EU aid to Sahrawi refugees in line with humanitarian principles

Brussels, 9 April 2017 (SPS) -  The achievement in 2015 of major projects funded by the European Union (EU) as part of humanitarian aid to Sahrawi refugees in the five camps near Tindouf has entailed, in 2016, a downward revision of this aid, which nevertheless remains in line with humanitarian principles, affirmed European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides.

"In 2016, the envelope has been reduced to € 9 million, mainly due to the fact that the cycle of significant investments has been achieved, notably the warehouses and the systems of water which had been finalized in 2015", he explained in his response to the MEP Enrique Guerrero Salom, who was worried about the consequences of the "drastic reduction" of the European aid for the benefit of the Saharawi refugees.

However, Commissioner Stylianides assured that EU assistance to Saharawi refugees meets the requirements of the Forgotten Crisis Assessment (FCA) tool, which allows the definition of the level of humanitarian aid and qualitative assessment carried out by the Commission's humanitarian experts.

The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) service has developed a framework for assessing and analyzing the specific needs of each country and each crisis. This framework provides the factual basis for prioritizing needs, allocating funds, and developing Humanitarian Assistance Implementation Plans (HIP).

"In order to promote a more strategic regional approach, since 2016, the Humanitarian Assistance Implementation Plan (HIP) includes all countries of North Africa (except Egypt) and does not focus exclusively on the Sahrawi crisis," he said, assuring that this new approach of the EU" does not affect the level of funding allocated to the Saharawi crisis".

According to the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, the EU has allocated over € 220 million in humanitarian aid to this crisis.

"From 2012 to 2015, EU support has been stable at 10 million euros a year, about 40% of the total international funding devoted to this crisis," he added.

In a written question to the European Commission, MEP Enrique Guerrero Salom affirmed that the downward revision of EU humanitarian aid to Sahrawi refugees has led to "a major shortfall" in the supplies needed to satisfy the basic needs of thousands of refugees who reside in the five camps.

According to Enrique Guerrero Salom, the lack of analysis and evaluation to identify the needs of the Saharawi refugees and the downward revision of the number of refugees needing assistance has led to this "drastic reduction" of the mount of the aid. (SPS)