Humanitarian Aid Working Group

On the 20th of February 2006, a Cooperation Protocol was signed between the Directorate of the NGDOs Platform and some of its NGO members working in the area of emergency humanitarian aid. The signing of this Protocol formalized the existence of the Platform's Emergency Humanitarian Aid Group, consisting of the following organizations: ADRA PortugalOIKOS Cooperação e DesenvolvimentoAssociação Saúde em Português e Médicos do Mundo – Portugal.

The group elected as its main foundation the need for joint efforts to prevent wastage of resources (human and material) at the level of projects implementation in the area of emergency humanitarian aid, as well as the need to promote internal and external training and preparation.

The main objective of humanitarian aid is to assist populations’ victim of natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, droughts, storms), of man-made disasters (wars, conflicts, rebellions) or structural crises (severe political, economic or social disruptions). The purpose is to prevent or alleviate human suffering. Aid is mainly intended for vulnerable people and for populations in developing countries. Its main characteristic is that it is granted without discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, nationality or political affiliation. Humanitarian aid decisions must be taken impartially and solely according to the needs and interests of the victims.

Humanitarian aid is concentrated mainly in the provision of goods and services (eg food, medicines, vaccines, water supply, psychological support, demining, clothing, shelter, rehabilitation) that should, as far as possible, be purchased in local markets in order to stimulate these economies. The Humanitarian Aid may also have a preventive reach (planting trees to prevent flooding, etc.) and can extend well beyond the immediate moment of occurrence of a disaster, aiming for the rehabilitation of basic infrastructures and the promotion of competencies within the political, economic and social structures of the countries, so that they can in the medium term, once again assume their essential functions to support the populations.