EC - Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
The European Union’s mandate to ECHO is to provide emergency assistance and relief to the victims of natural disasters or armed conflict outside the European Union. The aid is intended to go directly to those in distress, irrespective of race, religion or political convictions.
ECHO’s task is to ensure goods and services get to crisis zones fast. Goods may include essential supplies, specific foodstuffs, medical equipment, medicines and fuel. Services may include medical teams, water purification teams and logistical support. Goods and services reach disaster areas via ECHO partners.
Since 1992, ECHO has funded humanitarian aid in crisis zones of more than 85 countries via its partners. Its grants cover emergency aid, food aid and aid to refugees and displaced persons worth a total of more than €700 million per year.
ECHO does more than just fund humanitarian aid:
-It carries out feasibility studies for its humanitarian operations;
-It monitors humanitarian projects and sets up coordination arrangements;
-It promotes and coordinates disaster prevention measures;
-It gives its partners technical assistance;
-It promotes the public awareness of humanitarian aid through actions carried out directly:
-It finances network and training study initiatives in the humanitarian field (NOHA).
The Humanitarian Aid department of the European Commission (ECHO) was established in 1992. Thanks to ECHO, humanitarian action now occupies a key position in the European Union's external action. ECHO is the world’s main player in this field.
Through ECHO funding, some 18 million people are helped each year through 200 partners (NGOs, ICRC, and UN agencies like the UNHCR and the WFP).
The EU aims to make its aid to third countries struck by natural disaster or conflict more effective and more humanitarian. ECHO reflects this desire. Its assistance is based on the humanitarian principals of non-discrimination and impartiality, which sets it apart from other types of aid given by the European Commission.See more