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Commission decision of on the financing of humanitarian actions in the Sahel region of West Africa from the general budget of the European Union (ECHO/-WF/BUD/2009/04000)

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THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,

Having regard to the Treaty on European Union and on the Functioning of the European Union,

Having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No.1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid, and in particular Articles 2, 4 and Article 15(2) thereof;

Whereas:

(1) The most vulnerable populations in the Sahel region of West Africa are exposed to an extraordinary high level of risk of crisis due to this year's erratic rains and continued high local food prices;

(2) GAM (Global Acute Malnutrition) rates in the region remain constantly above the alert threshold for humanitarian action and the deteriorating asset status of the most vulnerable households provides considerable cause for concern that the next "hungry" period in 2010 will be a difficult one;

(3) The Sahel region is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped regions in the world. It includes six of the 24 countries ranked lowest of the 182 countries listed in the 2008 UN Human Development Index as having the lowest human development indicators (4) Food production in good years is barely adequate to keep pace with demographic growth and rapid urbanisation. The most vulnerable populations live permanently on the edge of a humanitarian crisis with the slightest external shock quickly tipping them into crisis;

(5) To reach populations in need, humanitarian aid should be channelled through Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and International Organisations including United Nations (UN) agencies. Therefore the European Commission should implement the budget by direct centralized management or by joint management;

(6) An assessment of the humanitarian situation leads to the conclusion that humanitarian aid Actions should be financed by the Union for a period of 12 months;

(7) For the purposes of this Decision the West African countries of the Sahel region involved are Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

(8) It is estimated that an amount of EUR 10,000,000 from budget article 23 02 02 of the general budget of the European Union is necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to over 1,000,000 victims, taking into account the available budget, other donors' contributions and other factors. Although as a general rule Actions funded by this Decision should be co-financed, the Authorising Officer, in accordance with Article 253 of the Implementing Rules of the Financial Regulation, may agree to the full financing of Actions;

(9) The present Decision constitutes a financing Decision within the meaning of Article 75 of the Financial Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002, Article 90 of the detailed rules for the implementation of the Financial Regulation determined by Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2342/2002, and Article 15 of the internal rules on the implementation of the general budget of the European Union;

(10) In accordance with Article 17(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No.1257/96 of 20 June 1996, the Humanitarian Aid Committee gave a favourable opinion on 12 November 2009.

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

1. In accordance with the objectives and general principles of humanitarian aid, the Commission hereby approves a total amount of EUR 10,000,000 for the financing of humanitarian actions in the Sahel region of West Africa from budget article 23.02.02 of the 2009 general budget of the European Union.

2. In accordance with Article 2 and 4 of Council Regulation No.1257/96, the principal objective of this Decision is to provide humanitarian assistance and relief to people affected by erratic climatic conditions and continued high local food prices in the Sahel Region of West Africa. The humanitarian Actions shall be implemented in the pursuance of the following specific objective:

- To provide multi-sector assistance to help reduce acute malnutrition and mortality of the most vulnerable population and in particular children under 5 years and pregnant and nursing women

The full amount of this Decision is allocated to this specific objective.

Article 2

1. The period for the implementation of the Actions financed under this Decision shall start on 1 November 2009 and shall run for 12 months. Eligible expenditure shall be committed during the implementing period of the Decision.

2. If the implementation of individual actions is suspended owing to force majeure or account in the implementing period of the Decision in respect of the Action suspended.

3. In accordance with the contractual provisions ruling the Agreements financed under this Decision, the Commission may consider eligible those costs arising and incurred after the end of the implementing period of the Action which are necessary for its winding-up.

4. The Authorising Officer may, where this is justified by the humanitarian situation, extend the duration of the Decision for a maximum of 6 months provided that the total duration of the Decision does not exceed 18 months, in accordance with Article 90.4 of the Implementing Rules of the Financial Regulation.

Article 3

1. As a general rule, Actions funded by this Decision should be co-financed. The Authorising Officer, in accordance with Article 253 of the Implementing Rules, may agree to the full financing of Actions when this will be necessary to achieve the objectives of this Decision and with due consideration to the nature of the activities to be undertaken, the availability of other donors and other relevant operational circumstances.

2. Actions supported by this Decision will be implemented either by Non-profit-making organisations which fulfil the eligibility and suitability criteria established in Article 7 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 or International organisations.

3. The Commission shall implement the budget:

- either by direct centralised management, with Non-governmental Organisations;

- or by joint management with international organisations that are signatories to the Framework Partnership Agreements (FPA) or the EC/UN Financial Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA) and which were subject to the four pillar assessment in line with Article 53d of the Financial Regulation

Article 4

This Decision will take effect on the date of its adoption.

Article 5

This Decision is addressed to the delegated authorising officer.

Done at Brussels,

For the Commission

Member of the Commission