How do we help?
Delivering aid to war victims in southern Somalia
© Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
Humanitarian aid is designed to help people in dire need as a result of natural disasters, epidemics, armed conflict or internal unrest.
The German Government funds appropriate relief projects run by UN humanitarian organizations, German NGOs and organizations of the Red Cross/Crescent Movement. The Federal Foreign Office is the lead ministry for this task.
The German Government’s policy on humanitarian aid is based on the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid as well as the so-called “Principles and Good Practice of Good Humanitarian Donorship”. Its policy here is guided by the requirements of those in need of humanitarian aid as well as a commitment to the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
Humane, neutral, impartial and independent
The principle of humanity means human suffering must be alleviated wherever it occurs. Attention focuses particularly on the most vulnerable population groups. The dignity of all victims must be preserved and protected.
Neutrality means that humanitarian aid is conducted without giving preferential treatment to either side in an armed conflict or other controversies.
Impartiality means that humanitarian aid is granted purely on the basis of need – without discriminating between victim groups.
The principle of independence means that humanitarian goals must not be subordinate to political, economic, military or other aims. The sole purpose of humanitarian aid must be to prevent or alleviate the suffering of victims of humanitarian crises.
Relief and prevention
The Federal Foreign Office funds humanitarian emergency and disaster aid, in particular help for refugees and internally displaced persons. It also promotes disaster reduction measures, which can help minimize the impact of natural disasters, alleviate human suffering and reduce material damage.
It is planned to transfer responsibility for development-oriented and transitional aid, currently located with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, to the Federal Foreign Office. This will result in a clearer division of labour in this area. The Federal Foreign Office will in future be responsible for the whole spectrum of the German Government’s humanitarian assistance, including emergency food aid.
Fast and unbureaucratic response to current emergencies
In 2011 the Federal Foreign Office spent over 85 million euro on responding to humanitarian crises around the world. Over this period the main focus of its efforts was to help victims of the civil war in Libya and the famine in the Horn of Africa as well as people affected by the protracted and complex crises in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan and South Sudan. The fast and unbureaucratic funding it channelled to professional aid agencies enabled them to carry out emergency aid projects that were often crucial in helping people to survive.
The Federal Foreign Office also made available an additional 13.6 million euros as voluntary contributions to the budgets of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
It likewise provided support for over 40 humanitarian demining and victim assistance projects.
In 2012 it is already clear that the need for humanitarian aid is likely to be considerable in the light of the unrest in Mali and the Sahel zone as well as the civil war in Syria.
Last updated 10.05.2012