Procedure : 2015/2051(INI)
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Document selected : A8-0332/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0332/2015

Debates :

PV 15/12/2015 - 13
CRE 15/12/2015 - 13

Votes :

PV 16/12/2015 - 11.10
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Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0459

REPORT     
PDF 244kWORD 197k
18.11.2015
PE 551.888v02-00 A8-0332/2015

on preparing for the World Humanitarian Summit: Challenges and opportunities for humanitarian assistance

(2015/2051(INI))

Committee on Development

Rapporteur: Enrique Guerrero Salom

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on preparing for the World Humanitarian Summit: Challenges and opportunities for humanitarian assistance

(2015/2051(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly resolution 46/182 of 19 December 1991 on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance(1),

–  having regard to the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Transformative Agenda(2),

–  having regard to the Principles of Partnership (as endorsed by the Global Humanitarian Platform) of 12 July 2007(3),

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 64/290 of 9 July 2010 on the Right to Education in Emergency Situations(4) and relevant guidelines including those by UNICEF and UNESCO,

–  having regard to the UN IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action(5),

–  having regard to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 adopted at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held from 14 to 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan(6),

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015 establishing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development(7),

–  having regard to the debates in preparation of the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on 8-10 December 2015 in Geneva,

–  having regard to the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2015(8),

–  having regard to the Global Humanitarian Overview of June 2015(9),

–  having regard to the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles(10),

–  having regard to the UN High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid(11),

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid of 2007 (hereafter ‘European Consensus’), a joint declaration signed by the Commission, the Council, the European Parliament and the Member States(12), and its Action Plan to be renewed,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 375/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 establishing the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps (‘EU Aid Volunteers initiative’)(13), and the Annual Report on the implementation of the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative in 2014(14),

–  having regard to Decision No 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism(15),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document ‘Gender in Humanitarian Aid: Different Needs, Adapted Assistance’ (SWD(2013)0290)(16),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – Annual report on the European Union’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Policies and their implementation in 2014 (COM(2015)0406)(17),

–  having regard to the Annual Activity Report 2014 by the Commission DG for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)(18),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 22 June 2015 on Common Principles for Multi-Purpose Cash-Based Assistance to Respond to Humanitarian Needs(19),

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989 and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict of 25 May 2000; having regard to the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflict (updated 2008),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 26 May 2015 on A New Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015(20),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 28 May 2013 on the EU approach to resilience(21),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 5 June 2014 on the Post 2015 Hyogo Framework for Action: Managing risks to achieve resilience(22),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 16 December 2014 on a Transformative Post-2015 Agenda(23),

–  having regard to the joint communication of 9 September 2015 entitled ‘Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of EU External Action’ (JOIN(2015)0040)(24),

–  having regard to the regional, thematic and global consultations in preparation for the World Humanitarian Summit(25),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2015 on Financing for Development(26),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2014 on the EU and the global development framework after 2015(27),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 9 July 2015 on the situation in Yemen(28); of 11 June 2015 on the situation in Nepal following the earthquakes(29); of 30 April 2015 on the situation of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria(30); of 12 March 2015 on South Sudan, including recent child abductions(31); of 12 February 2015 on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria, in particular in the IS context(32); and of 15 January 2015 on the situation in Libya(33),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 10 September 2015 on migration and refugees in Europe(34); and of 29 April 2015 on the latest tragedies in the Mediterranean and EU migration and asylum policies(35),

–  having regard to Article 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which reaffirms that the EU ‘shall ensure consistency between its policies and activities, taking all of its objectives into account’,

–  having regard to Article 208 TFEU, which stipulates that ‘the Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries’,

–  having regard to Article 214 TFEU on the Union’s operations in the field of humanitarian aid,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 September 2015 entitled ‘Towards the World Humanitarian Summit: A global partnership for principled and effective humanitarian action’ (COM(2015)0419)(36) and its accompanying Staff Working Document (SWD(2015)0166)(37),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0332/2015),

A.  whereas, in a very fragile world, we are facing an increase in the diversity, frequency and intensity of natural disasters and famines and an unprecedented escalation in the number and complexity of conflicts;

B.  whereas growing challenges, such as urbanisation, rapid population growth, demographic changes, the prevalence and increased strength of natural disasters, environmental degradation, desertification, climate change, numerous long-lasting and simultaneous conflicts with regional impact and resource scarcity, added to the consequences of poverty, inequality, migration, displacement and fragility, have consequently dramatically increased the need for humanitarian response throughout the globe;

C.  whereas the number of people in need has more than doubled since 2004 to over 100 million in 2015; whereas 250 million people are affected by humanitarian crises; whereas the number of forcibly displaced persons has reached its highest point since World War II at nearly 60 million, including almost 40 million displaced inside their own countries; whereas over half of the world’s refugees are children;

D.  whereas a billion people could be displaced because of climate change by 2050, with more than 40 % of the global population living in areas of severe water stress; whereas economic losses from natural disasters are likely to increase dramatically from the USD 300 billion currently lost annually;

E.  whereas over the past eight years the growing needs and challenges, the lack of sustained commitments and the rising cost of humanitarian assistance have contributed to the current humanitarian system reaching its limits, forcing a number of organisations to temporarily suspend food assistance, shelter and other life-saving humanitarian operations;

F.  whereas humanitarian hospitals are often targets of attacks using weapons of mass destruction; whereas threats and attacks on humanitarian personnel are increasing; whereas the security of humanitarian staff and of injured people is very often threatened; and whereas these attacks constitute a breach of international humanitarian law and a serious danger to the future of humanitarian aid;

G.  whereas humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and the basic rules of international humanitarian law and the human rights provided for by the Geneva Conventions and the additional protocols thereto, must be at the core of all humanitarian actions; whereas the protection of displaced persons must be guaranteed unconditionally, and whereas aid independence, i.e. aid that is free from any political, economic or security considerations or any type of discrimination, must prevail;

H.  whereas all parties in a conflict, including state and non-state armed parties, must guarantee humanitarian actors such access as is necessary for them to assist vulnerable, conflict-affected civilian populations;

I.  Whereas women and children are not only especially vulnerable, and disproportionately exposed to risk, in disaster zones, both during and in the aftermath of emergencies, they also face exploitation, marginalisation, infections, and sexual and gender-based violence used as weapons; whereas women and children face heightened risks as a result of displacement and the breakdown of normal protection and support structures; whereas international humanitarian law requires that all necessary medical care be provided without discrimination to girls and women raped in war; whereas unsafe abortion is listed by the World Health Organisation as one of three leading causes of maternal mortality; whereas maternal health, counselling of women rape victims, and education and schooling of displaced children are major challenges at refugee camps;

J.  whereas the consolidated humanitarian appeal for 2015 reached a record high in UN history at close to EUR 19 billion; whereas, despite record contributions by donors, only a quarter of the global appeal was funded, and the EU has struggled to fund global humanitarian appeals and DG ECHO-supported operations; whereas this reinforces the need for globally coordinated, timely, predictable and flexible funding, tailored to different contexts and sustained by a new public-private partnership for innovative preparedness and delivery methods; whereas the EU has struggled to fund global humanitarian appeals and ECHO operations; whereas the renewed commitment to the 0.7 % aid target, and the timely delivery on pledges, are all the more important in such a context;

K.  whereas the majority of humanitarian crises have human-related causes; whereas 80 % of EU international humanitarian assistance is concentrated in man-made crises that require essentially political and not only humanitarian solutions; whereas poverty and vulnerability to crises are intrinsically linked, emphasising the need to address the underlying causes of crises, build resilience, reinforce capacity for adapting to natural disasters and climate change, and meet the long-term needs of affected people; whereas the consequences of humanitarian crises, such as migration and refugee challenges, will be even greater unless the root causes are addressed and there is better linkage between humanitarian and development cooperation assistance;

L.  whereas humanitarian aid and development are interlinked, especially in light of the need to strengthen resilience to disaster by mitigating risks and protecting against shocks, as a crucial means of reducing humanitarian needs and of combating disruptions to health, hygiene, education, nutrition and even basic shelter;

M.  whereas international, local and regional coordination, information-sharing and joint programming, data collection and evaluation assessments will help improve decision-making, efficiency, effectiveness and accountability in aid delivery;

N.  whereas there is a need to develop greater trust and further cooperation between private sector actors, NGOs, local authorities, international organisations and governments; whereas business resources, expertise, supply chains, research and development capabilities, and logistics can serve to ensure more effective preparedness and humanitarian action;

O.  whereas funding under the EU humanitarian aid chapter, EUR 909 million in 2015, represents less than 1 % of the total EU budget; whereas improving the linkage between relief and long-term assistance is one way to reduce the current discrepancy between the extraordinary humanitarian needs and the means available;

P.  whereas NGOs and international organisations, such as the Red Cross and UN agencies, are currently the main implementers of humanitarian support, providing life-saving assistance and protection to some 120 million people per year;

Q.  whereas prevention, domestic response and domestic capacities play an important role in meeting needs in the best way, and in reducing the necessity for international aid; whereas in 2015, only 2 % of total international humanitarian assistance went directly to local and national NGOs of the affected states, even though their reactivity, knowledge of needs and ability to reach out to affected people is usually better than that of other actors; whereas there is an increasing demand to ensure accountability to crisis-affected people and communities;

R.  whereas humanitarian aid must remain based on the needs as assessed by humanitarian actors, and whereas donors should abstain from using aid as a crisis management tool;

S.  whereas the humanitarian response, and the tools used, should be tailored to jointly assessed needs, and should depend on varying contexts; whereas it is essential that all efforts be made to ensure that respect for human rights and, in particular, for the specific needs of women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, minorities and indigenous people and other vulnerable groups are integrated into humanitarian response efforts;

T.  whereas global actors are encouraged to incorporate humanitarian responses into human rights monitoring and reporting mechanisms;

U.  whereas the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), to be held in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016, should result in a reshaping of the humanitarian architecture to make it more inclusive, effective, transparent and truly global, in order that it may respond to anticipated increases in humanitarian needs linked to current and future challenges, such as food security, population growth, climate change, fragility, aid workers’ safety, forced displacement and socioeconomic development;

V.  whereas the WHS will follow a number of intergovernmental negotiations – on disaster risk reduction, financing for development, the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and climate change – that will shape the development and humanitarian landscapes for years to come, and will thus provide a unique, critical and concrete opportunity to align objectives, principles and actions, and, for the world, to address the needs, and build the resilience, of the most vulnerable in a more coherent manner;

W.  whereas the EU, as the leading donor, has the responsibility and the necessary leverage to take a leadership role in the quest for better and innovative ways to meet the needs of, and provide viable long-term solutions for, millions of people affected by conflicts and disasters;

X.  whereas the recent escalating, global acute malnutrition rates, and the regional and international spill-over of political instability in Level 3 classified countries, have brought new reminders of the need for the WHS to accelerate transformation in the humanitarian system and better serve people in need;

From global consultations to global action

1.  Welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s decision to call for the first multi-stakeholder World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and the willingness of Turkey to host it; calls on the Member States to support the WHS and to reach firm Council conclusions, with specific commitments and priority areas for action, while pursuing operational efficiency, common quality standards, better coordination and partnerships with emerging donors, based on politically non-biased aid as well as on a common understanding and appliance of humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and respect for obligations under international humanitarian law;

2.  Welcomes the UN initiative to gather intelligence from all over the world in order to plot natural disasters and conflicts and to resolve how to go about saving and protecting more people from the impact of such crises; welcomes as well the organisation of eight regional consultations that also involved thematic meetings and a global consultation – with representatives from government, civil society, NGOs, volunteer networks, businesses and religious networks – and as well as the initiative of the online consultations and the establishment of a High-Level Panel for Humanitarian Financing, co-chaired by the EU;

3.  Stresses that today’s enormous humanitarian challenges require a more inclusive, diverse and truly global humanitarian system, to be strengthened at the WHS, that, at the same time, recognises the diversity in today’s humanitarian response system and the complementary roles of all actors; calls on the EU to promote a ‘Global Consensus on Humanitarian Action’ that reaffirms the principles of humanitarian aid and the obligations and entitlements under international humanitarian law (IHL), while ensuring people-centred and human rights-based protection responses, and holds governments accountable for their roles and responsibilities in protecting people; raises awareness of the negative impacts of the politicisation of humanitarian assistance, and recalls that the upholding of, and continued commitment to, core humanitarian principles is critical to ensure a humanitarian space in areas of conflict and natural disasters;

4.  Emphasises that, in order to be meaningful, the WHS outcome document should include a five-year roadmap for the development and operationalisation of the concrete political commitments undertaken, including an intergovernmental monitoring and accountability framework, an assessment of the aid organisations’ practices and an impact assessment that includes the participation of relevant stakeholders;

5.  Calls on the WHS to link the post-2015 development agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in order to enhance coherence across policies and institutions for building disaster resilience, and to request a more active role of development actors in building resilience; calls on donor governments to develop, for their national policies, a common set of targets, priorities and indicators linking these frameworks;

6.  Calls on the EU and its Member States, as the largest donors and key operational actors, to lead by active example; emphasises that all EU humanitarian actions should be guided by the principles of solidarity, responsibility and accountability, and should be designed to ensure that vulnerable people are protected, both physically and psychologically; calls for a global, comprehensive and long-term solution for the masses of people fleeing conflict regions; notes that Europe’s role and credibility on the global humanitarian scene is also at stake in the response in the EU to the current crisis;

7.  Calls for the WHS to commit to a systematic, results-based and participatory approach by establishing specific indicators and a work methodology, to be reinforced and shared by donors and implementing agencies, for affected people to take part in the whole cycle of humanitarian action; calls on the WHS to work towards the institutionalisation, better monitoring and evaluation of the UN Accountability to Affected Populations framework;

8.  Underlines that the WHS is also an opportunity for all stakeholders to reflect on the vital need for UN reform towards an inclusive, transparent and effective coordination system, with a more inclusive and operative IASC, with better engagement with partners to enhance complementarity and with the full operationalisation of the Transformative Agenda, and to strengthen the multilateral humanitarian architecture for all crisis by establishing a reliable system of needs assessments serving as a basis for joint appeals (ensuring comprehensive financial tracking), a system of cost comparison between agencies and a monitoring and evaluation mechanism;

9.  Insists that without comprehensive and substantial means, such global action will not be successful; underlines that addressing new and chronic disasters and vulnerabilities requires avoidance of parallel systems, a broadening of the funding base, long-term predictable investments, and compliance with the new sustainable development agenda, notably by promoting joint risk and needs assessment, planning and financing among humanitarian, development and climate change actors; underlines that an increased complementarity between humanitarian and development aid is needed in order to address effectiveness and the humanitarian financing gaps, and should go hand in hand with increased development aid and humanitarian funding; recalls, in this context, the longstanding international commitment to reach the target of 0.7 % of GNI;

10.  Urges the EU, as the world’s largest humanitarian aid donor, to show leadership in the WHS by calling for more flexible methods for delivering humanitarian aid, as well as for proactive and coherent measures and effective tools for preventing crises; urges the EU and other donors to stay true to their financial commitments and to develop ways to reduce the time it takes to convert financial commitments into actions on the ground; points out, in addition, the importance of human rights reporting as an early warning mechanism for crises, and encourages the WHS to take this into account when moving from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention;

Serving the needs of people in conflict

11.  Calls on the EU to place protection at the heart of humanitarian action within a needs-based response by creating a compliance system, and by mainstreaming it into programming; stresses the need for the institutionalisation of the role of protection officers, and for the development of strategic and integrated approaches with sufficient funds for protection activities also in the first phase of emergencies; urges the EU to commit more strongly to a human rights-based approach in humanitarian action to ensure that the dignity, and the needs and rights, of specific vulnerable groups – especially women, youth, migrants, people living with HIV, LGBTI persons and persons with disabilities – are respected;

12.  Calls on the EU to promote at the WHS a comprehensive agreement on practical ways to reinforce the respect and compliance of IHL, international human rights law (IHRL) and refugee law, such as through the dissemination of the rules of IHL among regional and national administrations, security forces, local authorities and community leaders, and to support the International Criminal Court role to end impunity for violation of IHL and IHRL;

13.  Stresses the need to expand the Refugee Convention and the Kampala Convention to protect and assist displaced people around the world, as well as those affected by climate change, and also to protect them from various forms of violence, such as human trafficking, gender-based violence, and urban and economic violence, since they may have a well-founded fear of persecution or be at risk of serious harm; underlines that migrants must be offered the same level of protection of their rights as guaranteed to all other groups in times of crises; calls for attention to be paid to particularly vulnerable groups, such as migrants, stateless persons and refugees, that are often neglected in the humanitarian debate; calls for a new generation of human rights protection tools to help protect these populations;

14.  Stresses the need for a fundamental shift in the support offered to refugees and to host countries and communities; supports the Synthesis report for the Global Consultation which calls on the WHS to examine a comprehensive “refugee hosting deal” that recognises host countries’ contributions, arranges longer-term, predictable and sustainable financial packages to assist them, makes refugees self-reliant by giving them access to livelihood opportunities, and creates more equitable arrangements for their resettlement in third countries;

15.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to work towards a shared global understanding and operationalisation of humanitarian principles in preparation of the WHS, and to develop jointly a wide, participatory code of conduct among current and new donors in order to share best practices, facilitate access to people in need and enhance existing commitments for good donor practices, such as those reflected in the GHD principles;

16.  Calls on the EU to advocate the inclusion of transparency and accountability as guiding principles in the WHS declaration, by using specific markers and disaggregated data (i.e. for gender and age, with specific variables for children) as the basis for programme design and evaluation, and by promoting an international humanitarian aid transparency standard initiative with the aim of ensuring a global accountability results framework for measuring progress;

17.  Underlines the need to provide nutrition, water, shelter, sanitation and medical treatment, as fundamental rights of every human being; is extremely concerned about the risks of epidemics associated with dire sanitation conditions and limited access to safe drinking water, and over the lack of access to essential medicines in humanitarian crises; calls on the EU to take a leading role in ensuring the appropriate provision of essential medicines and safe drinking water in the context of humanitarian crises;

18.  Calls on the Union and all international actors to improve, in refugee camps, techniques for providing humanitarian assistance, particularly by supplying mobile laboratories to combat infectious disease epidemics, improving methods of distributing emergency aid – taking account of the most vulnerable groups – and improving hygiene and emergency sanitary infrastructure;

19.  Stresses the need to include child protection as an integral part of humanitarian responses in order to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children; emphasises that as children are the main drivers of change, it is important to create child-friendly spaces as part of the humanitarian response;

20.  Highlights the central role that women play in conflict and post-conflict situations, given that they are the first responders in crises, holding their families and communities together; calls on donors and governments to mainstream gender equality in humanitarian programming and to support the empowerment of women and girls;

21.  Urges that the provision of humanitarian aid follows international humanitarian law, and that EU humanitarian aid not be subject to restrictions imposed by other partner donors; expresses its concerns over, and condemns, the continued use of rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls as a war weapon in humanitarian emergencies; emphasises that this violence, along with its physical and psychological consequences, needs to be addressed; calls for a global commitment to ensure that women and girls are safe from the start of every emergency or crisis by addressing the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, by raising awareness, by assuring the prosecution of the perpetrators of such violence, and by ensuring that women and girls have access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortions, in humanitarian crises, rather than perpetuating what amounts to inhumane treatment, as required by international humanitarian law and as foreseen in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols;

22.  Considers that all staff involved in the provision of humanitarian assistance, including police and military forces, should receive adequate gender-sensitive training, and that a strict code of conduct must be put into place to prevent them from abusing their position and to ensure gender equality;

23.  Calls on humanitarian actors to incorporate strategies to prevent and mitigate gender-based violence into all their sector-specific interventions, facilitating the identification of new EU funding instruments, and, to this end, to take stock of the revised Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action, prepared by the Global Protection Cluster; considers also that humanitarian actors (including the EU) should consult girls and boys (especially adolescent girls) at all stages of disaster preparedness and response;

24.  Calls on the respective humanitarian agencies to strengthen their coordination in order to identify and protect victims, and potential victims, of sexual exploitation and abuse;

25.  Acknowledges the value of the EU’s comprehensive approach in the coordination and coherence of its wide array of external policy instruments to invest in durable political solutions; draws attention to the specific characteristics of humanitarian aid, and stresses that it is imperative to differentiate the humanitarian response from foreign, political, security and counter-terrorism considerations through the adoption of safeguards; deplores any misuse of, or disrespect for, the principles for humanitarian action, since such misuse significantly undermines aid delivery and the security of humanitarian staff; insists that counter-terrorism measures should neither undermine nor obstruct humanitarian efforts, and invites the WHS to address this issue in an appropriate way;

Humanitarian effectiveness

26.  Condemns the consistent thwarting of attempts to deliver humanitarian aid and any action that violates the principles guarding against “non-assistance to persons in danger” and of “non-refoulement” applicable to displaced populations by any actor, whether or not it is a member of the EU; calls on governments to live up to their primary responsibilities to protect and assist civilians, and to put in place legal and policy frameworks to facilitate humanitarian access, and aid delivery, in accordance with IHL; suggests that these frameworks include humanitarian tax exemptions, cuts in transaction costs of remittances flows and simplified customs procedures; calls on donors, host governments and implementing actors to respect the provisions of humanitarian aid and assistance through all possible channels, and to fulfil their responsibilities to ensure that professional, timely, coordinated, appropriate and quality assistance reaches all populations in need, even in remote areas;

27.  Is deeply concerned, in the context of better protection for humanitarian actors, about the recurrent attacks on both humanitarian workers and infrastructures, including hospitals; emphasises that more work is needed to improve their safety, protection and freedom of movement under international law; supports the systematic inclusion of specific clauses strengthening accountability for the protection of humanitarian workers into the legislation and action plans of donors for all countries, as well as firm systematic monitoring and reporting of attacks against all aid workers;

28.  Supports the Commission’s recommendations for a comprehensive dashboard for effectiveness;

29.  Stresses the need for a continued dialogue on the complementary roles and mandates of the different humanitarian actors; considers that there must be a clear distinction between civilian humanitarian and military actors; considers that the civil humanitarian response must be prioritised; invites the WHS to explore new frameworks for better coordination amongst actors as a key element for a more efficient, effective and appropriate humanitarian response; stresses the need for better analysis of local operational capacities, and for better joint assessments of needs and accountability of humanitarian action;

30.  Calls for serious efforts to ensure, in an effective way, the right to education in protracted humanitarian crises, through the provision of the necessary financial and human resources, since the lack of education endangers the future of children and the further development of any society; highlights the importance of continuous education in safeguarding and promoting shared and universal values such as human dignity, equality, democracy and human rights;

31.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment – given the alarming number of children who are denied education, and the huge potential of education to increase people’s resilience – to increase financing for education for children in humanitarian emergencies; calls on the Council to endorse the Commission’s proposal to dedicate 4 % of the EU humanitarian aid budget to this purpose; considers that this increase should not result in less attention being paid to other primary needs;

32.  Expresses its concern about the education and schooling of children in refugee camps, and calls on the EU and all international actors to increase capacities for providing schooling in refugee camps;

33.  Acknowledges that predictability, operational flexibility and multi-year contributions are key prerequisites for efficient and effective aid delivery; calls on the EU and its Member States to reinvigorate the GHD principles in the WHS declaration;

34.  Emphasises that global action is needed to address the funding gap; calls for the establishment of a global fund for humanitarian assistance (GFHA) that supports the participation and inclusion of non-DAC donors and brings together all existing international financial mechanisms, domestic resources and pooled funds (UN emergency response funds, CERF funds, trust funds, etc.), and that is complemented by voluntary and compulsory financial payments by governments, the private sector and regional organisations; suggests that the mandatory payments could be used to fill gaps in humanitarian pledges for Level 3 emergencies, support preparedness, provide social protection resilience package for long-term refugees or cope with unforeseen emergencies, such as Ebola, among others;

35.  Underlines the needs for the international financial institutions to engage fully and to remodel their soft lending window focus, mainly by redefining their concessional fund eligibility criteria, in order to allow for a more flexible institutional response to fragile situations and to reflect more closely on national capacities to raise domestic resources;

36.  Urges governments, donors and their enabling environments to simplify administrative requirements for implementing partners by streamlining procedures and mapping administrative, contracting and reporting best practices while ensuring accountability, and to support initiatives that are designed to provide continuous help in strengthening the capacity and the monitoring of local actors, and to reinforce national coordination structures;

37.  Stresses that to preserve and guarantee in a better way the life and dignity of affected populations, local NGOs must have access to direct financing; urges the Member States and donors to increase substantially direct funding for local humanitarian actors that have the capacity, expertise and capabilities to act in the field while ensuring accountability;

38.  Calls on the WHS to establish a new deal for engagement with fragile states and protracted crisis with sustainable programmes, implementation plans and predictable financing for development; underlines that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda emphasises the need for investments in social protection systems, and in safety nets, in order that responses in fragile contexts may be scaled up more rapidly and effectively;

Reducing vulnerability and managing risk

39.  Emphasises the need to adapt the humanitarian response system to local, national and regional requirements, and to empower and engage regularly affected populations, including women of all ages, children, persons with disabilities, minorities and indigenous people, recognising their role as change agents by ensuring, whenever possible, feedback from and prior consultation with these populations in the programming and implementation of humanitarian action;

40.  Underlines that an international response should build on existing local or national initiatives and partnerships rather than create parallel efforts; insists on the importance of strengthening local and regional capacities for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and, if possible, of providing for inclusive processes where local authorities, civil society, the private sector and the affected populations are included in the planning process;

41.  Stresses the need for a new global model for complementarity on which to base cooperation between humanitarian and development actors – allowing them to build gradually more resilient and self-reliant societies – starting with joint analyses and programming; stresses that such a model should include, firstly, entry strategies for development actors allowing them to build bridges in the field, secondly, crisis modifiers in development programmes, and, thirdly, exit strategies for humanitarian responses, allowing for a more flexible approach, and should include as well accountable and flexible multiannual funding mechanism for responding to protracted crises; stresses the importance of cooperation with local NGOs and civil society leaders for establishing permanent structures in conflict-sensitive areas;

42.  Calls on the Commission to present an initiative to link humanitarian aid, development cooperation and resilience in a more systematic way, so as to enable the EU to be more flexible and effective in responding to growing needs, and to promote a reflection for a better link to the WHS; calls on the EU to take advantage, at the mid-term review of the current Multiannual Financial Framework, to enhance humanitarian/development linkages further;

43.  Stresses the importance of disaster risk reduction for resilience in four priority areas: 1) understanding disaster risks; 2) strengthening risk governance to manage disaster risk; 3) investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, contingency plans and early warning systems; and 4) enhance disaster preparedness for effective response, and to “build back better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction;

44.  Calls on the Member States and on other donors to strengthen and develop national legal frameworks for humanitarian action, and disaster risk reduction and management, based on international disaster response laws, rules and principles; underlines that disaster preparedness, risk reduction and resilience should systematically be incorporated into the response plans to be provided by local, regional and national administrations, industry and civil society, and should, at the same time, be supported by sufficient financing for, and increased innovation in, forecasting and risk management modelling;

45.  Calls on the WHS to give strong emphasis to the issue of climate change and humanitarian action; believes that this should include the planning for and the building of resilience to the consequences of climate change, including climate-induced displacement and migration, in all relevant policy making at regional and global level; calls on the EU and its Member States, in this regard, to continue to take courageous political decisions to combat climate change;

Transformation through innovation

46.  Stresses that innovation should draw from multiple sources and, in particular, from the knowledge of affected people, civil society and local communities in the front line of response; stresses the importance of minimum humanitarian standards to boost essential public services, such as education, nutrition, health, shelter, water and sanitation throughout humanitarian responses; believes that public-private and cross-sectorial partnerships – when both public and private sectors share values and priorities that align business goals with the EU’s development objectives, and observe international standards on development effectiveness – can be a means to complement the public response to growing humanitarian needs; notes that cash-based assistance, when properly aligned with aid effectiveness principles, is an efficient example of innovation in humanitarian assistance;

47.  Welcomes the Council Conclusions on common principles for multi-purpose, cash-based assistance in response to humanitarian needs; acknowledges that while only a small proportion of humanitarian assistance is currently cash-based, the use of cash-based assistance has significant potential as an innovative, dignifying, safe, gender sensitive, flexible and cost-efficient modality to cover the emergency basic needs of the most vulnerable; calls on the EU and its Member States to promote the common principles and the use of unconditional cash assistance based on context and response analysis, while supporting a monitoring mechanism, in the run-up to the WHS;

48.  Calls on the EU to promote and support a global humanitarian innovation alliance for the development of globally shared ethical approaches, in line with the humanitarian principles and the UN principles for innovation and technology in development to guarantee that all investment in humanitarian innovation is designed to improve outcomes for affected populations; calls for the establishment of humanitarian innovation funds at regional and national level;

49.  Recognises that innovation can play a major role in responding to new challenges, as well as in improving existing programmes, by integrating new developments in other sectors in order to conceive, scale up and develop models that allow breakthroughs in overcoming humanitarian challenges;

50.  Emphasises the role of new technologies and innovative digital tools in the organisation and delivery of the humanitarian aid, especially with regards to aid delivery and tracking, disaster surveillance, information sharing, coordination between donors and facilitating relations between aid agencies and local governments, particularly in remote areas and disaster zones; highlights that Africa, and especially sub-Saharan Africa, is currently undergoing a mobile digital revolution with a surge in mobile subscriptions (and mobile internet use), makings such tools and services crucial for putting in place early warning systems and for providing speedy information on health matters, danger areas and aid contacts;

51.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support, while respecting humanitarian principles and ethical standards, the involvement of businesses, especially SMEs, by developing a business guide for action and promoting local and regional partnership platforms for a structured, coordinated and sustainable engagement of companies in emergencies; encourages the Member States to integrate businesses into their respective national emergency response plans and accountability mechanisms in a better way;

52.  Calls on the EU to explore and encourage partnerships with start-ups, and with insurance and technology companies, amongst others, with a view to developing tools for preparedness and deployment in emergencies; underlines the need to support and further develop the global mapping by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of available private sector assets and capacities to enhance technical cooperation for disaster response efforts;

53.  Calls on the EU and its humanitarian partners to advocate, in the context of the WHS, better engagement of young people in humanitarian preparedness and recovery processes, and to promote volunteering schemes;

54.  Highlights the important role that the EU Aid Volunteers scheme can play in putting into practice the decisions taken at the future WHS and in the context of a revised European Humanitarian Consensus; stresses that volunteers’ experience, alongside that of other humanitarian activists, can play a vital role in establishing best practices and implementation tools;

55.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to promote, at the WHS, the important role of humanitarian advocacy as this can be an effective way to strengthen protection and innovation;

56.  Underlines that the commitments taken in Istanbul must be implemented at the level of the EU and its Member States; calls, therefore, on the EU and its Member States to design, together with other humanitarian actors, an agenda for the operationalisation of the Summit outcomes after Istanbul; emphasises the need to ensure predictable and timely funding for humanitarian aid through the EU budget by ensuring that the EU’s humanitarian commitment appropriations are systematically fully funded through an equal amount of payment appropriations;

57.  Calls for a coherent and solid new action plan for the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid that guarantees an impartial and effective European humanitarian response, tailored to the local context while being age and gender specific and acting without discrimination and in proportion to needs;

58.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Introduction

The world is being faced with humanitarian crises, unprecedented both in their number, scale and persistence. Together with continuous, protracted, man-made conflicts and recurring natural disasters, ‘Level 3’ (L3s) emergencies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, have fuelled a sharp increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian aid.

Following an upward trend of forced displacement, today there are more refugees and internally displaced than in the aftermath of World War II. One consequence has been the dramatic growth in people seeking refuge by undertaking life-threatening sea journeys.

The chronic needs arising from these conflicts and disasters are stretching the humanitarian response system to its limits. In a context where the gap between humanitarian needs and the operational and financial means available to meet them risks widening further, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, has called for a first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS).

The WHS, to be held in Istanbul in May 2016, will seek to reshape and adapt the humanitarian system to a rapidly-evolving landscape of emergencies, to make humanitarian action more efficient, effective and ‘fit for the future’. There is a clear call to bring the humanitarian and development communities closer together and to shift focus from response to prevention and anticipation.

Humanitarian architecture challenged

The last global discussions on the framework for humanitarian action took place almost twenty-five years ago. Since then the humanitarian environment has changed significantly, notably with a steady increase in the number, magnitude and perseverance of humanitarian emergencies, resulting both from man-made conflicts and natural disasters, and aggravated by global trends such as climate change.

While funding has increased, needs have grown much faster, causing the gap to widen. Moreover, the lion’s share of aid is used to address the consequences of a small number of protracted conflicts, notably the ‘L3s’, whereas dealing with the underlying causes of crises and conflict can only be successful through long-term political engagement and prevention. Along with the necessity to address the growing shortfall, there are growing demands for accountability.

Furthermore, humanitarian response today is faced with a steady erosion of respect for international humanitarian and human rights law. Civilians, including aid workers ‒ who often go where few others go ‒ are increasingly targeted in conflicts, leading to increased casualties and displacement.

Safety risks may increase through the perception that humanitarian aid is used for political or economic reasons. Increased insecurity reduces the already often limited humanitarian space, thereby impeding both humanitarian personnel’s and recipients’ access, which is crucial to address the needs on the ground. There is also a broader involvement of actors, including the military, in the provision of humanitarian assistance.

While further UN-led efforts, notably through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the Transformative Agenda, have aimed at addressing some gaps within the multilateral response system, the central issues of coordination, humanitarian financing and partnership need to be dealt with. A reflection on the adaptation of the humanitarian architecture to new realities is more than timely.

How can the EU contribute?

As the leading donor and key global player in humanitarian action, the EU has both a responsibility and the necessary leverage to take a leadership role in the quest for more efficient and effective ways to meet the needs of those affected by conflicts and disasters. The EU has pioneered good practices and innovative approaches to humanitarian aid and it should actively share its knowledge. As a unique regional organisation, the EU has added value it can showcase, although it will also need to look at its own structures.

The EU has been thinking about how to deal with the systemic challenges of current aid architecture. Clear awareness of the need to move from a culture of reaction to that of anticipation has emerged; more has to be done to prevent crises, also from reoccurring, and more focus on issues such as adaptation and resilience building is needed, notably by bridging the divide between humanitarian action and longer-term development.

Although its implementation framework needs renewing, the EU should rely on the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid ‒ as Europe’s shared and principled approach ‒ to guide its input to the WHS process and also use it as a regional model to be promoted. The EU could envisage sponsoring a ‘Global Consensus on Humanitarian Action’, recognising the diversity of today’s humanitarian response system and taking advantage of all complementary roles.

Serving the needs of people in conflict

In preparation for the Summit, broad stakeholder consultations have reflected upon key challenges and innovative solutions in four interlinked thematic areas: humanitarian effectiveness, reducing vulnerability and managing risk, transformation through innovation and serving the needs of people in conflict – the latter having emerged as an overriding priority.

Along with a strong, renewed commitment to the basics, and notably the reaffirmation and furthering of the shared value of humanitarian principles and the international legal framework for humanitarian action, including the fight against impunity, protection should be placed at the heart of humanitarian action.

Actual and perceived impartiality, neutrality and independence are essential to the humanitarian actors’ acceptance and the ability to operate in often complex political and security contexts. For the EU a principled approach should result in resisting the instrumentalisation of aid ‒ in line with its ‘in-but-out’ formula.

Humanitarian effectiveness

In order to be both effective and efficient, humanitarian assistance must reach the affected populations and in particular the most vulnerable groups. In the lead-up to the WHS, the EU should promote the adoption of actions ensuring that affected communities, in particular women, children and the most vulnerable, including those hard-to-reach, have access to appropriate assistance, and that they are involved in the relevant decision-making processes.

Along with promoting a gender-sensitive approach to the humanitarian response, the EU should highlight the specific protection needs of children, and notably the centrality of education in emergencies. Accountability of humanitarian actors, first to affected populations but also towards citizens in donor countries, should be underlined as a key aspect of aid delivery.

The requirement for both needs- and context-based approaches has clearly emerged from the WHS consultations. Through its multidimensional aid, combining emergency relief with longer-term policies to build resilience and address the root causes, the EU clearly has a comparative advantage in responding to different types of crises ‒ expertise it should share with partners at regional level and beyond to facilitate humanitarian access and the delivery of assistance.

The need to adopt common standards has been a central element within the aid effectiveness discussion. With its Consensus, the EU has become a promoter of good practices, and has encompassed initiatives aiming at quality improvements to needs assessment and aid delivery, such as the Good Humanitarian Donorship. The EU should rely on its knowledge to further work with partners towards a common, effectiveness framework for humanitarian response.

Financing

Timeliness, predictability and flexibility remain central prerequisites of effective humanitarian financing. Due to the nature of emergencies, funding demands have in recent years grossly exceeded EU budgetary allocations, complicating urgent interventions and leading to a backlog of payments, with negative effects on implementing partners.

Parliament has underlined the importance of maintaining equal payment and commitment appropriations in the humanitarian aid chapter and the Emergency Aid Reserve. While budgetary constraints will limit possibilities to increase overall aid, the current discrepancy between the extraordinary humanitarian needs and means available merits a reflection on the balance between relief and longer-term assistance.

Along with new and innovative financing modalities, including assessed contributions, global action to address the funding gap should continue to include the building of partnerships with emerging ‘non-traditional’ donors, and should further expand opportunities with the private sector and review the relationship between humanitarian and development funding.

Reducing vulnerability and managing risk

It is vital to ensure that lessons are learned from previous crises so that the humanitarian system engages differently, especially with local partners, in the better management of risk and reduction of vulnerability. Building resilience has become the EU’s overarching objective in countries prone to crisis. It offers a framework for increasing convergence between humanitarian aid and development policy, including greater flexibility in funding transition and exit strategies.

Greater investment in the mainstreaming and localising of disaster risk reduction and management and building preparedness should be strongly advocated by the EU. Furthermore, the EU should promote its approaches on resilience and linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) as a way to increase convergence and aid effectiveness in a context of a new generation of complex crises ‒ also so as to maximize coherence between the various post-2015 processes on disaster risk, development and climate change.

Transformation through innovation

The WHS process should be seen as part of a continuous effort to address weaknesses in the global humanitarian system. However, establishing a culture of innovation in humanitarian aid can be a challenge since, to an extent, innovation is possible only with a certain tolerance for high-risk and high-impact projects. One way to address the often legitimate risk aversion of donors, and other actors including NGOs, could be the development of ethical standards.

Conclusions

The record high needs and limited resources have made the global humanitarian response system reach its limit. At the same time, the very basics of decency, dignity, humanity and solidarity, are at stake.

The EU can both be expected and has the potential to assume leadership to play a pivotal role in the WHS process, towards a strong outcome that is guided by the humanitarian principles and the needs of the beneficiaries. In order to successfully influence the negotiations of the outcome document and the follow-up to the Summit, the EU should go to Istanbul with focused common positions and speak with one voice. It should use the European Consensus to guide its input and promote it as a model for a Global Consensus.

The broad stakeholder consultations have already made the WHS process a unique opportunity to bring together the various actors in the humanitarian field. In order to turn talk into tangible action, the run-up to the WHS will need to focus on building consensus and ownership over the outcome. Due to the multi-stakeholder approach, it needs to be ensured that governments as key players make commitments. The EU should consider the WHS as an opportunity to build partnerships and find common ground on humanitarian principles and international standards, and to enhance cooperation and coordination of assistance.

The EU should also continue to emphasise the essential role of NGOs in humanitarian action and to ensure that their views are taken into consideration throughout the process and reflected in the outcome.

The WHS will be the culmination of a three-year global consultation process. Expected to endorse a strategic outcome document for the humanitarian work agenda beyond 2016, the Summit should also provide operational guidance on how the commitments by all key stakeholders should be translated into practice.

The WHS process coincides with a number of intergovernmental negotiations and other discussions that will shape the development and humanitarian landscapes for years to come. With a view to a truly transformative agenda beyond 2015, the complementary processes of Sendai, Addis Ababa, New York, Paris and Istanbul should feed into each other, in particular on the operational side. At best, the WHS will build and capitalise on previous contributions to reduce and manage future humanitarian risks.

There is a time to plant and a time to harvest. With less than a year to go, it is time to act.

20.10.2015

OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

for the Committee on Development

on preparing for the World Humanitarian Summit: Challenges and opportunities for humanitarian assistance

(2015/2051(INI))

Rapporteur: Elena Valenciano

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on the Committee on Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A.  whereas humanitarian crises almost invariably result in immense human suffering for the affected civilians, particularly women and children, including violations of international human rights and humanitarian law;

B.  whereas the protection of the rights of persons in humanitarian crises is recognised under international human rights and humanitarian law as an integral part of the humanitarian response, and is considered to be one of the key concerns to be addressed at the World Humanitarian Summit to be held in May 2016;

C.  whereas dealing with a humanitarian crisis needs to strike a balance between ‘efficiency gains and ‘preserving values’;

1.  Encourages the global community convening in the World Humanitarian Summit to adopt a rights-based approach to humanitarian action, with the objective of finding better and more inclusive ways to protect civilians with special regard to vulnerable groups such as women, children, and religious or ethnic minorities, to identify threats and vulnerabilities, and to monitor violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, thus helping strengthen the fight against impunity; expresses its conviction that upholding the universality of human rights and reinforcing shared understanding by all actors involved in humanitarian action also strengthens the core humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and operational independence; stresses the need to put protection at the centre of humanitarian action and deplores any misuse or disrespect of the core humanitarian principles for political, military or non-humanitarian purposes; warns that such misuse undermines and endangers genuine humanitarian operations and their staff; insists that counter-terrorism measures should not undermine nor obstruct humanitarian actions;

2.  Stresses that, especially in protracted conflicts and crises where civilians are internally and externally displaced for long periods of time, humanitarian action can play a crucial and more proactive role in the empowerment of the affected populations, by providing them with a stronger voice and recognising their rights and capabilities; in this sense, insists on the importance of strengthening local and regional capacity for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and of providing for inclusive processes where local authorities, civil society, the private sector and the affected populations are included in the planning process; insists, however, on the importance of addressing the root causes of these protracted conflicts and of providing a sustainable political solution to these situations;

3.  Calls for the universal ratification of all international instruments pertaining to the protection of civilians, including the 1951 Geneva Refugee convention, and their integration into domestic legislation; calls on all parties involved in the different conflicts to respect the provision of humanitarian aid and comply with international humanitarian law (IHL); stresses the need for the EU and its Member States to monitor the application of IHL and to hold perpetrators of violations, including non-state actors, to account;

4.  Encourages the international community to strengthen its efforts to ensure the unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to all populations at risk; reaffirms the essential need to promote the safety, protection and freedom of movement of humanitarian workers in the field, who are increasingly becoming a target for attacks and threats, particularly in conflict settings; underlines the need for cooperation on humanitarian development using new methods, including joint multi-hazard risk analysis, multiannual programming and financing, and exit strategies for humanitarian actors;

5.  Highlights the central role that women play in the survival and resilience of communities in humanitarian crises, including in conflict and post-conflict situations; emphasises the need to address the specific needs and ensure the rights of women and children, who constitute the majority of those affected, and are more severely affected, by humanitarian crises; notes that gender-based violence is one of the most widespread but least recognised human rights abuses and a key obstacle to gender equality; recalls that women and girls who are pregnant as a result of rape in conflict situations must receive appropriate support and be provided access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, as reflected in IHL; calls on the World Humanitarian Summit to fully reflect the gender perspective in the future design of the humanitarian system that emerges from this consultation process;

6.  Calls for serious attention aimed at effectively ensuring, through the necessary financial and human resources, the right to education in protracted humanitarian crises, since lack of education threatens to endanger the future of children and the further development of any society; highlights the importance of continuous education in safeguarding and promoting shared and universal values such as human dignity, equality, democracy and human rights;

7.  Underlines the need to provide nutrition, water, shelter, sanitation and medical treatment, as fundamental rights of every human being; is extremely concerned about the risks of epidemics associated to dire sanitation conditions and limited access to safe drinking water, and over the lack of access to essential medicines in humanitarian crises; calls on the EU to take a leading role in ensuring the appropriate provision of essential medicines and safe drinking water in the context of humanitarian crises;

8.  Draws attention to the fact that displacement due to conflicts, natural disasters or environmental degradation leaves certain populations particularly vulnerable; stresses that refugees, internally displaced persons, victims of trafficking and other migrants caught in crises that endanger their lives must be afforded suitable protection of their human rights; expresses its deep concern regarding the unprecedentedly high number of refugees, externally displaced persons and migrants in the world today, and calls on the global community to use the World Humanitarian Summit to mobilise the necessary financial and operational resources to meet this challenge by specifically focusing on its root causes; highlights the importance of interreligious and intercultural dialogues in tackling massive refugee flows; calls on the EU and its Member States to prioritise the global refugee crisis in its policies and positions regarding the Summit, with a view to tackling the consequences of, and underlying reasons for, this flood of refugees; with this in view, urges the World Humanitarian Summit to call for more efficient ways to combat human trafficking and clamp down on recruitment and funding for terrorist groups by preventing and suppressing the recruiting, organising, transporting, and equipping of terrorist fighters, and the financing of their travel and activities; underlines the necessity and importance of rapid action together with a long-term concrete and comprehensive action plan to be applied in cooperation with third countries and local, national and regional actors for an effective and efficient approach with regard to the organised criminal networks of migrant smugglers; notes that Article 14(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees the right to seek and enjoy asylum, and stresses the obligation of states not to practise refoulement towards refugees; stresses the need for the EU, its Member States and all international actors to comply fully with international law, and to seriously assume their responsibility and duty to assist people in danger;

9.  Urges the EU, as the world’s largest humanitarian aid donor, to show leadership in the World Humanitarian Summit by calling for more flexible methods for delivering humanitarian aid, as well as for proactive and coherent measures and tools to effectively prevent crises; urges the EU and other donors to stay true to their financial commitments and to develop ways to reduce the time it takes to convert financial commitments into actions on the ground; points out, in addition, the importance of human rights reporting as an early warning mechanism for crises, and encourages the World Humanitarian Summit to take this into account when moving from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention;

10.  Encourages all the EU institutions, and in particular the Commission’s DG ECHO, as well as the Member States, to study the experience acquired in integrating human rights concerns into the core of humanitarian aid efforts within the UN system, and calls on the EU to take on a stronger role in advancing and improving this process; stresses the importance of ensuring policy coherence and coordination between EU humanitarian aid and development aid, in the new situation in which the EU has adopted a rights-based approach to development cooperation; deeply regrets, in this sense, that the Commission’s toolkit for a rights-based approach to development cooperation excludes EU humanitarian action; calls on the Commission, therefore, to commit to developing and adopting, as part of its engagement with the World Humanitarian Summit, a rights-based approach to EU humanitarian action.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

19.10.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

45

3

2

Members present for the final vote

Lars Adaktusson, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Amjad Bashir, Bas Belder, Elmar Brok, Klaus Buchner, Javier Couso Permuy, Mark Demesmaeker, Georgios Epitideios, Eugen Freund, Michael Gahler, Richard Howitt, Sandra Kalniete, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Afzal Khan, Andrey Kovatchev, Eduard Kukan, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Arne Lietz, Andrejs Mamikins, David McAllister, Francisco José Millán Mon, Alojz Peterle, Andrej Plenković, Jozo Radoš, Charles Tannock, László Tőkés, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Geoffrey Van Orden

Substitutes present for the final vote

Ignazio Corrao, Marielle de Sarnez, Neena Gill, Ana Gomes, Javi López, Urmas Paet, Traian Ungureanu

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Jonás Fernández, Arne Gericke, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Kinga Gál, Costas Mavrides, Momchil Nekov, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Jutta Steinruck, Renate Weber, Josef Weidenholzer, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Tomáš Zdechovský, Ivan Štefanec

19.10.2015

OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

for the Committee on Development

on preparing for the World Humanitarian Summit: Challenges and opportunities for humanitarian assistance

(2015/2051(INI))

Rapporteur: Anna Hedh

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A.  whereas several reports from emergency and crisis zones testify to abuses against the civil population, including children; whereas women and children are especially vulnerable in the context of sexual violence used as a weapon to terrorise the population, humiliate and destroy communities, break up families or modify the ethnic composition of future generations; whereas the effects of violence live on after hostilities have been brought to an end, in the form of infections and marginalisation; whereas violence can continue and even increase post-conflict in cases where the hostilities are followed by a continuing lack of stability and security; whereas violence poses a threat to the security of nations and hampers efforts to restore peace following a conflict;

B.  considering the exponential increase of reports of sexual and gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse during and in the aftermath of emergencies;

C.  whereas in conflict zones, the warring parties might convert schools into training camps, arms depots or bases for military operations; whereas the use of schools and other forms of educational facilities for military use hinders and restricts the use of such facilities for their rightful purpose by students and teachers, in both the short and long term, hampering access to education, which is one of the most important tools in preventing different forms of discrimination and oppression and is also a human right enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; whereas under Article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child the States Parties undertake to ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts which are relevant to the child; whereas, however, the protection and education of children in emergency situations and crises are among the humanitarian actions that attract the least amount of funding;

D.  whereas international law acknowledges the right to adequate health care for victims of sexual violence used in conflicts, such as the prevention of long-term physical and psychological damage;

E.  whereas conflict often leads to more single or child-headed households and creates an additional workload for women;

F.  whereas unsafe abortion is listed by the World Health Organisation as one of three leading causes of maternal mortality;

1.  Notes that crises are not gender neutral and that gender-sensitive considerations should be included in all stages of humanitarian programming, with the participation of women’s rights groups and organisations, including local and regional ones; expresses the need to also adopt a children’s perspective on conflicts and peace keeping by listening to the needs and voices of children, and stresses that humanitarian responses must prioritise life-saving protection and education interventions for all girls and boys in the very first stages of disaster response; stresses also the fact that every conflict or crisis is unique and needs to be addressed on the basis of prior knowledge of the prevalent context;

2.  Encourages investments to build health facilities, which welcome women victims of sexual violence, in areas of conflict where the civilian population is brutally targeted; considers that these hospitals could take their inspiration from the one that Congolese Doctor Denis Mukwege, the 2014 European Parliament Sakharov Laureate, established in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where targeted women receive pathological and psycho-social support in an attempt to overcome the damage caused by sexual violence;

3.  Welcomes the introduction of the gender marker for humanitarian programming; calls on donors to use the gender marker and to monitor gender integration throughout the whole humanitarian cycle and considers essential to collect data that is disaggregated by gender and age, including a breakdown by age; urges all stakeholders and actors working with humanitarian assistance to adopt a gender-sensitive approach to their work;

4.  Considers that access to education is key to girls’ and women’s empowerment; stresses that education in emergency situations helps to prevent the early marriage of girls, sexual and gender-based violence, prostitution and human trafficking; welcomes the international efforts in the framework of the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict; and calls for comprehensive education, including sex and relationship education, to be a key part of all EU humanitarian responses to every emergency;

5.  Encourages investment in empowering women through support to income-generating projects, which considerably reduce their vulnerability and increase their independence, thus fostering sustainable development in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals;

6.  Encourages and facilitates cooperation between the Member States for the introduction of more effective procedures to prevent, prepare for and protect against natural, technological or man-made disasters, both inside and outside the EU, by seeking new approaches to humanitarian aid management and further EU instruments to deal with gender-based violence;

7.  Calls for the inclusion of targeted services for adolescent girls in all emergency responses, given that they run a greater risk of being forced into marriage, or even into transactional sex or prostitution, in order to help their families, who are struggling with the poverty and chaos disaster brings;

8.  Is deeply concerned by the increase of gender-based violence (GBV) in emergency situations; calls on State and non-State parties to comply with their legal obligations under international humanitarian law and other applicable norms, and to take measures against GBV and Female Genital Mutilation and ensure the accountability of perpetrators; strongly condemns every act of GBV, especially by staff working under an international mandate; emphasises the internationally declared legal basis for the right to sexual and reproductive health and rights for victims of sexual violence and for people in conflicts;

9.  Stresses that, in cases where a pregnancy threatens a woman’s or a girl’s life or causes unbearable suffering, international humanitarian law and/or international rights law justifies offering a safe abortion rather than perpetuating what amounts to inhumane treatment; urges all actors involved in conflicts to observe victims’ right to all necessary health care, including abortions, as foreseen by the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols;

10.  Strongly condemns the continued use of rape against women and girls as a weapon of war; stresses that more needs to be done to ensure respect for international law and access to health and psychological care for women and girls abused in conflicts; calls on the EU, the Member States, international organisations and civil society to increase cooperation with a view to raising awareness and combating impunity;

11.  Considers that all staff involved in the provision of humanitarian assistance, including police or military forces, should receive adequate gender-sensitive training, and that a strict code of conduct must be put in place to prevent them from abusing their position and to ensure gender equality;

12.  Calls on humanitarian actors to incorporate GBV prevention and mitigation strategies into all their sector-specific interventions, facilitating the identification of new EU funding instruments, and, to this end, to take stock of the revised Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action, prepared by the Global Protection Cluster; considers also that humanitarian actors (including the EU) should consult girls and boys (especially adolescent girls) at all stages of disaster preparedness and response;

13.  Calls on the humanitarian agencies to strengthen their coordination in order to identify and protect victims, and potential victims, from sexual exploitation and abuse;

14.  Stresses the need for readily accessible, comprehensive and coordinated sexual and reproductive health services for all women in crisis situations.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

15.10.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

23

5

2

Members present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Maria Arena, Catherine Bearder, Malin Björk, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Viorica Dăncilă, Iratxe García Pérez, Anna Hedh, Mary Honeyball, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Vicky Maeijer, Barbara Matera, Angelika Mlinar, Maria Noichl, Marijana Petir, Jordi Sebastià, Michaela Šojdrová, Ernest Urtasun, Ángela Vallina, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Jana Žitňanská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Stefan Eck, Arne Gericke, Kostadinka Kuneva, Constance Le Grip, Evelyn Regner, Monika Vana

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Jane Collins

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

10.11.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

14

3

7

Members present for the final vote

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Ignazio Corrao, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Nathan Gill, Charles Goerens, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Heidi Hautala, Maria Heubuch, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, Cristian Dan Preda, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Elly Schlein, Pedro Silva Pereira, Davor Ivo Stier, Paavo Väyrynen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Rainer Wieland, Anna Záborská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Marina Albiol Guzmán, Louis-Joseph Manscour, Paul Rübig, Joachim Zeller

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

14

+

ALDE

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Charles Goerens, Paavo Väyrynen

EFDD

Ignazio Corrao

GUE/NGL

Lola Sánchez Caldentey

S&D

Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Louis-Joseph Manscour, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, Elly Schlein, Pedro Silva Pereira

Verts/ALE

Heidi Hautala, Maria Heubuch

3

-

EFDD

Nathan Gill

PPE

Joachim Zeller, Anna Záborská

7

0

GUE/NGL

Marina Albiol Guzmán

PPE

Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Cristian Dan Preda, Paul Rübig, Davor Ivo Stier, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Rainer Wieland

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/46/a46r182.htm

(2)

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/iasc-transformative-agenda

(3)

https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/ROWCA/Coordination/Principles_of_Partnership_GHP_July2007.pdf

(4)

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/64/290

(5)

https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/files/guidelines-integrating-gender-based-violence-interventions-humanitarian-action

(6)

http://www.preventionweb.net/files/43291_sendaiframeworkfordrren.pdf

(7)

http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/69/313

(8)

http://www.globalhumanitarianassistance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/GHA-Report-2015_-Interactive_Online.pdf

(9)

https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/system/files/documents/files/gho-status_report-final-web.pdf

(10)

http://www.ghdinitiative.org/ghd/gns/principles-good-practice-of-ghd/principles-good-practice-ghd.html

(11)

OJ L 163, 2.7.1996, p. 1.

(12)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=URISERV:ah0009

(13)

OJ L 122, 24.4.2014, p. 1

(14)

https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2015/EN/1-2015-335-EN-F1-1.PDF

(15)

OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 924.

(16)

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/sites/echo-site/files/Gender_SWD_2013.pdf

(17)

http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2015/EN/1-2015-406-EN-F1-1.PDF

(18)

http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/synthesis/aar/doc/echo_aar_2014.pdf

(19)

http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9420-2015-INIT/en/pdf

(20)

http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9241-2015-INIT/en/pdf

(21)

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/137319.pdf

(22)

http://www.preventionweb.net/files/37783_eccommunicationsdgs.pdf

(23)

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/146311.pdf

(24)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=JOIN:2015:0040:FIN:EN:PDF

(25)

https://www.worldhumanitariansummit.org/

(26)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0196.

(27)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0059.

(28)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0270.

(29)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0231.

(30)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0187.

(31)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0072.

(32)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0040.

(33)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0010.

(34)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0317.

(35)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0176.

(36)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=comnat:COM_2015_0419_FIN

(37)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1441187290883&uri=SWD:2015:166:FIN

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