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DG ECHO: Annual Report 2006

This report outlines the principal activities of the EC's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (DG ECHO) in 2006. The year was marked by the crisis in Lebanon, the earthquake in Indonesia, drought in many African states and Afghanistan, and a worsening of the humanitarian situation in certain existing crises.

ACT

Report from the Commission of 29 September 2006 - Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (DG ECHO): Annual Report 2006 [COM(2006) 555 final - Not yet published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

Main interventions

In 2006 DG ECHO allocated a total budget of 671 million, the main recipients being African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, followed by Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the New Independent States.

The most important actions in the ACP countries took place in Sudan (worsening of the Darfur crisis), Northern Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia. In the Mediterranean and the Middle East, DG ECHO provided assistance to victims of the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon and continued to help Palestinian refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon as well as the most vulnerable populations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In Asia, DG ECHO's activity focused primarily on the Thai-Burma border (Burmese refugees) and on providing assistance to Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran. In Latin America, DG ECHO again provided assistance to populations affected by the violence in Colombia.

As always, DG ECHO continued to pay particular attention to forgotten crises *, using a method of analysis based on both quantitative and qualitative factors. The forgotten crises identified in 2006 were Algeria (Western Sahara), Myanmar, Nepal, Chechnya and India (Kashmir).

With regard to disaster preparedness activities, DG ECHO reinforced its institutional resources to facilitate mainstreaming disaster preparedness in humanitarian relief and rehabilitation programmes. It also allocated 10 million for pastoralist populations in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda), to help them prepare for drought.

DG ECHO also continued to support programmes to reinforce the institutional capacities of the main international humanitarian agencies, e.g. the refugee registration programme operated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

To implement its operations, DG ECHO relied on some 200 partners in the field, most of them NGOs (54%), UN agencies (32%) and other international organisations (11%).

Financial Perspectives 2000-2006 - Financial Perspectives for 2007-2013

The report found that over the period 2000-2006:

  • the humanitarian aid budget was kept a quite stable and minimal amount, which meant that DG ECHO had to seek reinforcement every year, mainly through use of the Emergency Aid Reserve;
  • the funds allocated to the different regions varied sharply from year to year, reflecting the short-term orientation of DG ECHO's interventions;
  • the relative share of funds allocated to the ACP States increased over the period, and by 2006 accounted for nearly half the DG's total budget, the sole exception being in 2005, when Asia received the lion's share of funding, on account of the tsunami and the earthquake in Kashmir.

For the period 2007-2013, the integration of food aid and aid to uprooted people will enable DG ECHO to manage all humanitarian activities through a single instrument. In the context of linkage between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD), this will facilitate the transition from food aid to food security.

Other activities

The report underlines the significant change in the international humanitarian situation. On the one hand, the extent and number of natural disasters have increased, and conflicts last longer and are more destructive. On the other hand, there are new actors on the humanitarian aid stage, including non-traditional donors (companies and States) and the civil protection services and armed forces of the Member States. In this context, the EC launched a consultation between its partners and the Member States to strengthen the effectiveness and coordination of EU policies in the field of humanitarian aid. The results of this process fed into a Communication defining a European Consensus on the principles and best practice of humanitarian action.

In 2006 DG ECHO refined its methodology for assessing global humanitarian needs, splitting the GNA into vulnerability and crisis indicators for the 140 developing countries considered, on the basis of factors such as human development, malnutrition and natural disaster risk.

As regards its strategy for reinforcing the EU's response capacity in the event of disasters and crises in third countries, DG ECHO increased the number of experts in the field and further improved its operational and contractual procedures.

DG ECHO also continued to pursue its communication and information strategy and to develop its security and safety policy for staff engaged in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Key terms used in the act
  • Forgotten crises: Crises that receive little or no media attention and whose victims receive relatively little or no international assistance.
Key figures given in the act
  • Total aid allocated in 2006: 671 million.
  • Main aid recipients: ACP countries (322 million / 48%), Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the New Independent States (177.9 million / 27%), Latin America and Asia (105.5 million / 16%).
Last updated: 02.11.2007
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