Ensuring our Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Response activities are as effective as possible, strengthening disaster preparedness, prevention and response efficiency, speeding up action and enhancing coordination with EU partners on the ground are my priorities. The aim is to get targeted help to those in need, making the best possible use of political and financial tools, and ensuring the EU’s actions are visible.
I also intend to create a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, engaging more EU citizens in helping those in need.
As the Commissioner responsible for Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Response, my overall priority is to ensure that these instruments are managed in the most effective way possible. This will mean that the help Europe delivers to people in need has the maximum effect.
Immediate priorities include strengthening the effectiveness of the EU's disaster response. I plan to propose initiatives that will improve the efficiency of our assistance (faster deployment and making sure the help provided matches real needs on the ground) and that will improve operational and political coordination of assistance. I will also be looking to develop measures that will improve the visibility of the European response. Very often we do a great job but people are rarely aware of it.
Work will focus not just on the response side but also on preparedness and prevention. There is a lot that can be done to help prevent disasters and to limit their impact. I will be working very closely with all partners to develop this side of our work and look forward to their input in order to develop new policy solutions.
Money for Humanitarian Assistance is limited. A first priority will be making the case for sufficient, dedicated funding to meet the increasing demands for humanitarian operations. We also need to make sure that we get the biggest impact with the resources available. This is why I want to make sure that EU assistance is delivered in the most effective way possible. This will involve strengthening the response capacities of key humanitarian organisations. It will mean better planning, coordination and information sharing between all humanitarian actors. I also intend to put a special emphasis on reinforcing the gender dimension in the Commission's humanitarian operations.
A specific challenge is the setting up of the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. The Corps is an initiative of the Lisbon Treaty and is being launched in 2011 (which incidentally is the European Year of Volunteering) - it will engage our citizens in the EU’s humanitarian work and strengthen our ability to respond to crisis situations.