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European Commission — Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

Support and training to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters

Principal Office: International

The European Union responds to natural and human-caused disasters through the EC’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO).

ECHO directs humanitarian aid to developing countries, and it extends measures for civil protection to EU countries and other countries.

Grant Programs for Agriculture, Energy, Environment, Natural Resources

The EU’s international cooperation for disaster response extends across the EU candidate countries, EU neighborhood countries, and other third countries. Moreover, the EU works through regional initiatives, and it collaborates with international organizations, in matters of responding to natural and human-caused disasters.

ECHO provides emergency responses after disasters occur, and it supports programs to prevent and mitigate them.

1 – Civil Protection Mechanism (Disaster Response). This is the EU’s instrument to facilitate assistance in the event of major emergencies that require urgent responses. Examples are forest fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, marine oil spills, and others.

About the Civil Protection Mechanism

APPLICATION: Requests for emergency assistance are directed to ECHO’s Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC). Any country affected by a major disaster – inside or outside the EU – can request assistance. The ERCC coordinates communications in ECHO and at the EC level in order to offer a response.

About the Emergency Response Coordination Center


2 — Disaster Preparedness. ECHO funds the Civil Protection Financial Instrument to reinforce international cooperation in civil protection. In addition to courses and exercises, the program provides for cross-country exchange of experts in civil protection. Participants in training and exchanges are from EU countries, as well as from third countries, according to the objectives of annual work plans.

APPLICATION: Each year, ECHO develops a work plan for capacity building in support of civil protection. The work plan identifies activities to be funded, available budgets for each activity, and participation criteria.

About the program, and calls for proposals

Geographical Distribution of Grant Activities in Developing Countries


ECHO’s website is available in English and French.

ECHO posts calls for proposals.

Vademecum is a summary of ECHO’s role in civil protection.

The EC funds humanitarian assistance through about 200 partner organizations. They are civil society organizations in the EU countries, together with several United Nations agencies and international organizations (e.g., Red Cross and Red Crescent societies).

ECHO posts an email contact form.

February 2021