YOUR TURN TO ASK: Karel De Gucht, EU humanitarian aid chief

October 13, 2009

** This post is from Alertnet, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s globalĀ  humanitarian news Web site.**

Earthquakes, floods, the global recession and recurrent famines have been keeping aid professionals across the world as busy as ever. Such crises hit poor countries the hardest, focusing increasing attention on preventing and preparing for disasters rather than dealing with their devastating aftermath.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is one of the biggest sources of humanitarian and development aid in the world. For emergency response to recent earthquakes in Indonesia, it has provided $4.4 million – more than any other donor so far.

To help the Philippines currently recovering from two typhoons, the European Union and some member-states have contributed a total of $5.6 million – again, more than sent or promised by any other foreign donor.

How to help the developing world, not just when they are disasters, will be at the core of debates among heads of states, top European Union officials, Nobel Prize winners and other experts at an international conference in Stockholm between Oct. 22 and Oct. 24, called European Development Days.

Ahead of the conference, European Union Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Karel De Gucht will take questions from readers on this year’s topics for discussion: the impact of the economic crisis on developing countries, climate change and the link between democracy and development.

You can participate by using the comments section below or by using the #askEUaid tag on Twitter. Please post your questions by Thursday, Oct. 15.

We will get as many of your questions to De Gucht as possible and will publish his replies by the end of the week, so keep checking back!

New to Twitter? If you aren’t using Twitter already but want to post a question or see what other people are asking De Gucht through Twitter, just get yourself a Twitter account, search for the #askEUaid tag and view all questions. You can post a 140-character question yourself, making sure you use the #askEUaid tag somewhere in your post so it sits with all the other posts from people across the Twittersphere.


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Karel De Gucht

The world is quickly coming to grips with the concept of climate change.

It is expected that soon, climate change will cause the prices of food and water to increase to prohibitive levels.

We can also expect that for the next 50 years, this worsening problem will not change. Because even if we manage to reduce global emissions, this will not reverse climate change but only reduce the speed of further climate change.

My question is this:

“If future food prices begin to heavily impact developed nations who rely on imported food, do you expect that these developed nations will begin to cut international aid in order to feed their own populations?”


Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Dear Mr. De Gucht,

I understand the EC is a large donar for many developing countries. So, here are my questions.

1. How will the EC evaluate the success or failure of a mission? For example, how will you know that the money spent on typhoon victims has been spent appropriately?
2. How does the EC make sure that the money does not remain with an undemocratic leader or corrupt government but will be sent on the planned cause?
3. What do you personally think about the following issue:
– Many African countries have committed themselves at an international level to combat the traditional practice of FGM (female genital mutilation). However, at the national/ local level many governments do not actually prosecute the excercisers or parents who will send the girls to be “circumcised”.-

Thank you very much!

Posted by Inga Burgmann | Report as abusive

Dear Mr De Gucht,

Majority of the aid sent to Afghanistan is either went to the pockets of corrupt warlords or into the pockets of foreign contractors.

What are you doing to change this and for the air to reach needy civilians?

Posted by Siddiq | Report as abusive