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Archivio Emma Bonino commissario UE
Commissione Europea - 22 febbraio 1995

The European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) was set up in 1992. It is a service of the Commission under the direct responsibility of Commissioner Emma Bonino.

ECHO is responsible for managing humanitarian aid to all non-European Union countries. It looks after the preparation of actions, their implementation, management, financing, follow-up and evaluation. There is a special fast-track procedure to authorise actions, reflecting the need to deliver emergency aid fast. The Commission and/or the Council of Ministers authorises actions in the context of the Union's policy on humanitarian aid to third countries.

ECHO humanitarian aid is given without regard to race, religion or political convictions. It comprises essential goods and services - food, medial aid, shelter, logistical support, transport.

The specialist agencies of the United Nations and non-governamental organisations that have signed a framework agreement with ECHO carry out the work in the field. Among the UN organisations with which ECHO works are the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA).

ECHO's mandate from the Commission covers the following specific areas:

- General humanitarian aid, usually for those fleeing long-running civil wars.

- Emergency humanitarian aid, financing first aid and crisis management for victims of natural catastrophe or civil wars. Emergency food aid is sent to people threatened by famine for the same reasons.

- Aid for refugees or displaced people is earmarked for those who need it, both in the country or region that hosts them, or to help them resettle when they go back home.

- Disaster preparedness is an important strand of ECHO activity, covering early warning systems and the financing of disaster prevention in high-risk countries.

- ECHO has specific budgets for humanitarian aid in central and eastern Europe, the independent states of the former Soviet Union, and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

ECHO is the biggest donor of aid in the world. In 1994, ECHO granted aid worth over 764 million European Currency Units (Ecu) in 65 countries. The European Union has contributed nearly one billion Ecu in humanitarian aid since the beginning of the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia.

Argomenti correlati:
echo background
commissione europea
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