Engaging with the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU

January 2023 marked the beginning of the last Presidency of the Trio at the Council of the EU, composed by France, the Czech Republic, and Sweden. The three countries have laid out their priorities for humanitarian aid in their joint work programme for COHAFA, the Council’s working group on Humanitarian aid and food aid. Five areas have been given specific interest:

  • Promotion of international humanitarian law (IHL),
  • Gender-based approach,
  • Humanitarian/development/peace nexus,
  • Strengthening the environmental and climate dimension of the humanitarian response,
  • Operationalisation of humanitarian aid.

Sweden will hold the presidency until 30 June 2023 and will be the co-host of the European Humanitarian Forum 2023 together with DG ECHO. The COHAFA discussions will be structured around a specific set of policy and strategic challenges within the following areas:

  1. Expanding the resource base for humanitarian action,
  2. Prioritising life-saving assistance and aligning humanitarian needs with resources,
  3. Unlocking efficiency through multiannual and flexible funding,
  4. Responding to climate-induced humanitarian crises and scaling up anticipatory action,
  5. Reducing humanitarian needs by upholding basic services in politically complex settings.

These priorities are laid out in the Swedish Presidency’s work programme for COHAFA. VOICE has established a strong relationship with the Swedish Presidency to ensure that the humanitarian NGOs’ priorities are put forward at Council level.