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Humanitarian Aid Budget 2012

The European Commission envisages funding humanitarian interventions in 36 countries or regions in 2012. It is allocating a budget of €640 million in humanitarian aid funding next year. The projects will be implemented through the Commission's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).

Daily workers unloading bags at MSF store © EC/ECHO/Patrick Vercammen

The humanitarian budget is based on the assessment of needs of the most vulnerable populations in the world. The five largest humanitarian operations that will receive funding next year are 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 biggest part of the budget, 52%, will be allocated to Sub-Saharan Africa to address among other things the drought and food insecurity that is severely impacting on populations in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. In these two regions action is required to prevent the ongoing (Horn of Africa) and impending (Sahel) large-scale food crises. The Commission's humanitarian aid will focus not only on relieving short term needs but also in building the resilience of these most vulnerable populations who have had little chance to recover from recurrent crises.

Forgotten crises which often receive little media and donor attention are also covered in this humanitarian funding decision. 15% of next year's budget is allocated to the 11 forgotten crises, which include the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal and the victims of internal armed conflict in the Central African Republic (see also Forgotten Crises Assessment 2012 ).

In 2011 the total amount of humanitarian funding from the Commission exceeded €1.1 billion. In addition to the annual humanitarian aid funding, emergency reserve resources were made available and completely used up in responding to the needs of the victims of major and unpredictable disasters such as the earthquake in Japan, the famine in the Horn of Africa, the floods in South-East Asia, the crisis in Libya, and in Côte d'Ivoire

The Emergency Reserve is available for 2012 as well in case humanitarian challenges and unexpected disasters cannot be covered by the allocated €640 million. The Commission remains ready at all times to respond to the growing frequency and intensity of disasters. Today huge waves of refugees and increasing food prices make the humanitarian context ever more complex and challenging.

Part of the humanitarian budget of the European Commission is dedicated to prevention and preparedness which in the long term save lives in the most cost- efficient way possible. Promoting the resilience of vulnerable communities and building bridges between relief and development work will feature highly among the key priorities of ECHO's work next year.

All the humanitarian funding decisions for 2012 are available here


The European Commission's budget on Humanitarian Aid is allocated on the basis of the annual Global Needs Assessment (GNA). Humanitarian assistance is channelled through ECHO's partner organisation: United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations and the Red Cross/Red Crescent family. It 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