Yesterday, 11 October, at European Parliament in Brussels, at an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, the Estonian Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary for Economic and Development Affairs Väino Reinart delivered an address emphasising the humanitarian principles that form the core of the consensus and the need to alleviate the humanitarian situation.
“With today’s event we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid and reiterate the values it is based on. The fundamental humanitarian principles are humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and respect for international humanitarian law and human rights,” said Undersecretary Reinart. “It is our moral obligation to provide humanitarian aid and during the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Estonia emphasises the importance of these core elements,” he added.
Undersecretary Reinart expressed regret that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased. “Ten years ago when the consensus was signed, 27 million people received humanitarian aid. Today, there are already almost 100 million people who received help,” Reinart said. “The EU member states are collectively the world's largest relief donor but we must increase our efforts even further to mitigate the effects of different crises,” the Undersecretary said.
European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides also emphasised that the consensus is a cornerstone of the EU's humanitarian aid. “It is our common compass to navigate the rough seas of this challenging world,” Commissioner Stylianides said. “We must continue our work. We must ensure that humanitarian principles are applied and respected when delivering humanitarian assistance on the ground. There can be no compromise to this,” the Commissioner stressed.
The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid was signed in 2007 and establishes the humanitarian principles and good practices that underpin EU humanitarian aid. Additional information (pdf) on the Humanitarian Consensus.