The Humanitarian Logistics Centre of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) at the Torrejón de Ardoz airbase. PHOTO: EFE
Humanitarian Action
The purpose of humanitarian action is to protect and save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, meet the basic and immediate needs of the population and promote their rights, all from a perspective of the reduction of vulnerability and the strengthening of capacities.

The Fifth Spanish Master Plan for Cooperation for 2018-2021 tackles the paradigm shift signalled by the Agenda for Humanity, arising from the World Humanitarian Summit 2016 and the humanitarian “Grand Bargain” that same year. March 2019 also saw the new Spanish Cooperation Humanitarian Action Strategy (2019-2026), which was adopted with a multilateral and European-oriented approach.

The Humanitarian Action Office (OAH) of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) assumes the coordination and leadership of the Spanish Humanitarian action, both in the delivery of assistance and across international and regional humanitarian forums.
Since its creation, the value of humanitarian aid managed by AECID has surpassed one billion euros, reaching over 3 million people in need affected by humanitarian crises, whether due to conflict or natural disaster.

The priority lines of action of the OAH focus on food and nutrition security, health, access to water and sanitation and protection. What’s more, it incorporates the gender perspective on a cross-cutting basis and has begun work in the area of education in emergencies.

The 5 areas of focus are the Syrian regional crisis, the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Sahrawi Refugees Camps, the Palestinian Territories and Latin America and the Caribbean.

We have also participated in humanitarian action over the last 25 years as part of the emergency response to natural disasters. In 2018, for example, we responded to the earthquakes in Indonesia and the Fuego volcano eruption in Guatemala.

To contribute to improving Spain’s humanitarian emergency the "Red Vests” and START (Spanish Technical Aid Response Team) projects were launched in 2018 by the AECID, allowing Spain to rely on a first-rate team of healthcare professionals from the public healthcare system ready to be deployed anywhere in the world in less than 72 hours in the event of a humanitarian emergency. In April 2019 such an event occurred for the first time and the team was deployed in Dondo (Mozambique) to respond to the emergency caused by Cyclone Idai.

The AECID has three deployment points to respond in the event of a humanitarian crisis: the humanitarian logistics centre in Torrejón de Ardoz, with the capacity to respond to more than one crisis simultaneously, the Spanish Cooperation centre in Latin America, in Panama, belonging to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the PMA humanitarian logistics base in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which covers crises in Western and Central Africa.

The Humanitarian Action Office is also involved in work to raise awareness of, and monitor, international debates and across the main forums in which Spain takes part from a humanitarian perspective, with a special emphasis on the so-called chronic or “forgotten” crises.

In 2019 the humanitarian element of Spain's overseas actions will remain to the fore, as evidenced by the following:
• Spain is present in the donor group of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to which to which returned in October 2017 after a five-year absence.
• Spain will chair the ODSG (the OCHA Donor Support Group, which is the main UN agency for humanitarian issues) from July 2019 to June 2020br/>• Spain has returned to the Executive Board of the World Food Programme and will remain a member straight through to 2024.
• On 28 an 29 May Spain will host the Third International Conference on Safe Schools.

 

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