European Humanitarian Forum: Belgium allocates 190m euros for emergency aid

Belgium has earmarked 190 million euros for humanitarian aid, minister for Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez said on Monday at the European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels.

The budget is 20 million euros more than last year, putting Belgium among the top 20 international donors. "Humanitarian needs have never been greater. It has never been so difficult to get enough aid to people in need," said Gennez.

"I am proud that we can still make a relatively large contribution as a small country"

"I am proud that we can still make a relatively large contribution as a small country. Belgium is valued as a donor because more than 60 per cent of our humanitarian aid goes to emergency funds and aid organisations' general resources. This means they can decide where and how the aid is spent," Gennez said.

The European Humanitarian Forum, co-organised by the European Commission and Belgium, is held in the context of a sharp rise in global humanitarian needs, a shrinking humanitarian space, increasingly complex and protracted conflicts, the politicisation of aid and growing vulnerability due to climate change.

Forgotten crises

At Belgium's request, this year's focus is also on forgotten crises, humanitarian crises that receive less media and political attention and remain underfunded.

The increasing number of violations of international humanitarian law is also on the agenda. "As an international community, we have a responsibility to help people in need, whatever the circumstances," said Gennez. "This is as true for a hungry child in Gaza as it is for a survivor of sexual violence in eastern Congo."

The United Nations estimates that 300 million people will need humanitarian assistance by the end of the year due to the number of conflicts worldwide and the effects of climate change. Last year, the international community provided only 40 per cent of the needed aid.

Funding gap

In other words, the funding gap has never been greater. At the European Humanitarian Forum, the European Commission and the Belgian presidency of the EU call on member states and the donor community to step up their efforts.

The forum will bring together 3,000 aid workers, politicians and representatives of humanitarian NGOs and UN agencies for two days to announce their contributions and discuss how humanitarian aid can be increased and organised more efficiently.


Cargo is loaded ahead of the departure of an emergency aid dropping operation to Gaza, at the military airport in Melsbroek, 4 March 2024 © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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