"Linking relief, rehabilitation and development is essential if we want to make a long-term difference in a fragile situation like the CAR crisis. The “Bêkou” Trust Fund will benefit the long-suffering population of the country, and will also contribute to reducing the fragility caused by this crisis in the wider region" said Kristalina Georgieva, the former European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
More than 2.5 million people in the Central African Republic (CAR) (out of a population of 4.6 million) are in need of humanitarian aid. As of 17 October, there were more than 410,000 internally displaced persons in the country. At this point, over 427 256 people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
The scale of the 2013 political and security crisis in CAR, laying on and causing the deepening of difficulties pertaining to infrastructure, the provision of basic services and the functioning of the administration, called for international aid that is structured and tailored to situations of fragility and can be organised quickly and efficiently.
Thanks to the new Financial Regulation (2013) that authorises the European Commission to set up and manage European trust funds under an agreement concluded with other donors, new EU trust funds have been specifically devised for crisis or post-crisis situations. Indeed, EU trust funds were designed to avoid what experience has shown that the weakness of the national or local administrations, combined with a sudden increase in the number of donors, leads to disorganisation and a fragmentation of the response of the international community, thus hampering an effective and sustainable contribution to the reconstruction of a country.
It is in this context that the first multi-donor EU Trust Fund called Bêkou, which means "hope" in Sango, was established on 15 July 2014, by the European Union (represented by the DG DEVCO, DG ECHO and the EEAS) and three of its Member States: France, Germany and the Netherlands, with the aim to promote the stabilisation and reconstruction of the Central African Republic. It has been established for a maximum duration of 60 months in order to provide a medium-term response.
The Bêkou Trust Fund adds a new string to the European system's bow. It makes it possible to move beyond coordination between Member States and put in place a real joint organisation of resources, expertise and implementation capacity. Indeed, faced with a situation as difficult as that of the Central African Republic, an 'aid orphan' country, in which all the technical and financial partners were already having great difficulty in executing projects before the current crisis, this tool streamlines the intervention set-up, focuses the human and technical resources deployed in the field and creates a real joint dynamic.
Moreover, the Bêkou Trust Fund takes into account the lessons learned from past crises and the fact that the current situation in the Central African Republic is part "of a complex emergency" with a strong interlocking of political, economic and humanitarian issues, and thus the coexistence in the field of emergency and transitional situations. Consequently, it was designed taking into consideration the need to better link the reconstruction/development programmes with the humanitarian response (Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development - LRRD) in order to build the capacity of the Central African Republic.
The innovative approach of this Trust Fund results also in its governance. Through collegial command with the participation of the authorities of the Central African Republic at its every stage, each donor can express itself during all these stages.
Bêkou Trust Fund is governed at two levels:
Bêkou is managed by the European Commission, and more particularly by a team led by the Trust Fund Manager that is responsible for the daily management of the Fund.
The authorities of the Central African Republic receive support from and also work with a pool of coordinated partners who can mobilise significant funds over a period of several years.
It helps to streamline donor operations by:
Bêkou Trust Fund offers donors a flexible and safe method of financing activities in the context of multipartner cooperation. It enables them to give form to and act upon their political commitment to resolving the crisis in the Central African Republic without incurring prohibitive transaction costs.
The donors also have the guarantee that the Trust Fund is managed by the European Commission, which assumes financial liability and acts in accordance with the principles and standards applicable to the budget of the European Union.
Moreover, the Trust Fund aims to rely on the expertise of the partners that have a continuous presence in the field, such as the European Union, the French, the German and the Dutch development cooperation, that can permit, thanks to their knowledge and competencies, other donors that are not present on the ground, to contribute to the recovery and development of the Central African Republic.
The Trust Fund is open to all Member States of the EU as well as other donors that wish to help achieve its goals.
For more information, please contact: EuropeAid-E1-TRUST-FUND-BEKOU@ec.europa.eu