Watch a movie of the first volunteers training before deployment to the field:
For more details on the EU AID Volunteers initiative, see our factsheet .
The initiative will be fully operational in 2014. In the meantime pilot projects are being carried out. These pilot projects are funded by the European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection department (ECHO) based on proposals from humanitarian organisations. These organisations then select suitable volunteers.
The first round of pilot projects began in 2011. These include one run by a consortium led by Save the Children UK and another led by the French Red Cross. A second round pilot projects started in 2012 run by VSO, France Volontaires, ADICE, ICCO, the German Red Cross and Save the Children. Over 200 volunteers have been deployed in these eight pilot projects. A third and last round of pilot projects is foreseen to begin in the summer of 2013.
The idea is that these pilots will explore the different ways that the Corps could work in order to see where it can make the biggest difference. ECHO will choose different humanitarian organisations to test possible features of the EU AID Volunteers initiative, which could have a budget of over €200 million from 2014 to 2020; enough for big ideas to make a big difference.
Launch conference of 2012 pilot projects (June 2012)
DG ECHO's movie on the launch of the pilot projects on 17 June 2011 in Budapest:
The Lisbon Treaty foresees the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, Art 214.5 TFEU.
A Communication presenting the main principles and options has been adopted on the 23rd of November COM(2010)683 final. Some gaps and areas where the Voluntary Corps is likely to have an added value are identified. These include:
The main conditions for the Voluntary Corps to bring a positive contribution to humanitarian aid operations include:
A 1 m € budget has been allocated to a preparatory action for 2011. The preparatory action will support the Commission in the process leading-up to the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps through further consultation (conferences, workshops) and through the implementation of pilot actions aimed at selecting, training and deploying EU volunteers.
A public consultation was held early 2011 to further explore views of EU citizens and stakeholders (see below).
A legislative proposal is planned for 1st semester 2012 to establish the Voluntary Corps.
The Commission conducted an open Stakeholders Consultation to gather ideas and opinions for the establishment of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. The online consultation lasted 12 weeks from 08 February to 03 May 2011 and will serve as a basis for the Commission legislative proposal to be presented in 2012.
Responses are requested on a range of issues. These include:
We have received 126 contributions, 92 from individual respondents and 34 from respondents representing an organisation.
Please click here to access the final report of this consultation.