In accordance with the humanitarian principles, the European Union seeks to address the needs of the most vulnerable people facing humanitarian crises and disasters. Assessing needs refers to obtaining and analysing information about the needs of people suffering from crises. Assessment provides evidence to decide if external intervention is required and contributes to the design and implementation of an adequate humanitarian response.
Humanitarian needs have increased massively over the past few years, and humanitarian funds have struggled to keep up. This has resulted in a growing gap between needs and response. States, humanitarian organisations and other stakeholders have made an effort to bridge this gap by committing to work more efficiently and effectively together through initiatives such as the Grand Bargain.
Many countries are prone to recurrent crises because of weather patterns or unstable internal situations. Gathering information and monitoring risks help decision-making and consequently ensures that humanitarian assistance is delivered in a timely and targeted manner. Assessment and monitoring contribute enable humanitarian organisations to be better prepared and able to proactively intervene when enhanced risks of crises are identified.
Finally, some crises receive limited attention from media and the international donor community. Nevertheless, people affected by such “forgotten crises” are often among the most vulnerable and cannot be neglected.
The European Union delivers its humanitarian aid on the basis of the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence as set out in the Lisbon Treaty and confirmed in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid. However, resources are scarce in the face of current and future crises and allocation choices need to be based on evidence.
The European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has developed a two-phase framework to assess and analyse needs across countries and crises. This framework provides the evidence to prioritise needs, allocate funding, and develop the humanitarian implementations plans (HIPs).
The first phase is a global evaluation with two dimensions:
The second phase of the framework focuses on context and response analysis.
The European Commission is also committed to improve the capacity, quality, and coordination of needs-assessment approaches across the humanitarian sector. It is a co-convener of the Grand Bargain Needs Assessment Work Stream, together with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Additionally, the European Commission: