The European Commission has today adopted its humanitarian aid budget for 2016. With nearly €1.1 billion as an initial allocation, it is the highest EU humanitarian budget for life-saving relief in man-made and natural disasters to date. The record budget comes as global humanitarian needs are increasing due to the growing number of refugees and displaced persons as a result of armed conflict, the increasing impact of natural disasters, climate change and the economic crisis. The delivery of aid and access to beneficiaries has also become more dangerous.
"Next year we'll have a record budget due to tragically high levels of needs. The EU will continue to play its role to address the needs of the most vulnerable and can be proud to remain among the leading global donors of humanitarian assistance in 2016. At the same, I call on other donors to step up their commitments. From the refugee crisis to the impact of natural disasters, a stronger global response is needed." said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
The 2016 humanitarian budget will address the external dimension of the refugee crisis in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, the Western Balkans and Iraq. It will also assist people affected by other conflicts, such as in South Sudan and Ukraine, and it will address the needs of communities affected by complex and recurring crises in the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin.
The funding will also help vulnerable people caught up in many of the world's 'forgotten crises', such as to displaced people in Colombia, Myanmar and Afghanistan, which otherwise escape the attention of the international community.
As a particular priority, the European Commission is set to increase in 2016 its humanitarian funding for education in emergencies from 1% to 4% of the EU's overall humanitarian budget, meeting the UN set target.
Other priorities include helping vulnerable communities prepare for and better cope with recurrent natural disasters, such as those of South East Asia, as well as to improve aid delivery.
In keeping with guidance of the European Council of 23 September 2015, the budget includes a further €300 million to address the essential needs of people affected by crisis in Syria and Iraq. Together with €200 million already contracted in 2015, the Commission will thereby have delivered on its commitment to provide an extra €500 million over 2015-16 to help meet the humanitarian needs of the refugee crisis.
Given the unpredictable nature of disasters, €189 million will remain in reserve in 2016 to respond to sudden catastrophes such as earthquakes and flooding or for allocation to ongoing crises during the course of the year, based on needs assessments.
EU humanitarian aid is impartial and independent, and is entirely based on needs, delivered in accordance with humanitarian principles.
The EU's humanitarian assistance on average annually amounts to just over €2 per EU citizen per year, reaching over 120 million people in need across the world.
EU assistance is implemented via humanitarian partner organisations, including UN agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross family, who have signed partnership agreements with the European Commission. The Commission is closely monitoring the use of EU funds via its global network of humanitarian experts.