The European Union and Humanitarian Aid
The European Union has a number of legislative instruments, preparatory acts and other documents relevant to humanitarian response and aid. The EU is the world's largest humanitarian aid donor. Aid is coordinated by ECHO (the European Community Humanitarian Office), which was set up in 1992. ECHO became a Directorate General in 2004, and in 2010 added Civil Protection to it, making it the European Commission Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection. Aid given by the European Union (and coordinated by ECHO) can can be divided into three types: emergency, food and refugee aid.
The European Union's involvement in humanitarian crises is governed on a political level by the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, which was developed to effectively respond to, and reflect, increasingly complex crises. This document also sets out the four guiding principles of European Union involvement in crises, namely humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
To find out more about the Consensus, click here.
The European Union reports on its contributions and responses annually. To learn more about the EU's response strategy, including the Global Needs Assessmen and the Forgotten Crisis Assessment click here. The 2012 European Commission working paper (Humanitarian Aid Strategy for 2012) can be found here.
The following websites give more information about the European Union's international contribution to humanitarian crises, and its giving of humanitarian aid:
European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
EUR-Lex (EU legislation on humanitarian aid)