European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Service tools

Capacity building

Carers at a physiotherapy session.
© The Johanniter/Paul Hahn Juli/2010

Why is this important?

Global humanitarian needs are on the increase due to a growing number in the last years of natural and man-made disasters, namely protracted crises. Even though funding for humanitarian assistance has increased significantly, it has not been able to keep up with the reality on the ground. The capacity of humanitarians to deliver aid and respond to needs via the traditional means has been stretched to the limit.

How are we helping?

The World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 and the process leading up to it were opportunities to address these challenges. There are a range of actors with different mandates, capacities, specialisations and institutional cultures in the humanitarian eco-system. During the Summit, a shared understanding of how to better work together emerged.

The capacity to respond to humanitarian needs in an effective and efficient manner is very closely linked to the capacity of this eco-system to work in a coordinated and complementary ways. The European Commission contributes to this process. It helps increase the response capacity as well as shape the governance of the international humanitarian system, notably through the Enhanced Response Capacity (ERC) funds.

The ERC provides seed funding to initiatives which develop and roll-out new approaches to ways of working. These initiatives are expected to be subsequently integrated into permanent structures, ensuring continuity and long-term resources, so that every euro spent has a greater impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people.

Targeted support through funding mechanisms like the ERC can help improve and adjust the humanitarian eco-system through innovation; it can support the introduction of new tools to be used by all relevant parties and contribute to creating a body of knowledge.

In recent years, ERC has supported, amongst others, the capacity of humanitarian actors to better treat malnutrition, respond in urban humanitarian crises, use solar energy for sustainable water supply in refugee camps, increase access to care and healing for survivors of gender-based violence, increase the knowledge and capacity of duty-bearers (authorities, arms carriers, etc.) on the respect for international humanitarian law and supported the use of cash transfers to affected populations in emergency settings. 

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