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Great ambitions for humanitarian aid

Great ambitions for humanitarian aid
EU aid arriving in Mozambique after the Favio cyclone in February 2007


EU seeks to boost response to humanitarian crises through clear principles and values.

As the world's largest aid donor, the EU commission adopted a Communication in June to speak up for humanitarian causes, condemning violations of international law and attacks against aid workers and outlining the main principles and values underpinning the EU’s commitment to humanitarian aid.

These principles and values have been distilled from a year-long consultation among humanitarian bodies (NGOs, UN agencies and specialised organisations). The consultation raised key issues that affect aid workers’ efficiency in delivering aid: neutrality, impartiality, respect for humanitarian law, and the principles of humanitarian aid.

The next step will be a joint declaration voicing an EU consensus on principles and best practices for humanitarian action. The intention is to make our aid effort as efficient as possible and strive towards a more coherent approach, where all those involved – especially, the EU, member countries and implementing partners – can cooperate rapidly and consistently.

“People desperately need our help in Darfur, the Middle East, Sri Lanka and many other trouble spots. The impact of our response will be strengthened if we work closely together at EU level to ensure proper access to crisis zones,” said development commissioner Louis Michel.

A recent survey reveals that nine out of ten Europeans are in favour of European humanitarian involvement. Half the respondents believe aid is more efficient when provided through the EU.

The EU's humanitarian aid office (ECHO) is the world’s main provider of humanitarian aid, serving some 18m people a year, in over 60 countries through 200 partners (NGOs and UN agencies). It spends over €700m every year.

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Humanitarian aid and the European Union (brochure)

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