The Red Cross Red Crescent has signed a landmark agreement with the Republic of Korea government, to explore new areas of cooperation in such areas as disaster management, health and food security.
Several countries have been singled out for piloting new development projects, working to help the most vulnerable communities, including disaster risk reduction in Vietnam and Bangladesh, with planned Korean-government funded programmes worth a total of nearly 2 million Swiss Francs (1.66 million EUR or 2.1 million USD) . In both countries the Republic of Korea National Red Cross has already supported projects across a number of areas such as social inclusion (supporting immigrants from Vietnam to the Republic of Korea), livelihoods (supporting low-income victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam) and disaster preparedness (supporting disaster management infrastructure in Bangladesh).
Bekele Geleta, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), who signed the memorandum of understanding with the Republic of Korea National Red Cross and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, said the country had transformed itself from post-Korean War desolation, needing help from around the world, to a key humanitarian actor.
“The Republic of Korea National Red Cross received aid from such countries as Haiti and Ethiopia after the Korean War, to help rebuild a shattered nation,” said Bekele Geleta. “It is especially significant that the National Society and the Government are now partners with us in extending humanitarian support to other nations around the world.”
The Republic of Korea National Red Cross's international assistance began in the 1990s, with support for several developing countries. With the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, and the food crisis in the Horn of Africa last year, the scope of its international assistance expanded, with emergency relief remaining at the centre, but also an increasing focus on development programming.
“I believe the host National Society’s capacity building in development is as important as it is in disaster management,” said Yu Jung Keun, president of the Republic of Korea National Red Cross. “The organization, aware of this importance, has been actively supporting sister National Societies in need for over 18 years. I’m happy that our government, in recognition of the same importance, is taking an official first step to participate in the Movement’s work for development. I believe an alliance such as our example can play a pivotal role in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.”
The Republic of Korea’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) has been growing dramatically in recent years. Last year The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development reported that the country’s ODA had gone up by more than 25 per cent in 2010, ranking second among 23 countries in ODA growth.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 mil¬lion people each year through its 186 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
For more information, or to set up interviews, please contact:
In Republic of Korea: Heyjoon Chun, International Relations Officer, Korean Red Cross Mobile: +82 10 9183 5256 email@example.com
In Republic of Korea/China: Francis Markus, IFRC East Asia Regional Communications Delegate; Mobile +86 139 100 96892 firstname.lastname@example.org