Glossary of summaries

Help Export PDF Print this page 

Humanitarian aid

The European Union and the 28 EU countries represent the world's leading humanitarian aid donor.

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) aims to save and preserve life, prevent and alleviate human suffering and safeguard the integrity and dignity of populations outside the EU affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. Its mandate also covers risk reduction and disaster preparedness.

ECHO's actions are needs-based and conducted in compliance with international law and with the international humanitarian principles (humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence) which are enshrined in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid. EU-funded aid is carried out in partnerships with international organisations (such as United Nations agencies or the international component of the Red Cross-Red Crescent movement), humanitarian non-governmental organisations or specialised agencies of EU countries. Aid covers areas such as food and nutrition, shelter, health, water and sanitation.

Article 214 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU created the basis for a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, which provides opportunities for volunteers to engage in humanitarian aid.