European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO)
ECHO provides rapid and effective support to the victims of disasters beyond the European Union's borders. On average, approximately 16% of ECHO humanitarian relief is a response to sudden-onset natural disasters. The importance of disaster preparedness is clearly recognised in ECHO's mandate and in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid adopted in 2007. In 1996 ECHO launched a specific programme, DIPECHO (Disaster Preparedness ECHO) dedicated to disaster preparedness. Disaster preparedness also has a central place in the 23 principles for Good Humanitarian Donorship agreed in 2003 in Stockholm by leading humanitarian donors, including ECHO.
ECHO's humanitarian mandate prescribes a focus on saving lives, providing relief and thus assisting the most vulnerable groups. ECHO therefore prioritizes 'people-oriented' preparedness measures. The main component of ECHO's contribution to the global Disaster Risk Reduction efforts remains the DIPECHO programme which now covers sever disaster-prone regions. The DIPECHO programme therefore targets highly vulnerable communities living in some of the most disaster-prone regions of the world. This is what we term our 'community-based approach'.
ECHO has been supporting innovative initiatives in disaster preparedness. DIPECHO programme started from 1996. The DIPECHO programme had been expanded over the years and now covers seven disaster prone regions: the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Central Asia, South Asia, South East Asia and South East Africa and South West Indian Ocean.[ Learn More About ECHO ]
European Commission Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid – DG ECHO has set up DIPECHO (which stands for Disaster Preparedness ECHO) to improve the capacities of communities at risk to better prepare and protect themselves. DIPECHO projects are designed as pilot strategies for their region: their impact is multiplied when the strategies are systematically integrated into long-term development projects. Following are the aims of DIPECHO Initiatives.
- Targeting the most vulnerable communities and categories of population using bottom-up participatory methods and relevant local materials/resources that can be easily replicated.
- Fostering appropriate and sustainable preparedness activities that are coordinated with local and national public institutions and that can be easily replicated in other parts of the region and beyond.
- Focusing on the area most exposed to frequent natural hazards and with less coping capacities.
The projects funded by the programme include simple and inexpensive preparatory measures, often implemented by the communities themselves. They have proven extremely effective in limiting damage and saving lives when hazards suddenly strike. DIPECHO-projects will typically emphasize training, capacity building, awareness raising, establishment or improvement of local early-warning systems and contingency planning. There are numerous examples that these simple and community-owned preparedness measures enable communities at risk to save their own lives and livelihoods when disaster strikes. As any other relief provided by ECHO, DIPECHO projects are carried out by European-based aid agencies and UN agencies in close cooperation with local NGOs and authorities.
DIPECHO VII action plan in Bangladesh
The DIPECHO VI Action Plan in Bangladesh launched from March 2013 with a principal objective to institutionalise the CBDP models in urban and rural areas. This process will focus on increase the awareness and the response capacities of local communities to reduce the effects of these disasters on the most vulnerable. European Commission is supporting the projects through NARRI Consortium members namely ActionAid Bangladesh, Concern Universal, Concern Worldwide Islamic Relief Bangladesh, Oxfam and Solidarites International.