Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Commission has announced a reinforced humanitarian aid system to improve delivery of essential supplies to those most in need. The initiative took shape in response to the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on humanitarian needs worldwide.
“EU humanitarian aid needs to deliver better by boosting its efficiency and impact. The EU takes up its global responsibility and shows leadership when crises are expanding and humanitarian principles are challenged,” Janez Lenarcic, Commissioner for Crisis Management, declared.
Humanitarian needs and demand are at an all-time high, driven largely by a resurgence in state-based conflicts, combined with the impact of climate change, environmental degradation, global population growth and failed governance, the Commission’s communication reads
In practice, the EU will set up a new European Humanitarian Response Capacity (EHRC) capable of intervening directly in humanitarian crises, whenever traditional humanitarian delivery mechanisms risk being ineffective or insufficient.
The goal is to upgrade and facilitate logistical support including transport, enabling the pooling of resources and enhancing deployment in the field, the Commission stated.
The EHRC is expected to complement and coordinate with the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (ECPM), while relying on operational support from the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre. The EHRC will be financed from the EU’s humanitarian budget.
Regarding the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to fragile regions, the EU maintained it remains willing to provide support for the procurement, stockpiling, transportation and/or distribution of COVID-19 relief items, including vaccines.
This approach will be sustained through a strengthened ECPM and the new EHRC, where necessary, the Commission said.
The Commission estimates that, in 2021, 150 million people will fall into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic. According to UN estimates, almost 235 million people – 1-in-33 people worldwide – will be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021.
The EU, together with its member states, is the world’s leading humanitarian donor, accounting for some 36% of global humanitarian assistance. The top EU donors are Germany (40%), Sweden (8%), the Netherlands (5%), Denmark (3%) and France (2%).
According to a Eurobarometer survey released yesterday, more than 9-in-10 Europeans firmly believe in the importance of EU funding for humanitarian aid activities.
In moving forward, the Commission has invited the European Parliament and the Council to endorse its mission statement on humanitarian aid.