Humanitarian aid is one of the priorities of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. It is mobilised in case of an acute or long-lasting crisis following a natural disaster (earthquakes, floods…) or caused by men (conflicts), according to the fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality.
The objectives of humanitarian aid are saving and preserving human lives, as opposed to structural activities, implemented through development programmes. Humanitarian aid interventions occur when the authorities’ response is insufficient and operate with both governmental bodies and the civil society.
Humanitarian aid is implemented by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs through three complementary systems:
The Humanitarian Emergency Fund of the Crisis Centre, that funds NGOs and direct interventions from the State if necessary;
Voluntary contributions to UN agencies operating in humanitarian activities (UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, OCHA, WHO, ICRC);
Food aid, managed by the Directorate-General of Global Affairs, and partly dedicated to emergency programs.
Emergency food aid targets populations in situation of punctual or chronic nutritious vulnerability certified by relevant international organisations. Emergency food aid is mobilised to:
Respond to the basic nutritious needs of populations during long-lasting crises and recovery, through food delivery to refugees and internally displaced persons in particular, delivery of inputs to boost the agricultural activity, food delivery targeted at children under five suffering from acute chronic malnutrition;
Support development programmes in respect to the Millennium Development Goals. Within this frame, food aid is, in coordination with other mechanisms, a tool for development: support to school canteens, fight against HIV/AIDS and TB, cash for work in water and sanitation issues…