consequences of the adoption of the consensus, will at last establish an appropriate
forum for regular policy debate in the Council.
C. Treaty of Lisbon
Should the Lisbon Treaty finally enter into force, it would entail a number of novelties for EU
humanitarian aid, including humanitarian aid as a policy in its own right in the EC Treaty.
Currently humanitarian aid is based, by default, on Article 179 of the EC Treaty (development
policy).
The provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon would confirm, on the whole, current objectives, basic
principles and procedures (co-decision), and would insert EU humanitarian policy under the
overall provisions of EU external action. In addition, the Treaty provides for the creation of
a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps a framework for joint contributions from
young Europeans to the humanitarian aid operations of the Union.
D. Sources and destination of ECHO funds
1. The budget
ECHO has two primary sources of funds: the general budget of the European Union and the
European Development Fund (EDF), to be used for exceptional humanitarian assistance to ACP
countries (countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific). The Commission applies the same
principles and guidelines for aid financed from the EDF and aid from the general budget.
In order to be able to respond rapidly to specific aid requirements resulting from events which
could not have been foreseen when the budget was established, ECHO may also call on an
Emergency Aid Reserve. For this to be mobilised, there needs to be trilateral agreement between
the Commission, the Council and the Parliament. The year 2007 was exceptional in that no major
unexpected crises or disasters occurred and, subsequently, ECHO did not have to draw on the
Commissions Emergency Aid Reserve.
ECHO, like all other Commission departments, is accountable to the Parliament and the Council,
notably through annual reports detailing its activities. Its budget management is also subject to
ongoing auditing by the Court of Auditors, which reports to Parliament and the Council. Every
year, Parliament and the Council are invited to give their opinion on the discharge of past
budgets.
Since 1992 to date, ECHO has provided over EUR 7 billion of humanitarian aid in more than 85
countries worldwide. ECHOs budget was modest at the outset, but it rose rapidly to reach a
level similar to the assistance provided bilaterally by the EU Member States. Between 2000 and
2005, ECHOs average annual budget was EUR 543 million (including the Emergency Aid
Reserve). For the period 200713, this budget will gradually increase to an annual budget of
EUR 875 million in 2013, though a large part of this increase is due to the transfer of the
humanitarian food aid budget line to ECHO as of 1 January 2007 (previously managed by
EuropeAid together with food security operations). ECHOs allocations in 2007 amounted to
almost EUR 769 million.
2. Allocation of funds
a. Country/region interventions
In terms of geographical distribution of humanitarian interventions, the relative share of the
funding to ACP countries has continuously increased, apart from 2005, when two big crises in
Asia received most of the funding: the Indian Ocean tsunami and the earthquake in Kashmir. In
2007 ACP countries received EUR 422.7 million (i.e. 55 % of the total final ECHO budget),
followed by Asia (EUR 110 million or 14 % of the budget), the Middle East and North Africa
(EUR 99 million or 12.8 % of the budget), Latin America (EUR 32 million or 4 % of the budget)
and, finally, eastern Europe and the new independent States (NIS) including Chechnya
(EUR 25.8 million or 3.3 % of the budget).
The largest single funding allocations in 2007 were devoted to Sudan, the Palestinian territories
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
ECHOs aid strategy remains continuously focused on forgotten crises: situations where major
humanitarian needs receive little attention on the part of the donors reflected by the low level
of aid received compared to the needs and the media. The forgotten crises identified in 2007
were: Sahrawi refugees, Chechnya, Jammu and Kashmir (India), Nepal, Burma/Myanmar and
Colombia. Apart from Colombia, all these crises were already identified as forgotten crises in
2006. The amount of funds allocated to forgotten crises has been decreasing over the recent
years: EUR 89 million in 2005 (18.7 % of the budget), EUR 65 million in 2006 (14 % of the
budget) and EUR 60.7 million in 2007 (13 % of the budget).
b. Disaster preparedness
Natural disasters are mostly impossible to avert. However, their negative impact can often be
substantially reduced or prevented. In line with its mandate, ECHO promotes disaster
preparedness through coordination, advocacy and Dipecho, its specific programme on disaster
preparedness, which has been operational since 1998. Dipecho finances community-based
projects aimed at enhancing the prevention and response capacities of vulnerable communities,
emphasising training, capacity building, awareness raising, the establishment or improvement of
local early warning systems and contingency planning. Dipecho now covers six disaster-prone
regions (Central America, South America, the Caribbean, central Asia, south Asia and south-east
Asia). Since its creation, Dipecho has financed more than 400 projects worldwide, worth over
EUR 119 million. In 2007 an amount of EUR 19.5 million was allocated to the Dipecho
programme (2.5 % of the total budget).
Furthermore, ECHO actively cooperates with the main development cooperation actors, aiming
to better integrate disaster risk reduction into development activities and ensure a stronger
linkage with efforts relating to climate change adaptation in high-level risk countries.
c. Thematic funding
The EU commitment to working closely with international institutions in improving global
humanitarian response capacity is demonstrated through ECHOs thematic funding programme.
In 2007, a total of EUR 27.5 million was allocated to supporting the reinforcement of
institutional capacities of UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement.
ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Through its opinions and resolutions, the European Parliament (EP) has always expressed its
concern with regard to humanitarian aid, thus bringing considerable pressure to bear for a
constant improvement to, and development of, a range of instruments. In particular, the idea of
creating ECHO originated in the EP.
As the institution for adopting the EU budget, the EP has insisted regularly on an increase in the
appropriations for humanitarian aid, not only in general but also for specific regions or countries,
including the increase of disaster preparedness activities and the use of emergency funds to deal
with the food price crisis. The EP has also frequently sent delegations to study the situation of
local populations on the ground, to enable it to make specific proposals to improve aid.
It is worth noting that the EP regularly adopts resolutions on the situations in various troubled
spots around the globe. Over the past few years the EP has concerned itself with the
humanitarian crises in the Great Lakes Region, Sudan, Somalia, the Palestinian territories,
Burma/Myanmar, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Niger, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Nepal and the Democratic the
Peoples Republic of Korea, among others.
In order to enhance its position on humanitarian aid issues, the EP created in 2006 the post of
Standing Rapporteur for Humanitarian Aid, whose mandate includes preserving humanitarian aid
budget interests, monitoring the implementation of Communitys humanitarian programmes and
keeping close contacts with the humanitarian community.
The firm positions taken by the EP during the negotiations of the European Consensus on
Humanitarian Aid were instrumental in order to achieve some tangible results, such as the
commitment by the Council to create an appropriate forum for humanitarian aid policy
discussions.

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