World + 4 more

Helping in emergencies and long-term crises - where the European Commission's humanitarian aid will go in 2012

News and Press Release
Originally published
View original

Brussels, 16 December 2011 – The European Commission today announces its plan for the allocation of €640 million in humanitarian aid funding during 2012. This so-called World-Wide Decision on Humanitarian Aid will be the backbone of the Commission's humanitarian aid operational strategy for 2012.

The Commission will fund humanitarian interventions in 36 countries or regions. Based on the assessment of needs of the most vulnerable populations in the world the five largest humanitarian operations will be in Sudan (North and South) (€87 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo (€44 million), the occupied Palestinian territory (40 million EUR), the Sahel (€45 million), and the Horn of Africa (€102 million), All of these are large-scale, protracted crises resulting from conflict and food shortages or both.

The largest operation in budgetary terms is sub-Saharan Africa, for which 52% of Commission's humanitarian funding is reserved. "One of the biggest crises already looming on the horizon is the food emergency in the Sahel, where 300.000 children already die from malnutrition every year. Without concerted action this tragedy will be even greater next year. We helped prevent a large-scale food crisis in the Sahel in 2010 and we are investing more in the coming months," said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

Some 15% of the budget is dedicated to forgotten crises – areas which get little media attention and where the Commission is often the only major donor. In 2012 these include the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal and the victims of internal armed conflict in the Central African Republic.

"The record refugee waves, the spectre of hunger looming over parts of Africa, the growing frequency and intensity of disasters, new and protracted conflicts – these trends mean we must be prepared for another tough year. Planning is essential if we are to respond efficiently and accountably to the humanitarian challenges we face," explained Commissioner Georgieva.

"But while we can prepare for many challenges we must also be ready for those we cannot predict – and 2011 put us to the test with sudden and often simultaneous natural disasters in Japan, South-east Asia, Turkey, the Horn of Africa and with conflicts in the Middle East, North Africa and Cote d'Ivoire. We must prepare for an equally challenging 2012 and have the resources to deal with the unexpected," she said.

This is why, in addition to the €640 million the Commission has allocated to the most intractable humanitarian problems around the globe, reserve resources are available during the year for unpredictable crises and disasters. In 2011, the entire reserve was used due to major disasters in Japan, Libya, Cote d'Ivoire and the Horn of Africa. These emergency financial decisions brought the total amount of humanitarian funding from the Commission to over €1.1 billion.

Commissioner Georgieva added: "The resources currently available for humanitarian aid and civil protection are being far outstripped by needs. I am very aware of the difficult economic situation currently facing many European countries. This is why we will do more than ever to deliver an efficient and value-for-money service".

Europe's humanitarian assistance in acute and ongoing crises will continue to reach its recipients through our partner organisations: the United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations and the Red Cross/Red Crescent family.

The Commission will also build on the work already underway to promote the resilience of vulnerable communities and on building bridges between relief and development work.


The World-Wide Decision on Humanitarian Aid is allocated on the basis of the annual Global Needs Assessment (GNA). The European Commission categorises 139 developing countries in terms of their vulnerability and the recent occurrence of a crisis. In 2011, using the GNA methodology, the Commission identified 52 countries currently experiencing at least one humanitarian crisis. Out of these, 23 countries emerged as "extremely vulnerable", 19 of which are found in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The EU's humanitarian assistance is based on the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. Every humanitarian aid decision taken must be in accordance with these four principles which are at the heart of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid.

EU humanitarian aid is distributed purely on those principles and, without exception, seeks to help those in the greatest need, irrespective of their nationality, religion, gender, ethnic origin or political affiliation.

For more information:

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:


David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)
Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)