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European Commission




The EU promotes a continuous dialogue between all parties involved in humanitarian assistance (e.g. humanitarian actors, donors, and banks) to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need and to find practical solutions to obstacles thereto.


DG ECHO engages with policy processes at both the international and EU level in order to increase policy coherence and diminish the adverse unintended consequences of sanctions on humanitarian aid. It also engages to safeguard humanitarian space in the design and implementation of sanctions and counter-terrorism legislation.


DG ECHO actively participates in various advocacy activities and awareness raising events, promoting the EU position/approach and engaging with all partners.


For instance:


US Treasurers Roundtable 2021 Annual Conference – Session on Global Perspectives on Humanitarian Risk Requirements, 13 July 2021


The Deputy Head of Unit of DG ECHO E.1 Charles Pirotte attended the session on Global Perspectives on Humanitarian Risk Requirements within the US Treasures Roundtable 2021 Annual Conference, as a Panel Speaker. He was joined by Sharon Harvey from UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and Sasha Bennett-Roomipoor of US Agency for International Development. The panel discussion focused on humanitarian risk requirements set by donors in navigating the delivery of humanitarian aid into sanctioned environments.


GHD High Level Meeting on ‘Bank de-risking and the transfer of humanitarian funds into fragile contexts’, 29 June 2021

The last high level meeting under the EU/EC/DG ECHO and Swiss co-chairmanship was dedicated to bank de-risking and action-oriented suggestions to tackle this issue. Co-chaired by Deputy Director General of DG ECHO Michael Koehler and  Head of the Department of Humanitarian Aid in the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Manuel Bessler, the  keynote speakers at the meeting were Jan Egeland (Secretary-General of NRC and Eminent Person of the Grand Bargain), Justine Walker (Head of Global Sanctions and Risk at ACAMS) and Chloe Cina (Director of Global Sanctions and Embargoes at Deutsche Bank).


GHD Expert Level Meeting on the impact of Counter-Terrorism measures on humanitarian action, 15 April 2021

The GHD co-chairs (EU/DG ECHO and Switzerland) organised and chaired this online expert-level meeting. The co-chairs of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Results Group 3 (IASC RG3) sub-group on counter terrorism, namely OCHA, Inter Action and Save the Children, presented the work done by the sub-group and by the individual organisations on CT measures. Representatives from Australia and Belgium followed by sharing their experiences and lessons learnt from the donors’ perspective.  

Conférence nationale humanitaire (CNH), 17 December 2020

Ms Paraskevi MICHOU, Director-General of DG ECHO, participated in a round table on ‘The impact of sanctions regimes and counter-terrorism measures on humanitarian aid’ organised within the framework of the 5th French National Humanitarian Conference. The Conference ended with a concluding roundtable, where Mr Janez Lenarčič European Commissioner for Crisis Management intervened.


VOICE webinar on ‘EU restrictive measures impact on humanitarian aid: Between a principled view for exemptions and a pragmatic approach for an effective derogation process’, 11 December 2020

This was the second workshop on this topic organised by VOICE, network of 85 humanitarian NGOs. It brought together NGOs, external experts, European Member States and representatives from the EU institutions.


This report captures the findings of an online survey on the impacts of sanctions and counter-terrorism restrictive measures on VOICE member NGOs, and the VOICE Webinar on EU Restrictive Measures and Humanitarian Aid: Between a principled view for exemptions and a pragmatic approach for an effective derogation process.

ECOSOC HAS side event on ‘Counterterrorism, Sanctions and Principled Humanitarian Action in the COVID-19 response’, 11 June 2020

As one of the side-events convened during the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS), which built on the HAS 2020 theme of “Reinforcing humanitarian assistance in the context of the 75th anniversary of the UN”, this event looked at the impact of counterterrorism and sanctions measures on principled humanitarian action in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.  The panel explored the daily operational challenges faced by humanitarian organisations as they carry out their work, as echoed in a growing body of research. It discussed the need to reaffirm the fundamental importance of the humanitarian principles and to ensure that counter-terrorism measures and sanctions do not weaken adherence to them, seeking to identify ways to ensure that such measures are consistent with Member State obligations under International Humanitarian Law, ensuring people-centered solutions and strengthening effectiveness.  The virtual panel debate was chaired and moderated by DG ECHO.


Launch event: Toolkit for principled humanitarian action, 5 June 2020

A webinar was organised by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and hosted by the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP) for the launch of the Toolkit for Principled Humanitarian Action: Managing Counterterrorism Risks, Mr Janez Lenarčič European Commissioner for Crisis Management intervened outlining the EU approach to counterterrorism risk in the humanitarian space, referring to specific measures taken by EU to protect the humanitarian space, also in the context of COVID-19 response.


VOICE workshop on ‘Impact of EU sanctions and restrictive measures on humanitarian action’, 19 November 2019

The workshop organised by VOICE, network of 85 humanitarian NGOs, brought together NGOs, external experts, European Member States and representatives from the EU institutions. It aimed to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of the topic for humanitarians and further start dialogue and build trust among the different stakeholders.


First GHD High Level Meeting under EU/DG ECHO - Switzerland co-chairmanship, 24 October 2018

The European Union and Switzerland hosted the first High-Level Meeting under their co-chairmanship of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative. The meeting was co-chaired by Monique Pariat, Director General of DG ECHO, and Jean-Luc Bernasconi, Deputy Head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid.

The meeting was dedicated to a discussion of the co-chairs' suggested priorities and the theme of "Counter-terrorism measures and humanitarian engagement: Safeguarding humanitarian space and ensuring principles and effective humanitarian action".