Visit to the Humanitarian Logistics Centre of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) at the Torrejón de Ardoz airbase. EFE PHOTO
Humanitarian Action

The purpose of the humanitarian action is to protect and save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, meet the basic and immediate needs of the people and promote their rights, from a perspective that includes the reduction of vulnerability and the strengthening of capacities.

The 5th Spanish Master Plan for Cooperation for 2018-2021 deals with the need to undertake a general paradigm shift signalled by the Agenda for Humanity arising out of the World Humanitarian Summit 2016 and the humanitarian “Grand Bargain” that same year. Likewise, ten years after the first humanitarian strategy of the Spanish Cooperation, the fulfilment of its objectives has been assessed, as well as the appropriateness of their instruments to design the new Strategy which will be unveiled at the end of 2018.


AECID’s Humanitarian Action Office (OAH, as per the Spanish acronym) assumes the coordination and leadership of the Spanish Humanitarian action, both in contexts affected by humanitarian crises and in international and regional humanitarian forums.


Since its creation, the humanitarian aid managed by AECID has reached 950 million euros and more than 3 million people in need affected by humanitarian crises, due to conflicts or natural disasters, have benefited from same.
The priority lines of action of the OAH focus on food and nutrition security, health, access to water and sanitation and protection. Furthermore, our humanitarian action has included a gender-based perspective in a cross-cutting manner.


The budgetary situation of Spain forced the attention to be focused towards fewer humanitarian crises, always taking into account the needs of the most vulnerable populations, providing added value and creating synergies between the development and humanitarian projects. Thus, the 5 focus areas in terms of the volume of funds are:


• Regional crisis in Syria and Iraq.
• Sahel and Lake Chad.
• Sahrawi Refugees Camps.
• Palestinian Territories
• Latin America and the Caribbean (Colombia, Venezuela, vulnerable people in transit in the north of Central America, along with disaster preparation and response).


Likewise, during the last 25 years, our humanitarian action teams have taken part in emergency responses to natural disasters. For example, in 2018, they have been present in Indonesia after the Lombok earthquakes and in India after the Kerala floods.


As a contribution to the improvement of the emergency response of the Spanish Humanitarian Action, the commissioning of the "Red Vests” project in 2018 by the AECID or the START (Spanish Technical Aid Response Team) can be noted. START enables Spain to have a first-rate healthcare team comprised of professionals from the public healthcare system ready to be deployed in less than 72 hours to anywhere in the world where a humanitarian emergency occurs.


Moreover, the AECID has three deployment points from which it can respond in the case that a humanitarian crisis takes place. The first of them is the Humanitarian Logistics Centre located at the Torrejón de Ardoz airbase, which offers the capacity to act simultaneously in several crises. The second one is the Spanish Cooperation centre in Latin America - in Panama- within the framework of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot Network (UNHRD), which is part of the World Food Programme (WFP). Finally, the AECID fund the humanitarian logistic hub of the WFP in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria covers the crises that occur in West Africa and to support Central America and the Caribbean.


The Humanitarian Action Office works for the sensitisation and monitoring of international debates and the main forums where Spain takes part from a humanitarian perspective, with special emphasis on the so-called chronic or “forgotten” crises.


In 2018 the humanitarian imprint of the action of Spanish foreign affairs has been reinforced, as can be seen from the following facts:


• Spain is present in the donor group of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which it returned to in October 2017 after a five-year absence.
• In 2019, Spain will chair the ODSG (the OCHA Donor Support Group, which is the main UN agency for humanitarian issues) and has entered its “troika” in 2018.
• This year, Spain took over the chairmanship of the Group of Friends of UNHRD of the World Food Programme.
• Furthermore, as a means of demonstrating this humanitarian commitment, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, the OCHA Director and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Executive Director of the WFP visited Spain in 2018.

 

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