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Archivio Emma Bonino commissario UE
IP/95/70 - 31 gennaio 1995


Brussels, 31st January 1995


Belgian Air Force pilots based in Kenya are on standby, ready to fly into southern Sudan with emergency aid under a European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) project the European Commission has approved this week.

The project, Operation Lifeline Sudan, will be funded with a 4 million Ecu contract and runs for six months from February 1995. It will enable pilots based in northern Kenya, flying a Hercules C-130 aircraft, to deliver essential supplies to communities and people displaced by ongoing civil war in Sudan. Many overland routes have been cut off because of the conflict.

Operation Lifeline Sudan is run under the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme, in collaboration with other non-governmental organisations in the field. The Belgian Air Force has been involved under an ECHO-financed contract since May 1994. The presence of pilots at a base in northern Kenya also means the international community has the capacity with which to respond to crises in Somalia or elsewhere in the region as necessary.

Cooperation between ECHO and the Belgian Air Force will be set out in a Memorandum of Understanding.


In recent years, the world has faced major crises in humanitarian terms (Kurdistan, Bangladesh, famine and civil wars in Africa, Eastern and Southern Europe, including former Yugoslavia and Albania) which highlighted a need to improve the response of the international community and, in particular, of the European Union to both natural and man-made disasters.

Since 1970 the European Community has considered humanitarian aid to developing and other third countries as an important part of its responsibilities. It saw that in order to respond more efficiently to these crises it must coordinate and concentrate resources. It became evident that an effort to provide immediate, efficient appropriate and better coordinated help to countries and people who needed it was an imperative. Hence the decision on 6 November 1991 creating ECHO, at the initiative of European Commission Vice-President Manuel MARIN.

The mandate received by ECHO from the Commission was to take full responsibility for a coherent administration of the following tasks (outside the borders of the Community) which had previously been carried out by several services within the Commission:

(a) Humanitarian Aid

(b) Emergency Food Aid

(c) Prevention and disaster preparedness activities

Apart from concentrating and re-organising the Commission's internal resources, increased efficiency was to be achieved through better external coordination with the Commission's partners (NGOs, UN agencies and international organisations), closer relations with Member States, disaster preparedness and readiness to engage in direct actions if other solutions were not available or inadequate.

The Commission formally created ECHO on 1 April 1992; the organisation become fully operational at the beginning of 1993. In order to carry out the various aspects of its mandate and respond to the numerous crises during 1993 with a total allocation level of around 600 million ECU.

For 1993 alone, around 600 million ECU (i.e. approx. 700 million USD) has been allocated for humanitarian aid to : ex-Yugoslavia (63.4 per cent), the rest of Eastern europe (0.1 per cent), ACP countries (16.1per cent), the republics of the former Soviet Union (8.2 per cent), Iraq (3.4 per cent), the rest of Asia (3.2 per cent), Latin America (2.0 per cent), and North Africa (3.6 per cent).

Argomenti correlati:
unione europea
operation lifeline sudan
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