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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Humanitarian partners


The European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) works with about 200 partners organisations to provide humanitarian assistance throughout the world.

Humanitarian partners are European humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations (including United Nations agencies), as well as specialised agencies from Member States.

Having a diverse range of partners is important for the EU. It allows for comprehensive coverage of the ever-expanding needs in complex situations across the world.

The EU has developed increasingly close working relationships with its partners at the level of both policy issues and management of humanitarian operations.

For more detailed information about humanitarian partnerships with the European Commission (such as existing partners, types of partnerships, and instructions on how to become a European Commission humanitarian partner) please visit the DG ECHO Partners' website.

Non-Governmental Organisations

The relationship between DG ECHO and its non-governmental partners is governed by the EU Humanitarian Partnership 2021 Certificate. It is awarded to organisations that, as a result of the positive assessment of their partnership application, are considered suitable to apply for EU funding for the implementation of humanitarian aid actions.

The Certificate identifies the basic principles and obligations that the certified organisation commits to (e.g. respect of the relevant EU, international and national law, commitment to humanitarian principles, etc.). It sets the minimum standards for the preparation and implementation of humanitarian actions.

Once an NGO is awarded the Partnership Certificate, it may submit request for DG ECHO funding. If it is successful, the NGO will sign a model grant agreement where all relevant aspects of the humanitarian action are defined. The aim is to make the best and most effective use of the funds provided.

International organisations

DG ECHO also contributes to humanitarian actions, projects or programmes administered by international organisations (including the United Nations agencies).

To that end, DG ECHO has signed Framework Partnership Agreements with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies (IFRC).

Additionally, the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA) establishes the overall legal framework for all agreements between the EU and the UN.

These agreements outline the overall objectives and conditions of the collaboration concerning the award of funding to the partner organisations. They are implemented in practice through specific action-related funding agreements.

EU Member States’ specialised agencies

We also work with several EU Member States' specialised agencies. Depending on whether they are pillar assessed or not, the agencies recognised as DG ECHO partners will work under direct management or indirect management (pillar-assessed organisations).

Last updated 01/02/2024