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Brussels, 23/11/2005

COM (2005) 580 final


Annual Report 2004 - (ECHO) {SEC (2005) 1481}


1. Introduction 3

2. General framework 3

3. Overview of the humanitarian measures of the Directorate-General Echo 4

4. Important overarching aspects 7

4.1. Relationships with partners - Framework Partnership Agreements (PRV) 7

4.2. Relations with key humanitarian partners, non-EU donors and other Community institutions 8

4.3. Strategic planning and cross-cutting issues 8

4.4. Thematic funding 9

4.5. Training and seminars, communication and information 9

4.6. Budget and human resources, audit and evaluation 10

5. Outlook 11


The European Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid - DG ECHO - is responsible for managing the funds made available by the European Union as humanitarian aid to victims of natural and man-made disasters in countries outside the European Union. DG ECHO's work aims to save and protect human lives in the event of humanitarian crises in third countries, to alleviate or avoid hardship and to protect the integrity and dignity of the victims. In doing so, DG ECHO is guided solely by the need for assistance and not by political considerations.

2004 will probably be remembered as the year of the devastating tsunami catastrophe which quickly killed around 280,000 people on the shores of the Indian Ocean. In other parts of the world, too, various crises claimed thousands of lives in 2004, many of them without attracting public attention. These are the "forgotten crises" lamented by the European Commission, i.e. crises that are not or no longer in the focus of the media. The ECHO Directorate-General has set itself the goal of being present in such situations and of alleviating the plight of the population in these sometimes long-lasting crises.

DG ECHO's work is aligned with developments in global humanitarian needs, but at the same time it continues to pay particular attention to cross-cutting issues such as the link between relief and development, disaster risk reduction, HIV / AIDS and the situation of children.

The report provides an overview of the main actions undertaken by DG ECHO in 2004. More detailed information on the humanitarian actions supported by DG ECHO, including a country-by-country overview, is provided in the annex.


DG ECHO's response to humanitarian emergencies followed developments in global humanitarian needs, as evidenced by the regional distribution of ECHO funding. Particular attention was paid to the "forgotten crises". DG ECHO's work program is based on a global needs analysis to ensure that only needs-based actions are carried out. For this cross-national analysis, nine indicators are used (human development, poverty, risk of natural disasters, conflicts, refugees, internally displaced persons, malnutrition, mortality rate, aid from other donors) to compare the situation in around 130 developing countries. The results of this analysis are used to rank the countries: the first 25% of these countries are the countries with the greatest need, the next 50% are the countries with medium needs, and the remaining 25% are the countries with low needs. Thanks to this method, DG ECHO can use cross-border criteria to check how successfully the needs-based strategy is being implemented. If one analyzes the results for 2004 accordingly, the following picture emerges (as at 31 December 2004): 62% (or EUR 353 million) of the total of € 570 million charged to Chapter 2302 of the budget or the EDF ) allocated to the areas with the greatest need, 30% (or EUR 172 million) for the areas of medium need and less than 1% (or EUR 4 million) for the areas of low need. The remaining funds (EUR 41 million or 7%) were used for thematic funding, technical assistance and support expenditure.

Among the country and regional measures, DG ECHO’s measures in North Korea, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Middle East were evaluated. In addition, the measures in the area of ​​disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean were subjected to an assessment. The conclusion of these evaluations is that the actions funded by DG ECHO in these countries and regions have achieved the headline humanitarian objectives.

The so-called 'forgotten crises' are a focus of DG ECHO's assistance strategy. These are humanitarian crisis situations that arouse little or no interest in politics and the general public, for which few other donors are involved, or in which other donors shy away from involvement because of the high risks involved. DG ECHO determines whether there is a "forgotten" crisis both on the basis of quantitative data (lack of media interest, little aid provided by donors with simultaneously high needs) and on the basis of qualitative factors (assessment of the situation on the ground by experts and responsible officials of DG ECHO) . The most important forgotten crisis areas in 2004 included Algeria (Western Sahara), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Haiti, India, Myanmar / Burma, Nepal, the North Caucasus (Chechnya), Thailand (Burmese refugees), Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen . During 2004, a total of EUR 239 million was made available for these main forgotten crisis areas, i.e. 42% of the total commitments of EUR 570 million from Chapter 2302 of the budget and the EDF.

Like the humanitarian agencies and organizations, DG ECHO gives top priority to safe, unhindered and permanent access to the humanitarian areas of operation. In 2004, DG ECHO continued to work hard to ensure that the principles of humanitarian aid - neutrality, impartiality and independence - continue to be given high priority both within the EU institutions and in international fora. The fact that specific provisions on the observance of humanitarian principles were included in the draft Constitutional Treaty was largely due to this claim.


Despite some positive developments, the overall humanitarian situation gave little cause for optimism as the humanitarian problems continue to grow. The number of refugees fell from 10.6 million in 2002 to 9.67 million at the end of 2003. [1] Experience shows, however, that refugees who have returned to their hometowns still need support, at least in the beginning. It is estimated that there are 25 million internally displaced people worldwide. [2] They are rightly called “the world's largest group of people in need” [3].

The “World Disasters Report 2004” of the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies shows that although the disasters caused fewer human lives worldwide, the number of those affected has increased. The humanitarian crisis situation triggered by the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami tidal wave in Asia also tragically demonstrated that more and more people are at risk from natural disasters.

In 2004, DG ECHO took 102 financing decisions with a total volume of EUR 570.4 million to deal with the various humanitarian crises. Of this, EUR 518.2 million came from the Commission budget and EUR 52.2 million from the EDF. The commitment authorizations have been used up to 100%. The main beneficiaries of the aid were the ACP countries (EUR 301.6 million), followed by countries in Asia (EUR 111.1 million). The following table gives an overview of the geographical distribution of the financing decisions made in 2004 (amounts in thousands of EUR):

Department / Region | Amount | % |

DG ECHO -1: Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean | 301 555 | 53% |

Horn of Africa | 139 618 |

Great Lakes | 76 360 |

West Africa | 37 300 |

Caribbean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean | 19 477 |

Southern Africa | 28 800 |

DG ECHO -2: Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, South Caucasus, Central Asia (including Mongolia), Middle East, Mediterranean | 90 705 | 16% |

Russian Federation, South Caucasus, Central Asia (including Mongolia) | 41 850 |

Mediterranean and Middle East | 48 855 |

DG ECHO -3: Asia, Iraq, Central and South America | 123 322 | 22% |

Asia | 111 122 |

Iraq | - |

Central and South America | 12 200 |

Dipecho - Disaster Risk Reduction | 13 700 | 2% |

Thematic funding | 19 430 | 3% |

Technical assistance (experts and paying agents) | 15 300 | 3% |

Support expenditure (audits, evaluations, information and communication, etc.) | 6 400 | 1% |

TOTAL 2004 | 570 412 | 100% |

Main DG ECHO actions in 2004

The most extensive aid measures on the African continent concerned the Darfur region in Sudan. The civil war there since 2003 escalated so dramatically in 2004 that the United Nations described the situation in Darfur as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world: the conflict forced more than a million people to flee and two-thirds of the population plunged into dire straits. Therefore, in addition to the EUR 20 million originally budgeted for Sudan, a further EUR 83 million was made available through a series of emergency aid decisions for the victims of the escalating conflict in the Greater Darfur region and for the Sudanese refugees in Chad. DG ECHO also participated in international calls for help and awareness-raising and chaired a donor meeting in Geneva in June.

The general humanitarian situation in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and Tanzania) remained critical in 2004. The peace processes in the region made only hesitant progress and were accompanied by isolated armed clashes in Burundi and ongoing fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Projects funded by DG ECHO have helped millions of people in need.

Parts of West Africa were also confronted with the consequences of ongoing armed conflict in 2004 and were hit by natural disasters. DG ECHO continued to fund a number of emergency aid projects, particularly in response to the outbreak of various epidemics in West Africa, which are affecting around 200 million people.

In the North Caucasus, the ongoing, “forgotten” humanitarian crisis in Chechnya remained one of DG ECHO's strategic priorities: the victims of this conflict received a total of EUR 28.5 million. DG ECHO provided substantial funding to help more than 450,000 victims of the crisis both in Chechnya and in the neighboring republics of Ingushetia and Dagestan.

Due to the blockade of the peace process, living conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories deteriorated further in 2004. The food security of 70% of the estimated 3.8 million inhabitants was not guaranteed or at risk and almost 2 million Palestinians lived below the poverty line. In 2004, DG ECHO provided EUR 37.35 million for humanitarian actions to help the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as refugees from Iraq who were in camps in Jordan and are housed in the "no man's land" on the Iraqi-Jordanian border.

Since the main fighting in Afghanistan ended in 2002, more than three million people - refugees from Pakistan and Iran as well as internally displaced persons - have returned to their homes. However, the country's need for help is still enormous.

In 2004, DG ECHO provided EUR 35 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan under a year-round global plan.

DG ECHO continued to provide assistance to the most needy populations, notably facilitating the return and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons.

The tsunami wave, which devastated the coastal regions of the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 and claimed up to 280,000 lives, is one of the most terrible natural disasters in human history. Millions of people have become homeless as a result of them and have lost their livelihoods. DG ECHO was the first donor to provide funds to aid organizations active on the ground. On December 26, 2004, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was allocated EUR 3 million. On December 30th and 31st, two further financing decisions were made, each amounting to EUR 10 million for aid in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia. In January 2005 the European Commission asked the budgetary authority (Parliament and Council) to release up to EUR 100 million for further aid in the disaster areas. On February 9, 2005, a financing decision of EUR 80 million was made available for various aid measures, including immediate reconstruction measures in the disaster areas.

A precise country-specific breakdown of the measures is given in the annex to the report.


4.1. Relationships with partners - framework partnership agreements (PRV)

The financing decision on administrative support expenditure in 2004, which includes the 2004 grant facility (budget line for smaller, non-renewable grants for training, studies and networking in the humanitarian field), was adopted by the Commission on 30 April 2004. In October 2004, three grants with a total value of around EUR 300,000 were approved.

The first preparatory work for a contractual regulation of relations with specialized humanitarian aid agencies in the Member States has been completed. It also identified various institutions that could be involved in the new procedures and identified the types of measures that could be considered.

4.2. Relations with key humanitarian partners, non-EU donors and other community bodies

At the international level, DG ECHO participated in a number of meetings at which problems and issues important to donors were discussed, such as the erosion of the humanitarian space, the principles of humanitarian aid - in particular the risk of non-compliance with these principles in UN operations , in which peace-making and humanitarian action are linked - as well as the access problems that aid agencies in some countries are struggling with.

By the end of 2004, four of the annual strategic programming dialogues had been held with the most important partners (OCHA, UNICEF, WHO and WFP).

At Community level, DG ECHO continued in 2004 to ensure that the principles of humanitarian aid - neutrality, impartiality and independence - continue to be given high priority both within the EU institutions and in international fora.

DG ECHO also participated in numerous meetings of the Council and other Commission services, such as DG Environment (on civil protection issues) and DG External Relations (crisis management), to show that humanitarian principles are integrated into all activities have to.

The Humanitarian Aid Committee, on which the Member States are represented, met 11 times in 2004. In addition, two informal meetings of the Humanitarian Aid Committee were convened by the Irish and Danish Presidencies, at which fundamental issues of humanitarian aid and the relationship between civil and military action were discussed.

4.3. Strategic planning and cross-cutting issues

DG ECHO defined its strategy for 2005 in 2004 based on an assessment of global needs and an analysis of the 'forgotten' crises.

- Linking emergency aid, rehabilitation and development: DG ECHO continued its cooperation with the interservice group on this issue. Good progress has been made in many of the 15 countries and regions selected for pilot actions in 2003.The implementation of linking strategies remained one of the constant priorities in this area; Remarkable progress has been made in this regard in Angola, Tajikistan and Cambodia, among others. Further details can be found in the appendix.

- Children: DG ECHO put even more emphasis on this important cross-cutting issue. In 2004, 66 of the 102 funding decisions and 79 contracts related exclusively or at least partially to child-related measures (e.g. therapeutic nutrition, vaccinations, reintegration of child soldiers), for which a total of EUR 46 million was made available (EUR 26 million in 2003).

In 2004 DG ECHO also presented draft internal guidelines on “Children in Humanitarian Crisis” and developed a specific reporting process to better assess the scope and impact of DG ECHO’s child-related activities.

- Disaster risk reduction: DG ECHO took a total of 16 funding decisions on disaster risk reduction measures. In this context, she supported the “World Conference on Disaster Reduction” in Kobe, which represents a milestone on the way to greater global awareness of the topic of disaster risk reduction, with a total of EUR 360,000. In addition, in 2004 DG ECHO was strongly committed to strengthening international initiatives in the field of disaster reduction, in particular supporting the establishment of a Global Disaster Alert System by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) and the Joint EC Research Center (EUR 420,000).

- Water: water has been included as a new priority in DG ECHO's 2004 annual work program. DG ECHO has therefore launched a restricted call for tenders to carry out a study on water and sanitation issues in humanitarian operations to be carried out in 2005.

DG ECHO went beyond its original objectives and also completed a review of its HIV / AIDS policy.

4.4. Thematic funding

Thematic funding represents a new form of cooperation with international organizations and confirms DG ECHO's intention to work with the United Nations and the Red Cross to make humanitarian aid more effective.

In 2004, DG ECHO signed thematic contracts with the following bodies: with OCHA to improve OCHA information management (EUR 4 million), with WHO to support WHO health measures in crisis situations (EUR 3.5 million) and with the WFP to strengthen the capacity to assess humanitarian needs in the food sector (EUR 4.5 million). In addition, DG ECHO supported UNICEF child protection measures (EUR 2 million) and supported the expansion of UNICEF's emergency aid capacities (EUR 5.4 million) through a number of measures - e.g. stockpiling of essential medicines and relief supplies.

4.5. Training and seminars, communication and information

A total of 42 training sessions were held on the new legal framework for the contractual relationship between DG ECHO and its partners. The training sessions lasted a total of 77 days and were attended by 904 participants.

DG ECHO continued to actively support the one-year postgraduate course NOHA (Network on Humanitarian Assistance), in which interdisciplinary knowledge in the field of humanitarian aid is imparted at seven universities.

In 2004, DG ECHO carried out a series of communication activities on the values, principles and practical results of EU humanitarian aid (various publications, eye-catching posters and TV spots on DG ECHO's work). One of the most important information events was the very successful “Youth Solidarity Day”, which was held in the European Parliament with 540 young people taking part.

4.6. Budget and human resources, audit and evaluation

DG ECHO has formal procedures in place to regularly monitor its financial management and provide the necessary management information. The overall assessment of the measures is also based on specific indicators for the financial aspects. The humanitarian measures are subjected to a financial audit both by the central services and on site. In 2004, a total of 145 audits of humanitarian organizations were completed or processed in the central services; in addition, 32 on-site audits were carried out.

In 2004, the central offices had around 172 employees (146 civil servants and 26 external workers). DG ECHO took a number of measures to implement a human resources policy in line with reforms at Commission level.

DG ECHO's administrative expenditure in 2004 totaled EUR 2.2 million. It financed: the employment of external staff, administrative expenses for missions, training courses, conferences and meetings as well as fees for experts and studies.

DG ECHO carries out around ten evaluations of its activities every year. In 2004, evaluations were launched for North Korea, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Middle East and for disaster risk reduction measures in the Caribbean. In addition, thematic evaluations have been started on the topics of internally displaced persons, security, water and sanitation. A concept paper on the subject of HIV / AIDS was also commissioned. DG ECHO also evaluated the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the NGO Action Contre la Faim.

As part of the “Good Humanitarian Donorship” initiative, DG ECHO addressed security issues faced by humanitarian aid organizations. In this context, a security guide, an address directory for the area of ​​security training and a security report were drawn up, among other things. This is intended to make it easier for the humanitarian aid organizations to act responsibly that does justice to the security interests of both the deployed and local employees.

Further details on the horizontal measures can be found in the annex.


In 2004, DG ECHO again strictly followed the principles and values ​​of humanitarian aid, which in particular include neutrality, impartiality and independence. In view of certain political tendencies to view humanitarian aid as an instrument of foreign policy or crisis management, and the increasingly dangerous conditions in the areas of operation, where the humanitarian organizations themselves are sometimes the target of the parties to the conflict - both of which are worrying developments - these are the issues that must be strictly observed Principles become more important than ever.

In DG ECHO's view, the best way to preserve the "humanitarian space" is to remain committed to the principles of "Good Donorship" laid down in Stockholm on 16-17 June 2003 and reaffirmed in Ottawa in October 2004 (The principle of needs-based aid.) DG ECHO also continues to attach great importance to delivering high quality humanitarian aid and to maintaining a transparent dialogue with the other key actors, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora Recent crises in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Iraq and Darfur show that adherence to the above principles is an essential prerequisite for the effectiveness of aid, ensuring access to the people in need and the protection of humanitarian aid workers.

[1] UNHCR: Refugees by Numbers (2004 edition) http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/basics/

[2] Global IDP Project: Internal Displacement - A Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2003 found at http://www.idpproject.org/press/2004/Global_Overview.pdf

[3] [4]? ITW UNHCR: Internally Displaced Persons, Questions and Answers (2004) http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/basics/