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COMMISSION DECISION of on the financing of a small scale humanitarian response to disasters from the general budget of the European Union (ECHO/DRF/BUD/2010/03000)

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THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,

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 , and in particular Article 2, Article 4, Article 15(2) and 15(3) thereof;

Whereas:

(1) The human and economic losses caused by natural and man-made disasters are devastating.

(2) The impact of these events is exacerbated by socioeconomic factors such as high population density, fast demographic growth, inequality and poverty. This vulnerability stems from the pattern of socioeconomic development as well as inadequate risk management policies;

(3) Given the recurrent nature and frequency of natural and man-made disasters in the concerned regions, local coping capacity is strained, and particularly the poorest strata of society are becoming more and more vulnerable;

(4) Because of high social inequality, vulnerability is often concentrated in given geographical areas (i.e. rural, remote) and social groups (i.e. indigenous and ethnic groups) and macroeconomic indicators can mask such local vulnerability;

(5) Small-scale disaster events affect a relatively limited number of people, but have a serious negative impact on the livelihood of those populations. Small-scale disasters often occur in remote or isolated areas, rarely trigger a declaration of emergency and usually do not figure prominently in the news despite the serious humanitarian needs they create locally;

(6) In the context of larger disasters, even in countries with relatively developed disaster management capacities, national response to disaster events may leave gaps of uncovered needs, related to social inequality, isolation, under reporting of events, inadequate capacity at local level, where only a limited humanitarian intervention is needed;

(7) A recurrence of shocks, even small, can push vulnerable populations into a spiral of further vulnerability and destitution;

(8) Disaster risk reduction efforts are being undertaken at a varying scale in the different targeted countries. However, disaster preparedness is generally still weak at local level, with many local communities subsequently being ill prepared to face the consequences of disasters;

(9) To reach populations in need, humanitarian aid should be channelled through Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), 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;

(10) An assessment of the humanitarian situation leads to the conclusion that humanitarian aid actions should be financed by the European Union for a period of 18 months;

(11) It is estimated that an amount of EUR 8,000,000 from budget article 23 02 01 of the general budget of the European Union is necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to victims of natural or man-made disasters where a small scale response is adequate to cover unmet needs and enhance preparedness, 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;

(12) Due to the rapidly evolving situation in the field and the nature of the actions to be funded under this Decision, it is necessary to establish a contingency reserve in order to meet unforeseen needs;

(13) 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;

(14) In accordance with Article 17(2) and 17(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1257/96, the Humanitarian Aid Committee gave a favourable opinion on 10 June 2010.