Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
Having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No.1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid 3 , and in particular Article 2(f), Article 4 and Articles 15(2) and 15(3) thereof;
(1) Central America is one of the most disaster prone regions in the world, in terms of recurrence of hazards and their severity and scope, particularly floods, flash floods, cyclones, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, drought and forest fires;
(2) Local communities are particularly vulnerable to all these disasters, and the losses they cause are significant both in social and economic terms;
(3) The capacities of Central American countries to cope with the disasters are insufficient considering the great impact of disaster events on the population and international intervention is needed to support preparedness and small-scale mitigation actions;
(4) These countries currently rely on international assistance to promote disaster risk reduction, risk management and preparedness activities;
(5) To reach populations in need, humanitarian aid should be channelled through NonGovernmental Organisations (NGOs) and International Organisations including United Nations (UN) agencies and Member States Specialised Agencies. Therefore, the European Commission should implement the budget by direct centralized management or by joint management;
(6) Experience from the previous and ongoing DIPECHO Action Plans implemented in the region, as well as national and regional consultations carried out, led to the conclusion that disaster preparedness projects should be financed by the Union for a period of 18 months;
(7) It is estimated that an amount of EUR 10,000,000 from budget article 23 02 03 of the general budget of the European Union is necessary to provide disaster preparedness activities (including public awareness measures) to cover 800,000 vulnerable people, 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 Implementation rules of the Financial Regulation may agree to the full financing of Actions.
(8) For the purpose of this Decision the Central American countries involved are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama.
(9) Notwithstanding the implementation period laid down in Article 2, and the conditionality of this Decision upon the availability of funds laid down in Article 4, it is necessary to adopt it without delay with a view to launch the calls for expression of interest required for its implementation;
(10) The present Decision constitutes a financing Decision within the meaning of Article 75 of the Financial Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/20024, Article 90 of the detailed rules for the implementation of the Financial Regulation determined by Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2342/20025, and Article 15 of the internal rules on the implementation of the general budget of the European Union6;
(11) In accordance with Articles 17(2) and 17(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No.1257/96 of 20 June 1996, the Humanitarian Aid Committee gave favourable opinions on 4 February 2010.