European Commission – Press release
Brussels, 8 September 2016
The largest EU humanitarian aid programme will be rolled out by the World Food programme in partnership with the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, the Turkish Red Crescent and the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy to address the everyday needs of refugees
The European Union has signed its largest ever humanitarian programme using direct cash-transfers to cover the everyday needs of the most vulnerable refugee families in Turkey. The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), financed with €348 million by the EU and its Member States under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, is the first social assistance scheme of its kind, marrying international humanitarian know-how and government services to reach out to one million refugees across Turkey. Through it, the European Commission continues to respect its commitments under the EU-Turkey Statement.
"In line with the EU and its Members States’ strong commitment to support vulnerable refugees in Turkey, the unprecedented scale of the ESSN will make a significant difference in the lives of men, women and children who have had to flee conflict and violence. Together with the World Food Programme and our Turkish partners we have developed an innovative system that can deliver what people need, where it is needed most, and in the most effective way possible. Through the ESSN, our contribution will be more effectively directed to vulnerable refugees. This is a game changer in the delivery of international humanitarian aid. I would like to take this opportunity to commend Turkey on its unparalleled generosity in supporting refugees in the country” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management ChristosStylianides.
“The Turkish Red Crescent is proud to partner with the European Union, the World Food Programme and the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy in this innovative initiative, this unique programme aims to preserve the dignity of vulnerable refugees and empower them financially to the level that can allow them to send their kids to schools and buy the essentials they need to sustain their families.” said Turkish Red Crescent President Dr. Kerem Kinik."
As of October 2016, monthly cash-transfers to electronic cards will be given to refugees in need across Turkey. The cash card is an efficient way to support families to purchase what they most need, providing them the dignity of choice. Refugees will be enabled to feed and house their families and to send their children to school. As the money will be spent in local markets, the new system will also boost the local economy.
The much needed humanitarian aid will reach one million refugees countrywide by the first quarter of 2017.
The programme, developed and implemented in close partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent, will build upon existing voucher schemes and the expertise of the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy under the coordination of the Turkish National Disaster Management Authority (AFAD). Turkey’s Integrated Social Assistance Information System (ISAIS) will serve to integrate the ESSN with government systems. The ESSN has been designed to uphold the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence while being anchored on sustainable government systems with country-wide reach.
Turkey is currently host to over 3 million refugees. More than ninety percent of them are living outside refugee camps.
The ESSN is part of the €3 billion made available by the EU and its Member States under the “Facility for Refugees in Turkey” in 2016-2017 to provide assistance to refugees and host communities in Turkey. It is designed to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
The contract with WFP comes on top of €164 million already contracted for humanitarian aid and increases the total amount contracted for humanitarian and non-humanitarian actions under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey to €652 million. Out of this, €181 million has been disbursed to date.
For more information:
FACTSHEET: Questions and answers: Support for refugees in Turkey through the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN)
FACTSHEET: The Facility for Refugees in Turkey
FACTCHEET: EU humanitarian aid to Turkey
Website: The Facility for Refugees in Turkey
Overview of projects funded by the Facility for Refugees in Turkey
General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email