Commission Implementing Decision of 3.1.2018 financing humanitarian aid operational priorities from the 2018 general budget of the European Union - ECHO/WWD/BUD/2018/01000

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 and Article 15(2) and (3) thereof,

Having regard to Council Decision 2013/755/EU of 25 November 2013 on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Union ('Overseas Association Decision')2 , and in particular Article 79 thereof,

Having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union3 , and in particular Article 84(2) thereof,

Whereas:

(1) The global humanitarian context in 2018 will, in all likelihood, remain challenging, with similar trends to those experienced in 2017 with the intensity and range of crises surpassing the levels encountered in previous years, and with continuing widespread disregard for International Humanitarian Law (IHL), thus resulting in an increase in the overall total of people affected and in need of international assistance. This increase in humanitarian needs is related to protracted or recurrent humanitarian crises, such as long-term conflict or droughts, and those resulting from sudden new emergencies. In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship principles, it is important that the response to sudden new emergencies, such as earthquakes or conflicts, does not detract from addressing existing or recurrent humanitarian crises.

(2) Constantly increasing global needs are the result of a combination of factors, notably the larger number of refugees and displaced persons resulting from man-made crises, the increasing impact of natural disasters, partly as a result of climate change, the continued impact of the economic crisis affecting particularly the most vulnerable populations, and a tightening of the humanitarian space that make the delivery of aid and access to beneficiaries more difficult and more dangerous. In this context and for each crisis, a specific country/region evaluation of needs is conducted by the European Commission in order to provide a first-hand account of crisis pockets and to give an insight into the nature and the severity of needs. This is combined with the Index For Risk Management (INFORM), based on three sets of indicators (hazard and exposure, vulnerability and lack of coping capacity), a Crisis Assessment, which in 2017 was based on the INFORM data on conflict intensity, uprooted people and number of people affected by natural disasters, and the Forgotten Crisis Assessment (FCA). These evaluations and tools provide the framework to determine the areas of greatest needs based on which funds are allocated.

(3) Man-made humanitarian crises, resulting from wars or outbreaks of fighting (also called complex or protracted crises) account for a large proportion of, and are, the main source of humanitarian needs in the world. In man-made crises, such as in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Myanmar/Bangladesh (Rohingya crisis), Ukraine, South Sudan, Mali, Somalia, Great Lakes, Nigeria and the Central African Republic, the Union's humanitarian intervention, which takes place alongside development, stabilisation and/or state-building interventions, addresses life-saving needs, and protects millions of vulnerable people, including refugees and returnees, internally displaced people, host communities and affected local populations. Where possible, it should also prepare conditions for a proper transition towards longer term interventions (Linking Relief Rehabilitation and Development [LRRD] – 'humanitarian/development nexus') and build the resilience of the most vulnerable populations. This is particularly important in protracted forced displacement where humanitarian response needs to go beyond care and maintenance and seek to increase self-reliance4 .

(4) In many contexts, access and security problems make the delivery of aid particularly difficult or dangerous. The needs resulting from such crises may be further exacerbated by natural disasters, such as drought or floods, as it is the case in Haiti, Bangladesh, Mali, Niger, Southern Africa, Horn of Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chad or Nigeria. Natural disasters and extreme weather conditions may restrict some interventions and may also require rapid reorientation of other activities to meet new priority needs of the affected populations.

(5) The human and economic losses caused by natural disasters are devastating. These natural disasters, be they sudden or slow onset, that entail major loss of life, physical and psychological or social suffering or material damage, are constantly increasing, and with them so is the number of victims. In this respect, vulnerable populations affected by natural disasters and climate change as well as epidemics rely on Union humanitarian assistance, including food assistance, nutrition and protection. Recurrent acute humanitarian needs have been identified in various situations, such as Myanmar, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. Recurrent disasters caused by specific meteorological patterns, such as monsoon and hurricane/typhoon/cyclone seasons, may also be covered under this Decision.

(6) The life of an estimated 65 million children aged 3-15 is directly affected by emergencies or protracted crises. Approximately 37 million are out of school due to conflict.5 Out of the 6.4 million refugee children and adolescents between the age of 5 and 17, only about 50% of primary school age children and 23% of secondary school age adolescents are enrolled in school. Ensuring the continuity of education is challenging in displacement contexts. Yet, education in crises and displacement situations is crucial: it gives children a sense of normality, safety, ensures the acquisition of important basic skills and provides hope for the future. Education is also often identified as a primary priority by affected communities themselves. The Union, in the context of providing relief and protection through its humanitarian actions, has engaged in supporting inclusive and quality education in emergencies to protect children and help prevent, reduce, mitigate and respond to emergency-related barriers to education and create pathways for children towards future learning opportunities. This Decision provides for the Union continued active engagement for childrenaffected by crisis through education in emergencies.