The 5TH Conference of Middle East and North Africa Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies opens in Marrakech, Morocco on 15 May, under the theme “Future humanitarian challenges”. The three-day meeting will bring together some 150 participants, including representatives of the 18 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the region, a dozen other National Societies, the International Federation Secretariat, the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations agencies and other humanitarian organizations, as well as private sector partners.
The conference agenda recognizes the necessity for strengthened regional coordination and discussions will take place around three main sub-themes: disaster management, volunteers and community health. Several working groups will also address issues such as partnerships, HIV/AIDS, volunteers, blood programmes and the auxiliary role of National Societies.
“World events, and more concretely, regional events are pushing us to reinforce, through our voluntary action, our commitment to assist the most vulnerable. Events are also pushing us to contribute to the consolidation of peaceful co-existence, which offers potential prosperity to all,” said Federation President Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro.
The Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region is prone to earthquakes, floods, drought and other disasters, and has had to face the consequences of drawn-out conflict. Participants at the conference will debate various concerns, including the fact that disaster management is essential, to give communities the tools to face crises better and to reduce, as much as possible, the impact of disasters on populations. In addition, more than three quarters of volunteers in the region are young, and measures to ensure better recruitment, motivation, training and protection in their work must be developed. Finally, health is a fundamental human right and improved community-based health services must be developed in parallel with the fight against illiteracy.
The meeting is hosted by the Moroccan Red Crescent, who for nearly fifty years has been active in many fields, including social welfare, first aid, disaster management, community-based primary health care and HIV/AIDS prevention.
On 18 May, the conference will end with the Marrakech Plan of Action which will outline a regional strategy for the future.
For further information on the conference, please read the newspaper of the fifth MENA conference.
You can also read the newspaper in Arabic.