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