Within a relatively short time, armed conflicts, natural disasters or epidemics can give rise to humanitarian crises and endanger the lives of thousands of people. Particularly in the event of crisis, governments and local civilian populations often lack sufficient capacities to alleviate the impacts of an emergency. This is where international support is needed: Countries with adequate resources, such as Austria, can be asked for help.
This assistance is provided in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, that is, only where the afflicted country cannot manage on its own. The assistance aims at meeting the humanitarian needs of the victims and adheres to the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
Relief organisations are quick to help in humanitarian crises and mobilise large amounts of funds via donation campaigns, but they also operate with public funding. This means that instead of providing humanitarian aid directly, Austria as a state funds relevant projects and programmes which are run by qualified Austrian and international relief agencies.
Along with ministries and federal states, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) also administers funds. It cooperates closely with partners that have gained sound experience in humanitarian aid and provides these with public funds for relief programmes. The only way to ensure that people in an acute crisis receive the best possible help and that public funds are put to efficient use is by cooperating with professional and reliable partners, such as the UN humanitarian agencies (for instance UNHCR or UNICEF), the organisations of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and qualified Austrian civil-society organisations (CSOs).
FUNDING HUMANITARIAN MEASURES
In the event of a humanitarian crisis, funds are allocated by ADA either in response to appeals for assistance from international organisations or via calls for proposals to projects submitted by accredited Austrian CSOs.
To assess their qualification, Austrian CSOs can submit an application for accreditation to the Austrian Development Agency. This accreditation procedure applies solely to funding for humanitarian aid and in response to a humanitarian crisis or disaster situation.
Ten Austrian NGOs are presently accredited with ADA to implement public aid funds provided by Austrian Development Cooperation:
Category 1 (implementation of humanitarian aid and "nexus humanitarian aid – development cooperation" projects/ programmes as lead organisation)
Category 2 (implementation of "nexus humanitarian aid – development cooperation" measures as consortium partner organisation)