DG ECHO: Annual Report 2005
This report outlines the principal activities of the EC's General Directorate for Humanitarian Aid (DG ECHO) in 2005. The year was marked by the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, the earthquake in Pakistan and the worsening of the humanitarian situation in certain existing crises, notably in Darfur. It also stimulated a reflection on reforming the international humanitarian aid system.
Report from the Commission of 4 August 2006 - Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO): Annual Report 2005 [COM(2006) 441 final - Not yet published in the Official Journal].
In 2005, DG ECHO allocated a total of 652.5 million,. of which, 629.33 million was financed from the Commission's budget and the rest was drawn from the European Development Fund (EDF). African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States were the biggest recipients of aid, followed closely by Asia.
The most important actions in the ACP countries took place in Sudan (Darfur crisis), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Coastal West Africa (Guinea, Liberia and Ivory Coast), Niger and Mali. In Latin America, ECHO's activity focused on the populations affected by the violence in Colombia. In the Mediterranean and the Middle East, ECHO continued to provide financial assistance to the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and to Sahrawi refugees in Algeria. In Asia, most aid went to the countries hit by the tsunami in December 2004 (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives and Thailand) and to Pakistan and India, which were struck by a devastating earthquake in October 2005.
ECHO continued to pay particular attention to forgotten crises *, notably in Algeria (Western Sahara), Indonesia, Myanmar/Thailand, Nepal, the Northern Caucasus (Chechnya), Tajikistan, Somalia and Uganda. It also strove, wherever possible, for an exit from humanitarian aid and a transition towards development activities, notably in Angola, Tajikistan and Cambodia.
With regard to disaster preparedness activities, action plans were adopted in the context of the DIPECHO programme for the Andean Community, Central Asia, South Asia and the Caribbean, regions chosen because of their high risk of natural disasters, the high vulnerability of their populations, and their lack of local resources and coping capacities.
To implement its operations, ECHO relied on some 200 partners in the field, most of them NGOs (54%), UN agencies (32%) and other international organisations (11%).
Relations with other actors
During 2005 ECHO provided input to the discussions on reforming the international humanitarian aid system that were launched in the wake of the experience of crises like the tsunami and the earthquake in Pakistan. In this context, the United Nations endorsed a reform programme aimed at improving the predictability, timeliness and effectiveness of the humanitarian response, strengthening coordination and ensuring predictable funding.
DG ECHO continued to follow the work of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative - GDH, among other things by participating in the meeting held to take stock of the progress made in the two years since the adoption of the initiative in 2003.
ECHO also continued to support the institutional capacities of the main international humanitarian agencies through thematic funding programmes, e.g. WHO's capacity to respond to health emergencies.
In order to boost its disaster response capacity, ECHO increased the number of experts in the field in 2005 and reinforced its Regional Support Offices. It also helped shape EC communications in this sector.
During the course of the year ECHO continued to develop policy guidelines on children affected by humanitarian crises and on water and sanitation in emergency situations. It also looked into ways to help NGOs ensure the safety of their field staff, through a follow-up security review to that completed in 2004.
Regarding its communication strategy, ECHO continued to use the mass media to inform wide audiences about its mission and activities, and also launched a pilot awareness-raising campaign in the Czech Republic.
Finally, ECHO conducted 142 financial audits at the headquarters of humanitarian organisations and 24 operational audits in the field or in their offices. It also conducted evaluations of its own operations, in the framework of its partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
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