ITF Becomes an EU Member States’ Specialised Agency
In the “House of the European Union”, the letter informing ITF of its new status was symbolically given to ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF) by Mr Zoran Stančič, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in the Republic of Slovenia. ITF was given the status of a Member States’ Specialised Agency (MSSA) by the European Commission, specifically the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). This status gives ITF wide opportunities for implementing humanitarian projects of the European Union. ITF is the first MSSA with such status from Slovenia or any other recent EU Member State, in addition to the current 11 MSSA agencies from Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Sweden and Spain.
The process of obtaining the MSSA status was complex and long lasting. During the process, the European Commission payed special attention to ITF financial management and financial results, the scale of work implemented in the field of humanitarian demining and enhancing human security, and to the fact that ITF comes from Slovenia, an EU member state with highlighted and active humanitarian activity.
The criteria for obtaining the MSSA status are: the organisation needs to be capable of operatively conducting its obligations with the EU; actively engaged in humanitarian activities; financially stable; committed to humanitarian principles of the EU such as humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
The European Commission is offering humanitarian assistance in the name of the European Union across the globe. Since 1992, its programs were implemented in over 110 countries. The annual budged of the EU dedicated to humanitarian aid is approximately 1 billion euro, which yearly helps around 120 million people outside of the EU boarders.
The European Commission is active in major crisis zones around the world, including Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and Ukraine. In most of these areas, landmines and explosive remnants of war present a big challenge, and this is where ITF can contribute to the implementation of projects in the name of the EU. While doing so ITF plans to pay special attention to the most vulnerable groups, such as women and children.
After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, the EU decided that the received financial resources would be given to help children, who are victims of conflicts. Since then, the EU strengthened its financial mechanisms, and ITF plans to further add to the general strengthening of EU operations in the field of mine action and victim assistance.