30 country profiles reflecting
the state and diversity of the
humanitarian sector in Europe

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disaster relief, disaster risk reduction, emergency relief
EUR 37 Mio in 2013; 35 Mio in 2014

Scope of involvement


In the field of development cooperation, Luxembourg has always focused on disaster relief in 10 partner countries, most of them located in Western Africa but not specifically so.


Turning point

While the Luxembourg government has had a small humanitarian desk since the mid-90s, a new momentum came about in 2004 with the appointment of a member of the Christian Social Party as the new Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance and with the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union that started on January 1st, 2005. Minister Jean-Louis Schiltz not only pledged to review the efficiency of Luxembourg’s development cooperation in general and to continue efforts to reach the 1.0 percent threshold of the GNI. At the same time he announced his intention to strengthen the humanitarian desk so as to allocate funding where it was most needed. The tsunami that hit South-East Asia in December 2004 can be seen as one the most important natural disasters impacting the humanitarian landscape in Luxembourg, with a long-term impact on humanitarian policies in Luxembourg. Given tha two Luxembourg citizens were among the casualties of the tsunami, it triggered an unprecedented aid response by the Luxembourg public and NGOs, including the vote of an extraordinary budget by Parliament.


Types of stakeholders

NGO in general

There are currently two clusters of humanitarian actors in Luxembourg. First, a group of 5 NGOs that have become the privileged operational humanitarian partners of the Luxembourg government and are therefore entitled to an annual financial contribution. These NGOs are: Caritas Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Red Cross Society, Handicap International Luxembourg, MSF and Care Luxembourg. The Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs holds several strategic meetings per year with these 5 partners. It is to be noted that next to the government’s five strategic partners, there is a number of smaller NGOs (such as SOS Children’s Villages, Friendship International, etc.) that are also building up considerable expertise in the field of humanitarian assistance and that are willing to invest in human resources.

National Red Cross Society

The Luxembourg Red Cross Society was founded in 1914 and it was conferred civil status with the passing of the law of August 16, 1923. It is today well-known to have developed, together with its Benelux partners, considerable knowledge in shelter research and applied know-how in that area on the ground.

Faith-based organisations

Caritas Luxembourg, the largest faith-based NGO, has expertise in a large array of fields, ranging from immediate relief in complex environments to long-term reconstruction and disaster risk reduction (DRR).

Armed Forces

The Army of Luxembourg participates in various international missions, among which one can cite UNPROFOR in Former Yugoslavia, FINUL in Lebanon, KFOR in Kosovo as well as several EUFOR missions. Besides, it has participated in several humanitarian missions as for instance in Sri Lanka following the tsunami of 2004 or in Pakistan following the floods in 2010.

Private Sector

Besides the cluster of the 5 NGOs, the second group of actors is a public-private partnership composed of the Luxembourg government and a number of Luxembourg-based companies with the aim to provide a satellite-based telecommunication platform – called emergency.lu – to the international community, as a free public good.

State humanitarianism

Ministries involved

The ministry in charge is the “Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs”.


Specific focus


2009 marked a turning point with the publication of a first strategy on humanitarian aid. It puts emphasis on three pillars: emergency relief, the transition phase as well as preventive measures or DRR. Using this as a reference, Luxembourg tries to provide funding to underfunded and “forgotten” emergencies, while promoting the concept of resilience both at community level and in the sense of making funding instruments more flexible to allow for long-term impact.


Specific expertise

There are two sectorial specialities Luxembourg government is eager to promote. First, the research on shelter solutions conducted by the Red Cross is aiming at providing appropriate and efficient shelter models adapted to climatic and cultural circumstances. Second, the emergency.lu project is currently providing free telecommunication services to the humanitarian community as well as beneficiaries in several hard-to-reach locations .


Humanitarian Education

Higher education

There is currently no field of study related to humanitarian assistance offered by the University of Luxembourg. While humanitarian workers employed by NGOs and government used to be trained predominantly in-house and in the field until the late 90s, the profiles of these professionals have changed due to the increase of international curricula offered by European universities. Students from Luxembourg either undergo a full-fledged university career in humanitarian studies or complete an additional master diploma at universities abroad.

In-house training

NGOs are the largest provider of in-house and practice-oriented training as well as further education currently in Luxembourg.

Specialised organisations

A more practice-oriented opportunity for post-graduates is provided by two junior programmes offered by the UN and the EU respectively, but funded by the Luxembourg government: the “Junior Professional Officer” (JPO) and “Jeunes Experts” programmes. These programmes help to further train young professionals, give them insights in the system of international organisations and serve as stepping stone for an international career.

Seminar/short courses

NGOs also offer a wide array of courses and seminars throughout the year open to all interested parties.


Moyse, Laurent. Une responsabilité en partage – Trente ans de cooperation luxembourgeoise au déveloopement. Luxembourg, 2013



N/A; replies to the questionnaire provided by the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

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