Humanitarian action seeks to protect and save lives, to prevent and alleviate human suffering, to meet the basic and immediate needs of the population and to promote their rights, while focusing on reducing vulnerability and on capacity building.
Spanish Cooperation humanitarian action is currently undergoing a far-reaching programme of restructuring, to promote a holistic approach going beyond the simple concept of aid, assistance or relief, to include, moreover, the dimensions of prevention, preparedness, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
All action in this area should be governed by respect for humanitarian principles:
Humanity: The relief and prevention of human suffering are the ultimate aims of humanitarian action. Above all else, saving lives and restoring human dignity.
Neutrality: Where humanitarian action is carried out, it should never favour any side in an armed conflict or any party in a dispute.
Impartiality: Humanitarian actions should be undertaken with sole consideration for the needs of individuals, without discriminating among or within the populations affected.
Independence: Humanitarian goals should be independent of political, economic or military priorities and of any other parties in areas where humanitarian action takes place.
The number of people affected worldwide by humanitarian crises has progressively increased, both by successive natural disasters and by the deepening financial crisis. This tragic reality obliges us to professionalise the humanitarian response; this evolution has been accompanied by a marked increase in solidarity, both public and private.
Spanish Cooperation, in line with other donors, has progressively increased the resources allocated to humanitarian action. At the same time, it has acquired tools to manage this aid effectively. Thus, since 2007 the Office for Humanitarian Action (OHA) has adopted the Spanish Cooperation Strategy for Humanitarian Action and has invested in strengthening its coordination and response mechanisms, and in developing new financial tools and protocols for action.
Humanitarian responses must be based on an analysis of needs. Therefore, the OHA is committed to aligning the volume and destination of its aid to long-standing and emergency United Nations appeals, and to internationally-corroborated humanitarian response indices such as the European Commission’s GNA (Global Needs Assessment) and FCA (Forgotten Crisis Needs Assessment).