The provision of funding for urgent responses to humanitarian crises is a shared competence of the Member States and the Union(1), whose actions complement and reinforce each other. The Council, at both ministerial and working party level, analyses humanitarian needs around the world. Based on this analysis as well as other considerations, Member States decide on the level of humanitarian assistance to provide for each crisis. The overall amount of humanitarian funding available from the EU budget is decided jointly by the Council and the European Parliament as the EU’s budgetary authority.
On 19 May 2017, the Council addressed the most urgent humanitarian crises, including the food insecurity crisis and near-famine situations in the Horn of Africa, with a view to stepping up the humanitarian response. The Council stressed the need to quickly disburse the generous pledges made at recent donor conferences and examined ways to improve coordination between humanitarian and development aid instruments and effective joint initiatives in both fields(2).
On 31 March 2017, the Council approved the Commission’s proposal to transfer EUR 65 million in commitment appropriations and EUR 50 million in payment appropriations from the 2017 Emergency Aid Reserve to step up the EU response to severe drought conditions in the Horn of Africa(3).
As regards longer-term measures, back in November 2011, the Council adopted the EU Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa(4) which highlighted, in particular, the need to address the underlying causes of structural food insecurity in the Horn of Africa.
In May 2012, the Council noted that the severe food crisis in the region served to underline the importance of a comprehensive approach addressing the security, fragility and development nexus.
In order to support its long-term efforts, it vowed to further enhance the effectiveness of food and nutrition security in the Horn of Africa, working in close coordination with the countries of the region, IGAD, the African Union (AU) and other partners, including local actors(5).
In its Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan 2015-2020(6), adopted in October 2015, the Council acknowledged that climate change exacerbated pressure on scarce resources and that the livelihoods of large numbers of people already affected by poverty and food insecurity were further worsened by erratic rainfall and crop yields.