VOICE Board meets ECHO Director-General Claus Sorensen
After a first meeting in July which served to establish contact and build trust, the VOICE Board again met with ECHO Director General Claus Sorensen and other high level ECHO staff on March 27.
Themes on the agenda were:
• the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
• the comprehensive approach in the EU
• the Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) and the use of consortia
• Linking Relief Rehabilitation and Development
As DG ECHO is starting to develop its next funding framework for NGOs (FPA), the VOICE Board raised attention to the importance of finding a balance between the need for efficiency and accountability on the one hand, and on the other hand the need for simplification and for a diversity of professional humanitarian partners to be able to respond to the diverse needs of disaster affected populations. Also the importance of evaluating the use of consortia was repeated.
With regards to the link between DG ECHO and the European External Action Service, Mr. Sorensen explained the necessity to maintain the dialogue and have constructive discussions, while ensuring DG ECHO’s autonomy in decision making for humanitarian aid is respected.
On the issue of LRRD, DG ECHO and the VOICE Board shared the analysis that, despite several efforts, improvements are still necessary, both in Brussels and in the field. Several ideas and work in progress were exchanged.
Lastly, the importance of the Consensus as a key EU document for humanitarian aid was discussed, with all actors agreeing on the importance of keeping this very good policy framework visible also after the current Action Plan ends.