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While the EEAS facilitates overall coordination of external action, such as human rights, security, stability, conflict prevention, the European Commission, via its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), is responsible for the response to humanitarian crises and emergencies. It delivers humanitarian aid and it coordinates the provision of civil protection assistance from the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The EU is the world’s largest donor of humanitarian aid, providing assistance to crisis zones, countries facing post-conflict instability and countries dealing with ‘forgotten crises’. When the EU offers humanitarian assistance, it does so respecting humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. This means aid is distributed without any political considerations, and regardless of nationality, religion, gender, ethnic or political affiliation of the people who need help.
The Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), hosted by the Commission, coordinates and supports in-kind assistance (teams and equipment, such as search and rescue or field hospitals) provided inside and outside the EU through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.