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European Commission




Aid Diversion occurs when, due to the action or inaction of actor/s external to the International Organisation, its staff or its implementing partner(s), aid is prevented from reaching the Action’s intended beneficiaries or activities. It happens when aid is taken, stolen or damaged by actor/s external to the International Organisation, its staff or its implementing partner(s) before it reaches its intended beneficiaries, or the planned activities are implemented.


In the context of humanitarian aid, these actors may include any governmental, local or community authorities, armed groups, militants or looters. Aid diversion takes place most commonly:


  • During transport/distribution/storage of aid – Any third party, such as local militia, military, non-targeted population or public officials may forcefully divert aid on the road to/from a warehouse or at/to the intended location. Aid may be stolen, diverted or delayed to meet the preferences of local elites or to extort money or favours. Theft may occur during the transfer of goods from storage or during the distribution process.


  • Payment for access to aid resources or beneficiaries – Government officials or local militia may block the flow of aid by demanding bribes or kickbacks from International Organisations’ staff, suppliers, traders and transporters in return for access to the people in need, or to the aid resources that the International Organisation needs (e.g. goods in customs warehouse).


Damage, loss and waste of aid by the International Organisation and its implementing partners are not considered as aid diversion by DG ECHO. This can happen for several reasons, such as climate conditions, car accident, wildfire, etc. In these cases, DG ECHO may follow-up if there is suspicion of lack of diligence and sub-standard management practices on the part of the International Organisation and/or its implementing partners.


Aid Diversion might take place due to reasons that would qualify as constituting force majeure. At final liquidation stage of the action, DG ECHO will assess if there was force majeure, whether the International Organisation acted in due diligence or whether the facts reported reveal concerns as regards the use of appropriate management procedures and practices. More guidance on the criteria for the establishment of force majeure and on how to interpret these sample questions is available on the Partners' helpdesk.


Due to its external nature, aid diversion is different to fraud. The definition of fraud can be found in Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 and Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities’ financial interests.

Where aid is prevented from reaching its intended beneficiaries due to the action or inaction of the International Organisation, its staff or its implementing partner(s), then the incident is a fraud matter and should be reported immediately to DG ECHO by email to by filling in the Fraud Allegation Reporting Form. For more information, visit the Fraud and Irregularities page.

In case of doubts in the qualification (aid diversion or fraud), please refer the case to


Where an International Organisation decides to submit a proposal in operational contexts with a known risk of aid diversion, they should identify the risks and propose mitigating measures, including if necessary adapted operational approaches. This information shall be provided in section 7.5 (Assumptions and risks (including risk of fraudulent activities and environmental risk)) of the Single Form.

The fact that a risk is identified at proposal stage does not prevent incidents occurring during that Action later being considered as incidents of Force majeure.

Over the duration of the action, full implementation of those mitigating measures is expected, together with a frequent review of those measures to make sure they remain adapted to the context.


If your Organisation becomes aware of an incident of aid diversion that impacts a DG ECHO funded project, the case should be reported to the desk officer. The Aid Diversion Reporting Form, which offers a thorough indication of the information needed to examine the case, may be used for reporting. The desk officer will review the information provided, its operational and financial impact and may require further information / documentation to assess the situation.

Aid Diversion Reporting Form