The Humanitarian Action Office
propounds an approach to emergency interventions based on:
- Preparation for crisis
response, by strengthening local and regional capacities, supporting early
warning systems, and supporting contingency plans by global and regional
partner organizations. In this regard, the HAO is supporting disaster readiness
in Latin America, in conjunction with the International Federation of the
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Pan American Health
- Coordination of response
activities, through United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination
(UNDAC) and the UN Secretary-General's Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
- Action in accordance with
different international standardization, quality and accountability
initiatives, such as: the principles of the Grand Bargain, the Sphere
Project, the Quality & Accountability COMPASS, ALNAP and HAP.
In order to contribute to
improved and more effective responses to emergencies from Spain's humanitarian
action, in 2016 the HAO launched the START project (Spanish Technical Aid
Response Team). As a result, Spain now has, for the first time, a top-level
team of health professionals from the public sector who are ready to be
deployed in under 72 hours to any region of the world where a humanitarian
emergency occurs. This puts AECID at the forefront of European donor agencies
in terms of humanitarian response.
START was certified by the
World Health Organization as a specialized team on 31 May 2017. The project
also forms part of the EERC (European Emergency Response Capacity), a system
overseen by the European Commission's DG ECHO to coordinate and increase the
effectiveness of Europe's humanitarian response within the European Civil
Protection Mechanism. A significant portion of the START project is therefore
financed with European funds.
The emergency and
post-emergency response instruments employed by the HAO can be classified
according to the actors undertaking the action, whether it is the HAO itself or
the AECID Technical Cooperation Offices (direct response), or other actors such
as national or foreign NGOs, international organizations, local entities, etc.
Direct responses take the form
of immediately sending humanitarian aid following a catastrophe, from the
Humanitarian Logistics Centres in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid) and the UNHRD (UN
Humanitarian Response Depot) in Panama. Indirect responses are managed through
emergency agreements with Spanish NGOs and international cooperation grants
awarded to key international humanitarian actors (UNHCR, UNICEF, ICRC, OCHA and
OCHA's Central Emergency Response Fund [CERF], POHA, and IFRC, through its
calls for support and its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund [DREF]).
The HAO has promoted a process
to develop and agree on tools to unify the response criteria of Spanish teams
that collaborate in direct actions. In this regard, the HAO has a “Contingency
Plan for Humanitarian Crises Caused by Disasters”, as well as “Standard
Operating Procedures for direct disaster responses”, and Action Protocols for
the fields of health, water, sanitation and hygiene.