Financial resources

DG ECHO implements the part of the EU's general budget that is allocated annually to humanitarian aid and, as from 2010, to civil protection.

DG ECHO, like all other Commission departments, is accountable to the Parliament and the Council, notably through annual reports detailing its activities. Its budget management is also subject to ongoing auditing by the Court of Auditors, which reports to Parliament and the Council. Every year, Parliament and Council are invited to give their opinion on the discharge of past budgets.

Sources of DG ECHO funds

Basically DG ECHO has two sources of funds:

  • the general EC budget
  • the European Development Fund

General budget funding for humanitarian aid is found under Title 23. This heading is divided into four lines:

  • the main one which covers financing of humanitarian operations;
  • a line which covers food aid activities from 1/1/2007;
  • a line which covers the financing of operational support and disaster preparedness operations
  • a line which covers civil protection inside the European Union,
    a line which covers civil protection outside the European Union, and
  • a budget line for support expenditure.

To be able to respond rapidly to specific aid requirements resulting from events which could not have been foreseen when the budget was established, DG ECHO may also call on an Emergency Aid Reserve (title 40). For this to be mobilised, there needs to be trilateral agreement between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament. In respect of ACP countries, DG ECHO also draws on financial resources available under the European Development Fund (EDF), which has a provision for emergency and humanitarian aid.

In practice, the Commission applies the same principles and guidelines for aid financed from the EDF and aid from the general budget. It uses the Framework Partnership Agreement for operations funded from either source.

The table gives a breakdown of DG ECHO expenditure over the last five years - English Pdf file


DG ECHO implements its mission by funding Community humanitarian actions through partners such as UN agencies (UN), NGOs and international organisations (IO).

The chart below gives the relative share of funding of these three categories of partners for 2010 - English Pdf file and on a five-year period. The share of funding to NGOs increased from 44% in 2008 to 50% in 2010 whereas over the same period the share of funding to the UN decreased from 46 to 39%. In 2008, the percentage of funding to the UN was particularly elevated due to the food crisis for which operations were mainly implemented by UN partners (WFP). The 2010 figures are again in line with figures before the food crisis - English Pdf file

Use of funds

DG ECHO reports in a transparent way on the activities, results and use of allocated resources. In line with article 19 of the Council Regulation, DG ECHO publishes an annual report which gives an extensive overview of the operations funded in the various countries and regions where DG ECHO provides assistance through its partners.

The implementation of the 2009 funds is summarised in the following table - English Pdf file

Details on funding decisions over the last four years can be found in the section on DG ECHO decisions.

Planning for 2011 and beyond

The financial resources earmarked for humanitarian aid in 2011 are as follows (in millions of Euros) - English Pdf file. This initial budget has been reinforced in 2011, bringing the total humanitarian funding up to € 1.1 billion.

In line with best donor practices DG ECHO establishes a budgetary planning for the year ahead. This planning is based on the guidelines and horizontal and operational priorities defined in the strategy for 2011.

The operational strategy is transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council.

In line with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid DG ECHO ensures full transparency in its funding plans in order to optimise aid coordination and effectiveness. The budgetary allocations for 2012 - English Pdf file as defined in the budgetary planning are indicative and given the volatile environment in which humanitarian aid is implemented, they may be subject to changes throughout the year. Moreover, in line with the Council and European Parliament guidelines, a portion of the initial operational budget remains unallocated in order to address changing priorities, the worsening of existing crises and new emerging crises. Due to the increasing number of natural disasters, it was decided for 2012 to set aside 19% of the budget to respond to such needs.

The basis for the annual budgets are the financial programming agreed upon the Council for the period 2007-2013 - English Pdf file. The given amounts are indicative and need to be discussed and adopted each year by the budgetary authority (Council of Ministers and European Parliament).