The European Commission's Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) aims to save and preserve life, prevent and alleviate human suffering and safeguard the integrity and dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
Together, the EU and its Member States were the largest international aid donor and were at the forefront of the response to all major crises around the world.
Headquartered in Brussels with a global network of field offices, ECHO ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance through its two main instruments: humanitarian aid and civil protection. By bringing together the two under one roof in 2010, the Commission has built up a more robust and effective European mechanism for disaster response both inside and outside the EU
Through its humanitarian aid and civil protection instruments, the EU provided substantial needs-based emergency assistance in 2014 for a total commitment of EUR 1 273 million and approximately 121 million people affected by natural or man-made disasters, or protracted crises received help.
Humanitarian country context in Mozambique
Mozambique is a low-income least developed country (LILDC), with 70% of the population living below the poverty line. The poverty situation affects greatly to the existing vulnerabilities to disasters, as well as to the respective coping mechanisms. About 65% of Mozambicans live in rural areas and engage in small-scale rain-fed agriculture for the production of staple food and cash crops, as well as rearing livestock. The country's economy is based largely on agriculture, which employs roughly 80% of the country's population in mostly subsistence activities, which are often vulnerable to emergencies.
Humanitarian crises in Mozambique are recurrent almost every year and displacement of affected people is common. Mozambique suffers mainly form hydrological disasters, which affect the entire country: regular floods along its principal rivers, particularly in the Zambezi and Limpopo river basins; Cyclones affecting the country almost annually; and the southern and central regions of the country are the most prone areas for droughts. Health risks also exist in the country and for example Cholera is endemic in some areas. Endogenic disasters include lower level earthquakes. Potential violent conflicts, resulting to humanitarian consequences, they may be considered as a risk as the civil war ended in 1992 and as the political tensions in the central provinces are still present in the country.
Partners and other humanitarian actors
There exist three traditional groups of humanitarian actors in Mozambique:
- The State and its Institutions: On a political level, Conselho Coordenador de Gestão de Calamidades, chaired by the Prime Minister, is the highest level Government coordination instrument of disaster response. Instituto Nacional de Gestion de Calamidades (INGC) is an autonomous and powerful institution as well as the most relevant state disaster management body. Its director also chairs the Conselho Tecnico de Gestão de Calamidades (CTGC), which is responsible of coordinating sectorial alert, early warning, disaster plans and reduction of vulnerability. INGC has central, provincial and district level contingency plans and they are comprehensive but likely unrealistic. Centro Nacional Operativo de Emergência (CNOE) handles multi-sectoral coordination and decision making structure. Additionally, the Government has Centros Operativos de Emergencia (COE) on provincial and district levels as well as Local Committees.
- UN System: UNOCHA, together with the Resident Coordinator, coordinates the overall UN emergency system and humanitarian information management. Although all the UN agencies play a role in their respective sectors in disaster management, the following agencies have a special importance in a humanitarian situation, according to the life-saving mandate of specific clusters: WFP and FAO in Food Security; WHO in Health; UNICEF in WASH; and UNHCR in Shelter and assistance to refugees in dedicated camps.
- Civil Society: Several important International NGOs, such as OXFAM, CARE and Save the Children, have an influential role in the Mozambican humanitarian sector; Local NGOs are not yet very involved in humanitarian relief, but some have focus on disaster risk reduction.
- In addition to these three main groups, there are also several donor agencies, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and privates sector, which all have an important role in an emergency management.
The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) is a coordination instrument in the country, gathering different actors to discuss and decide about the humanitarian actions in a coordinated manner. In Mozambique, the humanitarian system is highly concentrated on central level and it largely depends on NGO information from the field. In June 2014 a disaster management law was approved by the Government, regulating a more decentralized approach.
Through ECHO, the European commission finances programmes to respond to emergencies and Disaster Risk Reduction activities in Mozambique and the region since 2007.
In November 2015, when the first consequences of the El Niño effect became evident, the Commission mobilised 119 Mio € from the 11th EDF reserve + additional 6 Mio € from DG ECHO's own budget line. The funding was allocated to the Horn of Africa (€78 million), Southern Africa (€12 million), Central Africa (€20 million) and the Caribbean (€9 million).
Within its Humanitarian Implementation Plan (HIP) for year 2016, the following programmes are being supported by ECHO in Mozambique:
- CARE-CONCERN, 1.4M€: Northern Mozambique Resilience to Disaster Project.
- OO: To build resilience to shocks and hazards in target communities of 5 districts in Nampula and Zambezia Provinces.
- SO: Increased community resilience to shocks and hazards such as droughts, floods, cyclones and epidemics through improved early warning systems and early action; water, sanitation and hygiene improvements; and rural livelihood protection.
- Spanish Red Cross, 0.35M€: Consolidating and scaling-up disaster resilience in Mozambique
- OO: To Contribute to consolidate disaster resilience in Zambezia province and scale-up good practices in urban areas of Zambézia and rural areas of Tete and Sofala province
- SO: To enhance capacities of Governmental institutions and civil society groups in order to better assess, mitigate and respond to disaster risks in targeted districts and urban areas, and therefore, increase their resilience to disasters.
These projects have an inbuilt crisis modifier, in order for them to allow an initial crisis response in case necessary and while ECHO mobilizes a response financing decision.
In April 2016, the Commission mobilised an additional €173 million from the 11th EDF reserve to top up the initial El Niño package. In addition to the €12 million allocated in December 2015, an additional amount of €40 million has been earmarked for Southern Africa to reinforce the humanitarian response to El Niño through regional calls.
With this additional funds, ECHO has launched in April 2016 a new regional call in order to prepare a second El Nino package for southern Africa region covering Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Angola, Lesotho and Swaziland. The specific objective of the additional funds is to: mitigate food insecurity of the most vulnerable populations in Southern Africa. Main focus areas in Mozambique are the provinces of Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, Zambezia, Tete.
Interventions funded under this amendment will focus on:
- Multipurpose cash transfer to meet basic needs of affected populations during the 2016-17 lean season.
- Support the 2016-17 agriculture season with timely delivery of farm inputs.
- Protection of household assets, particularly livestock.
- Treatment of under-nutrition and contribution to its prevention.
- Protect development gains through crisis modifier mechanisms of resilience financial instruments.
Interventions should as well contribute to enhance preparedness of the targeted populations, improve early response mechanisms and also foster long-term development solutions.
How ECHO Functions
Since the Commission does not intervene directly on the ground, the humanitarian programmes are implemented through Partners organisations that share with the DG ECHO common general objectives.
The Partners organisations are selected among United Nations relief agencies, members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, International Organisations (IOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Since its creation, ECHO has worked with its partners on the basis of Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs), which set the principles of partnership, define the respective roles, rights and obligations of partners, and contain the legal provisions applicable to the humanitarian operations financed by DG ECHO.
In response to an emergency outbreak, ECHO partners having signed the Framework Partnership Agreement (http://dgecho-partners-helpdesk.eu/) receive an invitation to submit a proposal. Grants are awarded on the basis of the specific criteria, such as the technical and financial capacity, readiness and experience, and results of previous interventions (enumerated in Article 7.2 of the Humanitarian Aid Regulation).
The current Framework Partnership Agreement entered into force on 1st January 2014 for a period of 5 years.
On a global level, EU also finances an ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Programme with €60 million (until 2017). It is a trust fund under the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery Track II (GFDRR). The Programme is implemented in Joint Management with the World Bank Group, through GFDRR and EU is in the Steering Committee. It is meant to improve the resilience of ACP countries to the impact of disasters produced by natural hazards and better prepare populations in disaster-prone areas, thereby reducing the cost of response. The priority areas are: (a) mainstreaming of DRR; (b) risk identification and assessment; (c) Early Warning Systems and communications on DRR; (d) risk financing and (e) integration of DRR into recovery.