Putting people first in conflict and crisis


Ado on her daily round to visit the Internal Displaced people in a camp near Oog. Ibado (purple dress, glasses) lives in the village of Oog, near Burao in Somaliland. She is assisting IDP’s that are victim of the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa.

When a crisis hits, be it an unfolding conflict or a natural disaster, humanitarian aid is a lifeline for people

The EU has a role to play in making sure that peoples’ needs come first and that they receive life-saving aid and support as is their right. The 2021 EU Communication on Humanitarian Aid has set the route for humanitarian aid, by spelling out the political will and direction of travel for EU aid in crises. This applies to the EU and to EU countries, and they must abide by this rulebook. 

Among the EU's priorities is the safeguarding of international humanitarian law, a core focus of Oxfam’s influencing work towards EU institutions. Oxfam is dedicated to ensuring that the promotion and compliance with international humanitarian law is part and parcel of EU foreign policy. Oxfam's lobbying efforts pushed the EU towards addressing the protracted conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, advocated for unrestricted humanitarian access in Yemen, and demanded funding for anticipatory approaches to food crises in the Horn of Africa. Military or geopolitical objectives must not overshadow the EU's humanitarian work. Instead, the EU must preserve and foster humanitarian principles, a locally-led response, and adherence to international humanitarian law. 

The EU’s funding pot for crisis responses is not enough

For the past decade, humanitarian needs have outpaced global funding, and the EU’s already stretched-thin budget is at the point of breaking, at the expense of people’s lives. The EU must boost its funding pot to be able to react quickly to all crises.