DG ECHO's mandate, as defined in the Humanitarian Aid Regulation (the Regulation), is implemented through financing Decisions that are adopted by the European Commission. A financing Decision constitutes a budgetary envelope, which is translated into one or more contracts ("agreements"). These financing decisions are thus the “legal base” for the funding of individual Actions. No Agreement may be concluded without the prior adoption of a financing Decision.
The financing Decision-making process for DG ECHO is governed by the Regulation and the internal rules of the European Commission. The process includes the consultation of the Member States, via the Humanitarian Aid Committee (HAC) and the right of scrutiny by the European Parliament (EP).
The administrative procedure that needs to be followed for adopting financing decisions has a paramount influence on the time necessary for completing the approval process. If the implementation of an Action depends on the signature of the Agreement, Partners have to take this matter into account when establishing the start date of an Action.
A financing Decision is taken to fund humanitarian operations in each country/region in accordance with the budgetary planning forecast at the end of each year and based on the assessment of humanitarian needs or for each new emergency or unforeseen intervention which occurred during the year (See financing decisions).
Each year, the Commission draws up strategic objectives for the delivery of its humanitarian aid. The objectives are based on a thorough assessment of existing and foreseeable future needs, using information provided by its own field experts and other humanitarian operators. In the case of a significant and unforeseen emergency, the Commission can request extra funding from the budgetary reserve.
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