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European Commission




In line with the Lisbon Treaty, the Humanitarian Aid Regulation and the Humaniatrian Consensus on humanitarian aid, the Commission, through ECHO, is committed to delivering aid to populations affected by natural or man-made disasters solely on the basis of needs.


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, ECHO has developed a two-phase framework for carrying out its needs assessments in specific countries and crises.


The first phase is a global evaluation with two dimensions:


  • The INFORM Index for Risk Management and Severity Index  are tools based on national indicators and data which allow for a comparative analysis of countries to identify their level of risk to humanitarian crisis and disaster. They have been developed in conjunction with several other major donors to provide an objective and verified evidence base for humanitarian aid decision making.


The Risk index is per country and includes natural and man-made hazards exposure, population vulnerability and national coping capacity.


The Severity Index covers the impact of a crisis (over one or several countries), the conditions of the people affected and the complexity of the crisis.


  • The FCA or Forgotten Crisis Assessment, identifies serious humanitarian crisis situations where the affected populations do not receive enough international aid or even none at all. These crises are characterised by low media coverage, a lack of donor interest (as measured through aid per capita) and a weak political commitment to solve the crisis, resulting in an insufficient presence of humanitarian actors.


The second phase of the framework focuses on context and response analysis. It verifies and complements the quantitative data with in-depth on-the-ground qualitative assessment by the European Commission's humanitarian field experts. It consists of a qualitative assessment of humanitarian needs per countries and crises, also taking into account the population affected and foreseeable trends.


These tools are intended to identify priority countries where humanitarian needs are likely to be greatest or most neglected and where Commission aid is most necessary. They are a common alternative reference framework used to ensure consistency in the allocation of resources among the various geographical zones according to their respective needs, to allow rapid ex post control of the allocation of resources and, finally, to ensure the credibility and transparency of the Commission’s humanitarian aid vis-à-vis the European citizen.



Is on the basis of the results of these assessments that ECHO drafts the annual strategy (General Guidelines and Operational Priorities), a document issued annually with the aim to co-ordinate and program the humanitarian aid activities efficiently and impartially, according to identified priorities.

The contents of the Annual Strategy are organized around the following 3 chapters:


a. General Context and Outlook for the current year: defines the context and the aim of the humanitarian actions.


b. Priorities chapter describes:


  • Hrizontal priorities, meaning the guiding principles of humanitarian actions;  
  • Operational Priorities: describes the methodology and the results of the needs assessments, contains the full list of forgotten crisis, and includes the Budget Planning for the current year;
  • Priorities per region and crisis


c. Delivery coordination and controls of Humanitarian aiddescribes the means and the ways of delivering humanitarian aid and the mechanism in place to ensure coordination and the exchange of information among the 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.