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ECHO is 20 years old

This year is the 20th anniversary of the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO). It is also the year in which the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. These are reasons for celebration, but also for remaining vigilant… Since the creation of ECHO, we have been lucky enough to be at the heart of debates in the sector. In 2003, Groupe URD and the University of Créteil organized a conference on “10 years of European humanitarian action: review, challenges and perspectives”. Already the challenges of preserving the independence of European humanitarian action were obvious. Though the signing of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid in 2006, which was the theme of our 6th Autumn School on Humanitarian Aid in 2008, was a significant step forward, many risks remain, such as ECHO becoming just an instrument of Europe’s foreign policy and just a complement of its crisis management tools. Europe grew in stature by preserving the independence of its humanitarian office and protecting it from purely political interference. It would be a tragedy to go back on this positive development.

Read more about ECHO’s 20th Anniversary: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/20/index_en.htm

Watch different testimonies, including one by François Grünewald: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/20/testimonies/index_en.htm

Read more about the conference: “10 years of European humanitarian action: review, challenges and perspectives” (in French)