Brussels, – The European Commission has just adopted its plan for the allocation of over €661 million in humanitarian aid funding for 2013. This so-called World-Wide Decision on Humanitarian Aid will be the financial backbone of the Commission’s humanitarian aid operational strategy for 2013. The Commission will fund humanitarian interventions run by more than 200 of its partner organisations in nearly 80 countries or regions.
Based on an in-depth assessment of the needs of the most vulnerable populations in the world, the five largest humanitarian operations will be in the Sahel region of West Africa, including further response to the conflict in Mali (€82 million), Sudan and South Sudan (€80 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo (€54 million), Pakistan (€42 million) and Somalia (€40 million). All of these are large-scale, protracted crises resulting from conflict, food shortages or both. Geographically, the largest portion of aid will go to sub-Saharan Africa to which €344.5 million, representing 52% of the Commission’s pre-programmed humanitarian funding, is targeted.
Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: “The scope and size of the Commission’s world-wide humanitarian aid decision is a sober reminder of the extent of humanitarian needs around the world. For hundreds of millions of people crises are not rare events but recurrent, seemingly unavoidable hardships. Humanitarian aid is a vital expression of our humanity towards those who suffer. As well as the basic physical needs it fulfils, I have seen how it also serves as a source of hope for people who have lost nearly everything else.
“As in the past, the EU will provide its humanitarian assistance solely based on where people’s needs are most pressing, and independently of any political agenda. Over the past year, I have visited numerous conflict situations round the world – in Mali, in Syria and elsewhere – where aid could only get through to people in need because it is perceived as being neutral and not favouring one side or another. This will continue to be a fundamental principle for the EU in its emergency relief work.”
As in previous years part of the budget is dedicated to forgotten crises – populations that receive little media attention and for whom the Commission is often the only major donor. In 2013 the Commission has identified several populations in nine countries – Algeria, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Colombia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Yemen – who meet these criteria. The only new crisis on this year’s list is the one caused by conflict and internal displacement in Pakistan. Other long-enduring forgotten crises include the armed conflict caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central African Republic, the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, and the victims of conflict in Colombia.
The Commissioner added: “New funding for old crises should not make us complacent in our efforts. Indeed I want 2013 to be a time to innovate, especially in the areas of enhancing the emergency response capacity of the sector, working with new donors, and building resilience to crises among the poorest communities through our nascent initiatives such as AGIR Sahel and SHARE for the Horn of Africa. The big challenges to making this aid matter will be in gaining secure access to those who most need it and ensuring the accountability of our aid both towards the EU taxpayer and the beneficiary. These are areas where coordination and leadership are crucial at a time of severe budget constraints and an ever-more challenging humanitarian landscape.”