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IP/10/1681

Brussels, 8 December 2010

The Commission reviews EU's humanitarian aid strategy, and acts to improve it

Today the European Commission adopted the mid-term review that looks at the implementation of one of the European Union's landmark policy statements – the 2007 Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, which sets out the EU's common vision, approach and driving principles in humanitarian action. Achievements to date are analysed, and further efforts are outlined, with the goal that the EU remains a world leader in the provision of effective humanitarian aid.

"The quality of our humanitarian assistance is of utmost importance, and this is one of the EU policies that directly save and transform lives – about 140 million of them every year," said Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "Today we take stock of how we have done so far, and we look candidly at what we could do better. Despite the economic hardship at home, European citizens continue to overwhelmingly support EU humanitarian action around the world, so we owe them to stretch to the fullest every single Euro we spend," Commissioner Georgieva explained.

Humanitarian actors are confronted with the need to respond to crises of rising frequency and magnitude, exacerbated by natural disasters and recurring violence. As the world's largest donor of humanitarian aid, the EU strives to respond to these growing needs in the best possible way. In order to achieve this goal the Consensus codifies the principles that drive EU's action, while its accompanying action plan specifies a set of practical measures.

The review finds that over the past three years, the EU has progressed substantially in implementing these documents. The EU has acted decisively and swiftly to alleviate deteriorating humanitarian situations and to respond to major disasters. It has also managed to mitigate the human costs of prolonged humanitarian crises.

However, there is scope for improvement. Better coordination of EU efforts is both possible and desirable, most notably between Member States and the Commission. A recent example of action in this regard is the Commission's proposal to reinforce the disaster response capacity of the EU.

Further steps are also needed to ensure the long-term commitment of aid donors. Aid budgets are under increasing pressure across the EU; this creates a double challenge – first, to ensure the efficient use of limited resources, and second, to secure adequate funding for growing humanitarian needs. Finally, the mid-term review identifies the need for additional efforts to protect humanitarian space and to ensure that humanitarian actors can access people in need in a safe and efficient manner.

The Commission proposes a number of measures and priorities for the coming years, including more targeted efforts to ensure the transition from relief to long-term development aid. The update of EU's ambitions will allow the European Commission and Member States-the world's largest humanitarian aid donor- to keep their promise of solidarity, and to fulfil their responsibility to those in need.

For further information:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm


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