European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Humanitarian partners

Cooperation with partners is a priority. Photo credit: Anne-Francoise MOFFROID

The European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) works with over 200 partners organisations to provide humanitarian assistance throughout the world. Humanitarian partners include non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations, United Nations agencies, and specialised agencies of EU Member States.

Having a diverse range of partners is important for the EU  because it allows for comprehensive coverage of the ever-expanding needs across the world – and in increasingly complex situations. The EU has developed increasingly close working relationships with its partners at the level of both policy issues and management of humanitarian operations.

More information about existing partners, types of partnerships, and procedures for becoming one are available on the ECHO Partners' website.

Becoming a partner

To become a humanitarian partner of the European Commission, organisations must apply for a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA).

FPAs may be concluded between the Commission and the organisations either under the Humanitarian Aid Regulation (HAR) or under the Emergency Support Regulation (ESR).

In both cases, partners are selected based on specific criteria and legal and financial requirements, as well as quality standards. This helps ensure that partnerships are of value to both the European Commission and the applying organisation.

For instructions on how to become a European Commission humanitarian partner, please visit the ECHO Partners' website.

  • NGO Framework Partnership Agreement

The relationship between the Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and its non-governmental partners is governed by the NGO Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA). The FPA sets out the principles and the conditions for the partnership, as well as the objectives and conditions that must be met when undertaking EU-funded humanitarian operations. All the actions and objectives are defined so that they make the best use of the funds provided and are as effective as possible.

  • International Organisations Framework Partnership Agreement

The Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has signed International Organisations Framework Partnership Agreements with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies (IFRC) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Similarly to the case of NGOs, the agreements outline the objectives and conditions of the collaboration.

  • United Nations Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement

The Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) contributes to specific actions, projects or programmes administered by the United Nations through its agencies. The Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA) establishes the overall legal framework for all agreements between the EU and the UN. More information is available on the ECHO-UN Partnership website

  • EU Member State specialised agencies

The Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) also works with a number of EU Member States' specialised agencies. There is no specific framework agreement in these partnerships. Agencies formally accept the General Conditions applicable to EU-funded humanitarian aid grant agreements.

  • Humanitarian Procurement Centres

Humanitarian procurement centres (HPCs) are not-for-profit organisations specialised in the technical and commercial management of supplies and services necessary for the implementation of humanitarian actions. To facilitate humanitarian procurement of its partners, the Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) maintains a register of recognised HPCs (which does not entail a contractual relationship with them).

Call for Expression of Interest for Programmatic Partnerships with NGO FPA partners

At the World Humanitarian Summit, the world's major humanitarian donors and aid organisations signed the Grand Bargain. Its main objective is to improve the way humanitarian aid is delivered by making it more effective and efficient, thereby reaching more people in need.

In line with these objectives, the Commission is seeking to develop new and more strategic ways of working with main humanitarian partners. In this vein, the Commission will select up to three NGO FPA partners interested in engaging in an innovative pilot programmatic partnership in the context of the Humanitarian Implementation Plans 2020.

More information can be found in the Call for Expression of Interest and the annex. The deadline for submission of the Expression of Interest is 6 September 2019.

Click here for questions and answers (updated 30 August 2019)

Visibility manual for partner organisations

Partner organisations, implementing EU-funded humanitarian projects, are contractually obliged to acknowledge the partnership with the EU and the support received in all the related activities. This includes displaying the EU visual identity prominently on project sites.

A dedicated visibility website assists partner organisations in complying with visibility requirements.

The site provides a comprehensive manual, covering field visibility, press relations, web and social media, multimedia products, print publications, and events.

Annual Partners' Conference

Every year, humanitarian partners are invited to discuss recent developments, challenges and opportunities in the humanitarian sector. The annual conference serves as a platform for the EU's partners to present their views, experiences and participate in workshops where future actions and ideas are discussed.

For more information about this annual conference, visit the ECHO Partners' website.  

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