Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

The Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations ( ECHO ), formerly known as the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office , is the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection . It aims to save and preserve life, to prevent and alleviate human suffering and to preserve the dignity and dignity of people affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. [1]

In 2013 it provided € 1.35 billion for emergency relief. [2] The European Union has been the second largest donor of humanitarian aid since 2000. Together with its Member States, it is the world’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid, providing over 50% of the total humanitarian aid in 2009. [3] ECHO -funded projects affect over 120 million people in 90 countries annually.

For its humanitarian interventions, ECHO does not implement programs assistance itself; A number of partners ( NGOs , UN agencies, and international organizations such as the Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement). [4]In 2013, ECHO had 44 field offices in 39 countries, with 149 international humanitarian experts and 315 national staff members. The field offices provide up-to-date analysis of existing and forecasted needs in a given country or region, provide support to ECHO-funded operations, and ensure adequate monitoring of these interventions and facilitates donor’s coordination at field level. [5]

In addition to providing funding for humanitarian aid, ECHO is also in charge of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Established in 2001, the Mechanism fosters cooperation among national civil protection authorities across Europe. Currently 31 countries are members of the Mechanism; all 28 EU Member States in Iceland , Norway , and the Republic of Macedonia. The Mechanism has been set up to become a partner in the United States of America.

After the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, the Barroso Commission accepted the prize money on behalf of the United States and allocated it to a new initiative called Children of Peace. Approximately € 2 million was set aside for the Children of Peace projects in 2013. It was increased to € 4 million in 2014. [6]


The European Community Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) was established in 1992 by the Second Delors Commission . Funding from the office affects over 120 million people in 90 countries annually. It spends € 800 million on its initial budget on humanitarian projects through its 200 partners (such as Red Cross , Relief NGOs and UN agencies). [7] It is a key focus is to make it more effective and humanitarian. [8] With the European Community being abolished in 2009, the office is known to the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department of the European Commission or European Union, but kept its ECHO abbreviation.

A special Eurobarometer survey on humanitarian aid conducted in 2010 reveals the high sense of solidarity among European citizens towards victims of conflict and natural disasters outside their borders, with eight out of 10 citizens thinking that it is important that borders “. HOWEVER, Fewer than two out of 10 European citoyens spontaneously name the EU , the European Commission and / or ECHO as an actor humanitarian aid funding. [9]

Mandate and Principles

ECHO’s mandate is to provide emergency assistance and relief (in the form of goods and services) to victims of conflict and natural or man-made disasters outside the EU. Its mandate also extends to disaster prevention and post-crisis operations.

The international humanitarian law is based on the principles of international humanitarian law and the principle of impartiality, non-discrimination and neutrality. ECHO’s humanitarian action is based on international law and the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence.Its implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL). [10]

Humanity means that it is most likely to be vulnerable; neutrality means that it should not be used in any other way; impartiality means that humanitarian aid must be provided on the basis of need, without discrimination; and independence means the autonomy of humanitarian objectives from political, economic, military or other objectives.

In 2007, at the initiative of Commissioner Louis Michel , the European Commission adopted a “European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid” to constitute the first European political text of reference on humanitarian aid. [11] The most inclusive text and the nearest common position to NGOs. [12] The European Consensus reaffirms the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality and independence. It also stipulates “humanitarian aid is not a management tool for crisis management”.

Although the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid is a positive signal, [13] some of the issues that have emerged from the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid should be enhanced. Amongst others, several NGOs called on the European Union to use its political influence to support humanitarian aid based on the principles of neutrality and impartiality and not on security agendas. [14] In 2012 ECHO developed the first revision of the Consensus since its establishment, highlighting a need for stronger partnerships through quality selection of partners and enhanced accountability towards citizens and stakeholders. [15]

The EU-funded, Partnership for Peace, aims to “strengthen the capacity for conflict and empower marginalization of Israelis and Arabs by increasing regional cooperation.” [16] In response to this, the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations ‘ Network, body Representing 135 NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip , Condemned the demand for cooperation entre Palestinian NGOs and Israeli NGOs, Saying it was “an attempt to Involve In the United States, it is normal to have normalization with the occupation and its institutions, giving the impression that normal relations exist between the occupation and the people living under occupation. ” [17]

In 2012, ECHO and other donors worked with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) to create the Transformative Agenda. Principles of humanitarian leadership, accountability and coordination. In addition, civil protection has been adopted as a part of ECHO’s mandate to ensure better cooperation and protection against disaster among third countries and international organizations.


Since the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union is one of the most important countries in the world. [18] Humanitarian aid is a shared parallel competency: this means that the EU conducts an autonomous policy, which neither prevents the Member States from exercising their competences nor makes the EU’s policy merely “complementary” to those of the Member States. [19]

Until then, article 179 of the EC Treaty (development policy). It used to be the Commissioner for Development’s portfolio, first Louis Michel and then Karel De Gucht during the first Barroso Commission. The Lisbon Treaty introduced, for the first time, in the EC Treaty. Since 1 November 2014, a dedicated Commissioner, Christos Stylianides .

As defined in Article 214 of the TFEU, the EU’s operations in the field of humanitarian aid are intended to provide ad hoc assistance and relief for people in third countries. Article 214 TFEU also reiterates the principles of humanitarian aid, which is respect for international law and the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence. [20]

The Lisbon Treaty also introduces the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, which enables Europeans to become involved in humanitarian action. EVHAC is now also called EU Aid Volunteers. [21]

EU Aid Volunteers

The European Commission set out an initiative to create more than 18,000 positions for EU citizens to volunteer worldwide in humanitarian situations between 2014-2020. The initiative trains volunteers in a European training program before deployment with certified humanitarian organizations. [22] Financial support, focusing on building resilience and civil protection capacity, was agreed for 150 participants in 2012.

The European Parliament (EP) voted in favor of the initiative in February 2014. Volunteer positions include deployment to EU-funded humanitarian operations around the world, working on humanitarian organizations inside the EU, or assisting operations online from home. [23]

NGOs taking part in the process of certification.


The European Union co-funds psychosocial support by the IAHV, Jordan at the Zaatari refugee camp for the Syrian refugees .

In 2013, ECHO’s budget budget is less than one percent of the EU budget. In addition, the European Commission uses their emergency assistance to respond to crises and unexpected disasters. The budget with reserve funds totaled € 1.35 trillion in 2013. As for humanitarian aid, ECHO provided humanitarian assistance to about 124 million people in 90 non-EU countries, of which 39 were designated as being in a situation of crisis. As for civil protection, the civil protection mechanism was activated 36 times in 2013 for crises inside and outside the EU.

The largest share of funding is for food and nutrition (40%). Shelter (19%), Health and medical sector (13%), Water and Sanitation (13%) and Protection (7%) are the other main areas of activities. ECHO allocated 3% of the 2013 budget to Disaster preparedness, decreased from 2012. Civil Protection represented 2% of the budget.

In 2013, 40% of the budget went to Africa and 18% to Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific, and 32% to the Middle East and Mediterranean. [24]

Some charities have claimed debt relief, foreign students and refugees. Under the de-inflated figures, the Union did not reach its target audience in 2006. [25]

The target for 2015 is 0.7%. [26] In 2010, Netherlands (0.81%), Denmark (0.9%), Sweden (0.97%), Luxembourg (1.09%) and Norway (1.1%) were the only countries in the world that had the ODA target of 0.7 of GNI. [27] There are no new reports available to evaluate after 2010.

However, development is an important step in 2010. Together with the individual, the EU is the largest donor in the world. [28] Of the € 9.8 billion of humanitarian aid provided worldwide in 2010, some 41% was delivered by the EU. [29]

The adopted budget for 2014 has nearly $ 1 billion in humanitarian assistance and civil protection. [30]


The European Commission has a mandate to save and preserve life in emergency and immediate post-emergency situations, if these are natural or man-made. The following is a guideline for the implementation of the following principles:

In 2013, ECHO focused its humanitarian aid in nearly 90 countries. It is estimated that the United Nations is the largest region in Africa, with more than € 82 million, Sudan and South Sudan (€ 80 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo (€ 54 million), Pakistan (€ 42 million) and Somalia (€ 40 million). 40% of the European Commission Humanitarian Assistance went to Sub-Saharan Africa. [31]

The reserve budget was used in Syria, Mali, the Sahel, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, and the Philippines. ECHO also funds forgotten crises, such as in Bangladesh, Colombia, Yemen, Algeria, Pakistan, and Myanmar.


The former commissioner for aid , Louis Michel , [28]

The appointment of a new commissioner with a portfolio for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis Response to the Articles 214 and 196 of the Treaty of Lisbon. ECHO’s official name has been changed to Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection. The transformation of ECHO and the movement of the Civil Protection Unit from DG Environment to DG ECHO is a step forward for better cooperation and decision making in a field where rapid reaction is lifesaving.

Clare Short , former British International Development Secretary, said the European Commission has ‘the worst development agency in the world’ and branded its operations ‘an outrage and a disgrace’. [32] Since 2012, the Commission has developed an action plan and guidelines on resilience and linking between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD). [33]

The Commission passed the new legislation in 2013 on the Civil Protection Mechanism which provides better coordination and support to improve the effectiveness of prevention, preparedness and response systems during disasters. The legislation establishes a voluntary pool of pre-committed responses and materials, a training network for first responders, and a new approach for disaster risk management from 31 participating states. [34]

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism also established the opening of the new Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC), a civil protection hub for monitoring disasters and enhanced preparedness and resilience of disaster-prone countries. The most recent use of the Civil Protection mechanism in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. [35]

European Parliament Report

The Committee on Development (CD) of the EP commissioned by the Overseas Development Institute to undertake a project on the effectiveness of international development assistance from the European Commission in 2010. [36] The project focused on the cases of Cambodia, Mozambique and Peru. The findings and policy suggests can be summarized as follows: [36]

  1. Harmonization and alignment (H & A) is important for the future and is needed in the future.
  2. Donor harmonization efforts need to be scaled up to include agreements on joint technical assistance and the streamlining of systems and procedures
  3. Extremely fragmented aid systems imposes unreasonably high transaction costs on the government, and provides valuable resources and fundamentally weakens state capacity.
  4. EC procedures and structures remain highly complicated and bureaucratic.
  5. Much of the success or failure of cooperation depends on individual interactions, specific innovators and appropriate staffing levels to carry out the tasks at hand, but the costs are also quite high.
  6. Country Strategy Papers could improve their effectiveness – but their quality is uneven.
  7. Relationships between HQ and delegations needs to be improved.

See also

  • Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN)
  • Emergency management


  1. Jump up^ “About European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – European Commission” . European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations . Retrieved 2017-10-20 .
  2. Jump up^ ECHO Humanitarian Aid Factsheet 2013
  3. Jump up^ Global Humanitarian Assistance website
  4. Jump up^ European Parliament Factsheet on the European Union:Humanitarian Aid
  5. Jump up^ ECHO Field Network. ECHO, retrieved 29-07-14.
  6. Jump up^ EU dedicates its Nobel Peace Prize to Education projects for Children in Conflict. Retrieved 27-06-14.
  7. Jump up^ ECHO Annual Report 2012
  8. Jump up^ “Humanitarian aid and the European Union” . Europa (web portal) . Retrieved 2007-09-23 .
  9. Jump up^ Eurobarometer survey on humanitarian aid: Europeans care – and endorse the Commission ‘s mandate,European Commission. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2012-01-13
  10. Jump up^ Summaries of the EU legislation
  11. Jump up^ Report on the implementation of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid,European Parliament, Retrieved 2012-01-16
  12. Jump up^ Pierre Salignon,”Humanitarian Europe in question (s)”, Humanitarian, 19 | Summer 2008. 2009-10-23. Retrieved on 2012-01-16
  13. Jump up^ Statementof Angelo Gnaedinger, Director-General ofICRCto theEuropean Parliament. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2012-01-16
  14. Jump up^ Action on humanitarian aid speaks louder than words, Howard Mollett and Annie Street,European Voice. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2012-01-16
  15. Jump up^ ECHO,Annual Report on the Implementation of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid – 2012
  16. Jump up^ Middle East Peace Projects (Partnership for Peace)
  17. Jump up^ How do you make contact with Israel, Palestinian NGOs protest to EU
  18. Jump up^ Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, Official Journal of the European Union, 2010-03-30
  19. Jump up^ Treaty of Lisbon: questions and answers
  20. Jump up^ European Parliament Factsheet on the European Union:Humanitarian aid
  21. Jump up^ European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, Official Journal of the European Union, 2014-02-22, retrieved September 27, 2016
  22. Jump up^ EU Aid Volunteers
  23. Jump up^ New EU aid volunteers to make a concrete, positive difference, Richard Jones, Devex, 2014-02-26
  24. Jump up^ ECHO,ECHO 2013 Annual Report. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
  25. Jump up^ Taylor, Jerome (2007-05-11). “EU accused of artificially inflating its aid figures” . The Independent . Archived from the original on 2007-08-12 . Retrieved 2007-08-13 .
  26. Jump up^ EU misses its aid target for 2010, Liz Ford,The Guardian. 2011-04-06. Retrieved 2012-01-16
  27. Jump up^ [1]. See also theUN Millennium Project
  28. ^ Jump up to:b “Commission calls for a European consensus to boost impact of humanitarian aid” . European Commission . 2007-06-13 . Retrieved 2007-08-13 .
  29. Jump up^ ECHOECHO’s ArchivedFinances2013-07-18 at theWayback Machine.
  30. Jump up^ ECHO,Humanitarian aid and civil protection – 2014 Adopted budget
  31. Jump up^ Where the European Commission’s humanitarian aid will go in 2013, 10-01-2013. Retrieved 27-06-2014.
  32. Jump up^ How is your money squandered on foreign aid
  33. Jump up^ European Commission, 2012,Annual Report on the European Union’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Policies and their Implementation in 2012. Retrieved 27-06-14.
  34. Jump up^ Trend,Eastern Partnership countries to gather for civil protection meeting, 10-06-14. Retrieved 27-06-14.
  35. Jump up^ [EU Civil Protection] Retrieved 23-07-2014.
  36. ^ Jump up to:b Alina Rocha Menocal (2010) How effective is European Commission aid on the ground? Overseas Development Institute

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