European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response
Consolidated Appeal Process Launch 2012
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs CAP Launch 2012
Geneva, 14 December 2011
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me start by saying what a great pleasure it is to participate in the launch of the 2012 Consolidated Appeal Process and thank the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, for inviting me to this event. The CAP is an evermore crucial pillar in the way we do business. Unfortunately our work in helping those most affected by conflicts and disasters has grown more complex over the last years. We need to recognise this and improve our delivery systems. Let me mention two trends that are putting hard pressure on our ability to offer life and hope to those who depend on us.
First of all there is a steady increase in disasters and emergencies. The challenges we face are getting bigger and more complex due to more protracted internal conflicts and situations of fragility and failing states. At the same time, needs are growing due to the extreme poverty and vulnerability of people at the bottom end of developing countries. An unacceptable lack of humanitarian access in several crises is making it increasingly difficult to reach those in need.
Secondly, the resources for humanitarian aid are under enormous pressure. The European Union collectively accounts for roughly 40% of the world's humanitarian aid. But the European Union economy is going through the most challenging time in its history. Measures are now being taken to restore confidence and fiscal sustainability. However, it is clear that the global financial crisis will have a direct impact on funding for humanitarian assistance. The increasing costs related to the delivery of humanitarian assistance just add to the pressure: Between 2007 and 2011 the cost of food increased by more than 40% and oil prices increased by 30% in real terms.
Against this background we all need to ensure that the assistance is provided in response to the greatest needs, in the most efficient way. The CAP is an essential tool for joint planning, programming, prioritisation and coordination at country level by partners, donors, host governments and affected populations. The EU has been a reliable and strong supporter of the CAP. In 2010, EU Member States and the European Commission collectively provided approximately €1.17 billion to the CAP. And the bulk of the Commission's humanitarian funding goes to projects in the CAP.
We have seen many improvements to the CAP over the years. We now have strategic plans, strong participation of non-UN actors and valuable tools such as the gender marker which encourages integration of gender in humanitarian programmes. I am particularly pleased to see that we this year have a Humanitarian Dashboard in each CAP. The European Commission has funded the UN-led work towards Common Needs Assessments since 2007. The Dashboard should enable better prioritisation and planning for us all. Still, more can and needs to be done to ensure reliable and comparable needs assessments. This also applies to needs assessment in the context of new emergencies and emergency funding appeals.
We also need more solid reporting and monitoring on results. We owe it to our citizens and taxpayers to continue to support humanitarian aid in these times of budgetary crisis. But expectations in terms of accountability are growing. We have to demonstrate that every Euro or dollar is stretched to the fullest, produces concrete results and has maximum impact. We owe it also to the beneficiaries of our aid to ensure that we are the most cost-efficient. I would therefore like to see benchmarking of humanitarian action against cost indicators becoming a standard practice.
Also central to the improvement of humanitarian delivery, is the reform of the humanitarian response system. I fully support the work of the Emergency Relief Coordinator and the efforts underway in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on a set of Transformative actions to the humanitarian response system. We really see the need for stronger humanitarian leadership at country level and a better coordinated response capacity, building on the cluster system. I believe that a shift in mindset as well as in methods is required to achieve a stronger collective performance from now on.
We can also do better in promoting synergies between humanitarian and development assistance as a means to improve aid effectiveness. In many of the crises that we are facing, development and humanitarian actors need to work hand in hand to reduce disaster vulnerability and to strengthen resilience. In post conflict and disaster contexts, the CAP needs strategies which link up to the development programmes but remain at the same time focussed on its priority, that is, humanitarian response.
For donors these are crucial times to uphold humanitarian funding and a strong needs-based approach. I believe that we need to step up donor coordination to match all the coordination efforts that have gone into the CAP. By way of contribution to this, you will find a list of the European Commission's planned humanitarian funding per crisis in 2012 at the back of the room.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me once again say thank you for the opportunity to be here today. I applaud all those who have worked hard to prepare the 2012 CAP. I also take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to Valerie Amos; and to wish her and us all "happy birthday" as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of UN General Assembly resolution 46/182 which established the function of the Emergency Relief Coordinator and what has become OCHA. Events have proven the fundamental importance of this decision. I formulate the hope that the UN General Assembly will continue to lend solid support to the humanitarian agenda for the next 20 years.
And, as final word, let me signal that next year there will be another 20th anniversary to celebrate, that of ECHO, the EU humanitarian aid service. And you can count on us to make use of this anniversary to pursue the common advancement of the humanitarian cause worldwide.
I thank you for your attention.