The EU (European Union) is currently the largest provider of humanitarian aid, accounting for 50% of worldwide relief assistance. While the world is characterized by growing natural disasters and increasingly complex conflicts, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, Kristalina Georgieva, said in an interview that this it is the time to push for operational efficiency and comprehensive humanitarian policies (Devex, 2011).
There is a growing worldwide concern that the humanitarian space is being encroached, roles blurred and security undermined; yet humanitarian actors and donors are increasingly turning to civil protection and military assets. In a race to respond as quickly as possible, most actors choose to tap into military resources, without considering long-term consequences. The EC leadership too promotes and believes in the complementarily of civil protection, military and humanitarian assistance, although recommends their use as a measure of last resort- in line with the Oslo Guidelines.
The new strategy presented by the Communication from the EC (European Commission) to the European Parliament and the Council is the first step towards the integration of EU civil protection capacities within the humanitarian assistance framework. The Humanitarian Assistance’s mandate is to save and preserve the lives of victims in third countries and is implemented through external partners, such as NGOs. In contrast, the EC Civil Protection covers both EU and third country territories, ensures immediate relief (such as rescue operations) and is implemented through civil protection authorities. If espousing the two different and sometimes contradictory operational and ideological approaches has been the only way to increase EU’s emergency response capacity and adaptation to current changes, ensuring that their marriage lasts represents the biggest challenge yet for the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Commissioner.
3. European Commission: