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European Commission




In line with the Lisbon Treaty, the Humanitarian Aid Regulation and the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, the European Commission, through DG ECHO, is committed to delivering aid to the most vulnerable people caught up in humanitarian crises and disasters.  


To implement its policy of assisting people with the greatest humanitarian needs and to ensure that its priorities are identified according to the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence, the EU’s humanitarian funding follows a concrete needs assessment.

The funding allocation is based on sound analysis and evidence to make the most effective use of available funds.

Every year, DG ECHO reviews their assessment of humanitarian needs. This is done through:

the use of internationally recognised indices, namely:


  • the INFORM Risk Index identifies where the level of risk of humanitarian crises and disasters stands in countries, and
  • the INFORM Severity Index objectively measures and compares the severity of humanitarian crises and disasters worldwide
  • assessments carried out by its humanitarian experts, including those present on the ground through its network of field offices across the globe.


This information comes together in the European Commission’s Humanitarian Implementation Plans. These documents are published at the beginning of each year and updated throughout the year as needed. They contain the prioritisation of needs for the different regions where the EU provides assistance.


Alongside this exercise, DG ECHO also conducts a Forgotten Crises Assessment. Its purpose is to ensure aid reaches those affected by “forgotten crises” by identifying protracted humanitarian crises where there is an insufficient international response and a weak political commitment to solve the crisis. This is then checked against the main funding allocation, to ensure DG ECHO reaches the most vulnerable.


On the basis of the results of these assessments DG ECHO drafts the Annual Strategy (General Guidelines and Operational Priorities), a document to co-ordinate and programme humanitarian aid activities efficiently and impartially, according to identified priorities.

The content of the Annual Strategy is organised around the following three chapters:


a. General Context and Outlook for the Current Year: defines the context and the aim of the humanitarian actions.


b. Priorities Chapter describes:


  • Horizontal Priorities, such as improving aid effectiveness, efficiency and quality of operations as well as sectoral policies;  
  • Operational Priorities: describes the methodology and the results of the needs assessments, the result of DG ECHO’s Forgotten Crises Assessment, and includes the Budget Planning for the current year;
  • Priorities per Region and Crisis


c. Delivery, Coordination and Control of Humanitarian Aid: describes the means and the ways of delivering humanitarian aid, and the mechanism in place to ensure coordination and the exchange of information among humanitarian actors. Furthermore, it identifies the controls that will ensure the correct implementation of EU funded operations and the mechanisms that will ensure coordination and exchange of information during the crisis response.