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The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid: putting fine principles into practice

With events such as Cyclone Nargis, the crisis in Georgia and complex and dangerous contexts like those in Chad and Darfur, humanitarianism remains as necessary as it ever was. However, political pressure is currently making it more and more difficult for the humanitarian sector to defend its principles. Will the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid help to improve this situation? How can its fine principles be put into practice?

This policy statement, which was adopted in 2007 by the European Parliament and all member States, raises numerous questions about key issues facing the sector (coordination, the quality of aid, crisis management, civil-military relations…). It is currently due to enter a second phase of application and the eyes of the aid sector will be on France as it takes on the presidency of the European Union for the second semester of 2008.

One of the reasons for drawing up this document was to respond to a need for clarification expressed by NGOs. However, certain areas remain unclear and the process of getting it up and running has been relatively slow, causing further concern. For all these reasons, we felt that there was a need to encourage debate about this document between humanitarian actors from all horizons.