Taking the humanitarian mission to the World Economic Forum

Published: 22 January 2013 19:33 CET
Picture: World Economic Forum
Picture: World Economic Forum

Each year, leaders from government, business, civil society and the arts gather in Davos, Switzerland to discuss the issues currently dominating the news agenda, including the violence in Syria and its potential impact on the region, and the crisis of youth unemployment. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will be represented at the Forum by Secretary General Bekele Geleta and Joelle Tanguy, Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Values and Diplomacy, who will be participating in discussions on the Millennium Development Goals, the response to the economic crisis, the global health landscape and the promotion of community resilience.

This is one of the best opportunities to assess and contribute to the global changes that may have an impact on the organization’s humanitarian concerns, and to strengthen relationships with partners in both the corporate and development worlds. Also present will be representatives from the Global Fund, Coca Cola, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ms Tanguy said there were important links to be forged and nurtured at the event. “The Red Cross Red Crescent sets out to ‘save lives and change minds’. Promoting social inclusion and a culture of non-violence and peace is why we do the pilgrimage to the quaint Alpine mountain resort, hoping to win over new and influential humanitarian advocates,” she said.

Mr Geleta will lead a session on designing resilient cities. 80 per cent of the world’s population now living in cities – and almost 4 billion of those are under 30 – so it is vital that our urban spaces are able to adapt to these changes and also able to withstand the shocks and new vulnerabilities that are likely to arise if and when disaster occurs.
Resilience is literally defined as the property of being able to bounce back after a period of disequilibrum; in terms of cities, this means not just designing architecture and infrastructure to withstand disaster, but also enabling individuals and communities to evolve in response to changing circumstances. And the Movement has a role to play at all levels of society in developing resilient urban environments. At the level of government there will be opportunities to stress the importance of laws that integrate disaster risk reduction; while in communities, volunteers are both advocates for preparedness and emergency responders, but they also try to understand their own impact on the environment through programmes such as Youth as Agents of Behavioural Change.

On Wednesday, Facebook Live will interview Mr. Geleta. This year's theme will be 'connectivity' and will feature conversations around how social technologies can have an impact on everything from business strategy and political campaigns, to how humanitarian organizations further their mission. Tune in Wednesday at 12:00 CET to the LiveStream interview (also embedded below). Throughout the forum, IFRC leaders will be using Twitter to share their thoughts. Please follow @bekelegeleta and @joelletanguy to find out more.

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 189 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright