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Providing quality solutions to humanitarian crises

African men distributing boxes with the AECID logo


Humanitarian action faces a series of challenges produced by the changes that have occurred on the international scene in recent years. On the one hand, humanitarian crises have changed, both in terms of their origin as well as their type and dynamics:

  • A significant increase of victims has been observed due to the effects of climate change linked to the degradation of environmental conditions that, together with structural socio-economic vulnerability, puts a growing number of an increasingly diverse range of people in a high-risk situation.
  • Many of the previously mentioned characteristics have been accentuated, such as a reduction in conventional conflicts and increased levels of violence against civil populations, which generate spaces of vulnerability and flows of displaced peoples.
  • The turbulent state of the global economy and the volatility of the prices of basic product, which has increased the level of exposure to food crises.
  • The security conditions in humanitarian contexts have deteriorated, making it increasingly difficult to reach the affected populations.

A series of chance elements must also be added to this situation.

  • Firstly, the distinguished group of new participants to have joined the humanitarian sector (from new donor States to the incorporation of private organisations) and secondly, the increasingly active role played by participants in aid-recipient countries (public administrations or civil society organisations). The challenge will be to integrate their efforts and "ability to connect" in a coherent manner with the fundamental principles of humanitarian action and to encourage new participants to contribute beyond a solely financial level.
  • On the other hand, the international humanitarian system has made progress towards greater coherence in response coordination, learning from past responses to large-scale disasters. One of the responses to have shaped this progress is the UN-backed Transformative Agenda in terms of improving the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of humanitarian response.

Spanish Humanitarian Action reaffirms its commitment to humanitarian principles such as independence, humanity, neutrality and impartiality, as well as to the Oslo Guidelines, the Principles and Good Practices of Humanitarian Donorship and the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid. Thereby reaffirming the Sector-specific Humanitarian Action Strategy for Spanish Cooperation. Spanish Humanitarian Aid will seek to apply this strategy in its own cooperation policy and programmes, as well as to promote it throughout Spain (among other public agencies and private participants) and at international forums.

Generally speaking, Spanish Humanitarian Aid will be structured around the following key concepts:

1. Driving forward victim protection and the application of IHL

2. Promoting protection of the humanitarian space

3. Boosting participation in the HERID

In coordination with the AECID Office for Humanitarian Action, monitoring the World Food Programme 2014-2016 Management Plan.

To achieve our goal of a providing quality and effective crisis response, the Office for Humanitarian Action has established two key lines of work:

a) Focusing on specific crises and supporting global humanitarian funds

Geographic focus: 70% of the budget is allocated to Syria and neighbouring countries, the Philippines, the Sahel (Niger, Mali), Sahrawi refugee camps, Latin American and the Caribbean, Colombia, Southern Sudan and Palestine. The remaining 30% is earmarked for supporting unmarked global appeals made by organisations such as the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Red Cross International Committee or the IFRC DREF, being considered as especially flexible mechanisms for emergency aid.

- We act through the donation of humanitarian funds to various international organisations with a clear humanitarian profile, such as the UNHCR, ICRC, FAO, OCHA/UNDP, WHO, PAHO, UFNPA and UNICEF, as well as by means of agreements signed between the AECID and humanitarian NGOs of proven experience and standing (8 strategic partners will channel approximately 80% of funds) or through concrete financial support of projects with a clear humanitarian focus.

b) Integrated approach of intervention and sectoral specialisation

- The nature of current crises calls for a body such as the AECID to adopt a coherent and integrated approach, based on crisis response preparation, support for early warning systems (EWS) and contingency plans, as well as on the LRRD approach (linking relief, rehabilitation and development) in combination with local and regional capacity-building. The Office for Humanitarian Action will look to boost exchange and participation in analysis processes, policy discussions and humanitarian projects with other Development Cooperation participants. Our teams in the field will be formed from the best regional humanitarian-aid workers at the AECID Technical Cooperation Offices in, or near to, the above-listed priority locations. A gender-based approach will be introduced across all activities and projects.
- In 2014, we will continue to focus on four key areas of intervention to reduce mortality rates in humanitarian crises: Food Security and Nutrition (40%); Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Health; and Protection and Coordination.

c) Direction response to sudden crises, especially those caused by natural disasters.

- Spanish Cooperation will provide emergency aid in special large-scale cases of natural disasters which overwhelm the operation capacities of the affected country and in which the added value of Spanish Cooperation is obvious in sectors such as health response, water and sanitation and basis non-food requirements. During 2014, the Office for Humanitarian Action aims to improve links with the system of operational and technical partners trained in emergency response through the definition and launch of a Contingency Plan for Emergencies. This plan will identify the cases to which they could respond and the types of response and roles played by different bodies involved in the emergency response and its coordination. It will also cover the launch of a classification system and register of these partners to streamline their participation in direct operations and facilitate their mobilisation in international response mechanisms.


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