European Union Establishes First Overseas Aid Stockpile in Panama

During a trip to Panama, European Union Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič announced that the EU will establish its first-ever regional humanitarian stockpile in Panama City, citing Panama’s strengths as a logistical and economic hub in the region. The EU-funded hub, part of the European Humanitarian Response Capacity Initiative, will be used to pre-position equipment like shelter items, first aid kits, food, and sanitation products so they can be quickly distributed when crises occur. 

Lenarčič emphasized the need for international support as Latin America contends with compounding crises: “Today, I am in Panama, albeit with a regional outlook, to express the EU’s continued support to often forgotten and underfunded crises, set to aggravate even further with global impacts of the war in Ukraine.” He added that Panama was chosen as the home for this hub as “a strategic point to efficiently deploy aid where it is most needed”.  

The EU is far from the first entity to recognize Panama’s logistical potential. Panama continues to operate its own Humanitarian Hub, utilizing the Panama Canal and other well-connected logistical infrastructure to distribute sorely needed resources to regions and countries impacted by natural disasters. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, Panama coordinated the distribution of over 872 tons of essential aid across the region. 

In addition to launching the EU’s regional stockpile, Lenarčič announced €153 million in humanitarian aid from the EU for the Latin America region for 2022 and met with representatives from the Panamanian government, UN agencies, and humanitarian organizations. He also visited a reception center for migrants in Panama’s Darien region, where Panama is on the front lines of a humanitarian crisis. As up to 2,400 migrants per day cross into Panama through the dangerous Darien jungle, international help is desperately needed to provide them with the humanitarian care they need and deserve.  

As global conflict and climate change promise continued challenges in the region, Panama is proud to be a part of the solution, providing humanitarian care to those who most urgently need it. Panama looks forward to collaborating with regional and international partners, including the European Union, to build a more prosperous future for Latin America.