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ASEAN and the IFRC partner to strengthen community resilience in Southeast Asia

25/05/2022 | Press release

Jakarta, 25 May 2022 -The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have committed to promoting and developing their engagement in disaster management with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ASEAN and the IFRC on the Strengthening of Community Resilience in Southeast Asia. The MOU outlines the scope and areas of cooperation between the IFRC and ASEAN to strengthen community resilience at regional, national, and local levels in the ASEAN region, including in areas such as disaster management, disaster risk reduction, disaster law, health in emergencies, disaster relief and emergency response, gender, youth, and climate change. This agreement also marks a significant milestone in ASEAN’s longstanding cooperation with the IFRC which has supported the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) in the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) and its work programmes. The MOU was signed by the ASEAN Secretary-General H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi and the IFRC Secretary General, Mr. Jagan Chapagain, at the sidelines of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) in Bali, Indonesia, in the presence of the representatives of the ACDM and the representatives of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. At the Signing Ceremony, the two leaders expressed appreciation over the progress of cooperation between ASEAN and the IFRC. Recognizing ASEAN and IFRC’s mutually beneficial roles in strengthening climate adaptation and disaster resilience in vulnerable communities in Southeast Asia, both ASEAN and the IFRC look forward to the implementation of the MOU through collaborative projects in the AADMER Work Programme 2021-2025. In his remarks, Dato Lim emphasized that “in the face of increasing frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters due to climate change, in one of the world’s most disaster-prone regions, coupled with an increasingly complex humanitarian landscape, we must build strategic partnerships to enhance our resilience as one ASEAN community.” In Mr. Chapagain’s speech reiterated that “through this partnership our common goal is to put communities in Southeast Asia at the centre by building individual and community capacities that help reduce humanitarian needs and avert loss and damage caused by the climate crisis." ASEAN countries are located in one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world, ranging from earthquakes, floods, landslides and typhoons. The wide geographic stretch of incidences and increasing frequency and intensity of disasters due to climate change require ASEAN to enhance the region’s readiness and emergency response capacity. -- For more information, please email [email protected]

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25/05/2022
ASEAN and the IFRC partner to strengthen community resilience in Southeast Asia
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ASEAN and the IFRC partner to strengthen community resilience in Southeast Asia
25/05/2022
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IFRC report: Goals for poverty reduction, decent work and closing inequality gap, stalled by COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean

20/05/2022 | Press release

Panama City, May 20, 2022 - The devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have stalled some of the key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is unlikely that the region will end poverty, ensure gender equality, promote decent and equitable work, and reduce inequality within and between countries by the target date of 2030. This is one of the main findings of "Readjusting the path towards equity," a recent study by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The report confirms that COVID-19 increased unemployment, reduced the income of the poorest families, forced more than one million children to leave school, reduced labour protection and worsened inequality and gender violence. Head of IFRC's Disaster, Climate and Crisis unit in the Americas, Roger Alonso, said: "This study helps us understand the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable people’s income, access to food and well-being. The findings underline the fact that a full social and economic recovery will take years. To avoid irreversible levels of vulnerability, it is crucial to implement an inclusive and fair recovery, which also anticipates the effects of the current food and fuel price increases resulting from the conflict in Ukraine." According to the report, the loss of income of the poorest populations increased food insecurity resulting in 60 million people suffering from hunger in the first year of the pandemic. That same year, 23 million women were pushed into poverty and since then, cases of domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking have increased. In addition, 10% of jobs in the region were lost during the pandemic, and 30% of these have not yet been recovered. Meanwhile, 51% of the migrant population surveyed by IFRC said they lost their jobs and 53% of those who kept them, saw their income reduced or were not paid. This IFRC analysis is based on literature review, interviews with experts and representatives of international organizations, as well as 1,825 surveys conducted in Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Venezuela. Co-author of the report and IFRC Livelihoods Recovery Officer in the Americas, Daniela Funez, said: ''Listening to the communities we serve is a priority for the Red Cross network. That's what allows us to know their needs in depth and, in this case, the data they provided us confirms the projections made by international agencies about the effects of COVID-19 on the SDGs'." To address the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic, the IFRC suggests prioritizing attention to the most vulnerable groups, incorporating a gender approach in humanitarian action and contributing to reducing the effects of climate change. It also calls for increased investment in vaccination, protection and livelihood protection, a key issue to close the 60% funding gap needed to continue responding to the medium and long-term effects of COVID-19. For more information: In Bogota:David Quijano +57 310 5592559,[email protected] In Panama:Susana Arroyo Barrantes,[email protected]

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20/05/2022
IFRC report: Goals for poverty reduction, decent work and closing inequality gap, stalled by COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean
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IFRC report: Goals for poverty reduction, decent work and closing inequality gap, stalled by COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean
20/05/2022
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Official Statement of the IFRC to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction 2022

20/05/2022 | Article

I am honoured to submit this Official Statement on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The GP2022 theme, “From Risk to Resilience: Towards Sustainable Development for All in a COVID-19 Transformed World” could not be more relevant to us as we face growing needs and an uncertain future. COVID-19 has already taken more than 6.2 million lives and has increased vulnerabilities worldwide, particularly among women, children, elders, and persons with disabilities. At the same time, more people are under threat from the climate crisis, conflict, disaster, and disease. The humanitarian needs of 2022 will be, at least, double what they were in 2019. Today we are at a critical juncture. Not only must we recover fully from this pandemic, but we must also review our readiness and change our modus operandi to proactively deal with future risks. We must move from responding to crises, to building individual and community capacities to anticipate, prepare for, reduce the impact, cope with and recover from crises. This must be done without compromising their long-term prospects, in other words, strengthening their resilience to future risks. To achieve this, IFRC calls for collective action in the following areas: First, we must inspire community action that revolutionises positive change. Communities have agency, self-reliance and their own hopes and plans for the future. Our efforts will only benefit them if we centre their priorities, experiences and expertise, and support their actions. We have to support communities to come together to tackle the challenges that they are currently facing, and prepare for those that lie ahead. Funding and partnerships need to support individuals and communities to understand their risks, take action to address them, and participate in official decision-making processes. Local actors such as National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are critical to informing and channeling investments to the right places, to those most in need, where scarce resources can have the greatest impact. They need to be in the driver’s seat of change, and this includes women and youth. Second, trust the science. We must listen to the science and use it to plan for and protect against future risks. Extreme climate and weather events are becoming more frequent and more intense, affecting new places with many hazards striking at the same time. We can’t use what happened in the past to predict the future. We have to trust and act upon the science. This must be our standard way of working. Anticipatory action that puts communities at the centre must be the new normal if we want to reduce humanitarian needs, avert loss and damage caused by climate change. Third, leverage the power of partnerships. We can only become more resilient if we collaborate together but this means working more broadly than the humanitarian, development and climate sectors. We must also look to the private and public sectors, local governments, grassroots communities and further – we are trying to overcome the same challenges but with different means. How can the private sector engage in ways that drive social impact? How can governments lead change with enabling frameworks? How do humanitarian agencies embrace agility in their business models? Together with our partners, we have taken various initiatives, including the Anticipatory Action Task Force, Forecast-based Action by the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF), the Anticipation Hub, the Country Support Platform of the Global Taskforce for Cholera Control, and the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP), which we call on our partners to join. Fourth, we must change the way we do business. People-centred partnerships towards achieving the SDGs will require new approaches to programming and donor funding. These must allow the private sector to meaningfully engage and demonstrate the value of structures that can be more sustainable, replicable, and scalable to address growing humanitarian and development needs. Developing countries will need more than USD 2.5 trillion a year to fill the SDG financing gap, but there is only some USD 150 billion of total overseas development assistance available. However, private capital sources alone amount to more than USD 200 trillion. We need to consider smart financing that helps donated resources reach further, by creating multiplier opportunities. At all times, communities must be at the heart of decisions made in investment and programming for inclusive disaster risk reduction, epidemic and pandemic preparedness, and climate change adaptation. The communities most vulnerable to disasters, as well as fragile and conflict affected settings and those displaced or at risk of displacement, must be prioritized. Governments can assist by ensuring that national disaster and climate laws, policies, financial instruments, and plans all include a focus on reducing risks for the most vulnerable people. In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, IFRC and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have made good use of the preparedness capacity built over the years. From the outset, we have met the growing health needs and demands of vulnerable communities, building on local solutions and leveraging National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ role as independent auxiliaries to their governments in the humanitarian arena. In the past two years, the IFRC network supported nearly 1.2 billion people through our COVID-19 programmes. This support has included risk communication, community engagement activities for health and hygiene promotion, water and sanitation, and food and cash assistance. And beyond our emergency response, our National Societies reached 139 million people through pandemic-proof disaster risk reduction programming, using the IFRC’s guide for “Climate-smart disaster risk management programming during the COVID-19 pandemic”. Rest assured we will continue our efforts to create a culture of prevention and resilience by mobilizing our global network of 192 National Societies, 160,000 local branches and 14.9 million community-based volunteers. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Indonesian Government and the Indonesian Red Cross for their great efforts to protect people and their livelihoods from disasters and crises. Thank you, and I wish you a successful Global Platform.

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20/05/2022
Official Statement of the IFRC to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction 2022
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Official Statement of the IFRC to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction 2022
20/05/2022
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IFRC president: Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives

16/05/2022 | Press release

New York / Geneva, 16 May 2022 – President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Francesco Rocca calls on states to step up to their responsibility to save lives, no matter where people are from, ahead of the first review of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM). Mr Rocca says: “When I was in Marrakech for the adoption of the GCM I made a statement that the world’s approach to migration is painfully broken – but that the GCM can fix it. As we begin the first review of the progress made since then, I am sad to say that this has not been the case so far. Not enough changes to policies and practices to ensure safe and dignified migration have taken place, and many more lives have been lost due to that failure to act.” On the world’s deadliest sea migration route, the central Mediterranean, the number of deaths has in fact increased since the GCM was signed. The Ocean Viking ship, operated by SOS Mediterranée with IFRC providing humanitarian services on board, saves people in distress on this route. “We need to carry out this work as state-coordinated search and rescue is absent in the area,” says Mr Rocca. “Our teams have already saved 1,260 people in the nine months we’ve been operating.” The Ocean Viking is one of the 330 Humanitarian Service Points (HSPs) in 45 countries that supports the ambitions of the GCM, providing assistance and protection to people on the move irrespective of status and without fear of reprisal. The Romanian Red Cross implements HSPs in Bucharest to support people fleeing Ukraine, providing information, food, water, hygiene items and financial assistance, while the Hungarian Red Cross has been operating a HSP at the Keleti railway station 24/7 to welcome people arriving from Ukraine by train with information, food, hygiene items and baby care products. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colombian Red Cross Society has implemented HSPs at the border with Venezuela, offering essential services like healthcare, while Libyan Red Crescent volunteers have provided support to migrants and displaced people, operating HSPs that provided access to information, food, and other necessities, as well as restoring family links services. At the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), the IFRC is calling for individual and collective efforts on search and rescue; ensuring access to essential services for migrants regardless of status; scaling up support to people affected of climate related displacement; and the inclusion of migrants in all aspects of society and decision making. “The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis has shown what is possible when humanity and dignity comes first, when there is global solidarity and the will to assist and protect the most vulnerable,” says Mr Rocca. “This must be extended to everyone in need, wherever they come from. Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives.” Listen to the recording of Francesco Rocca's press briefing at the UN in New York. To schedule an interview or for further information: In New York: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367, [email protected] In Geneva: Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, [email protected]

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16/05/2022
IFRC president: Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives
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IFRC president: Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives
16/05/2022
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Red Cross extends support to families separated by violence and conflict

13/05/2022 | Press release

Budapest/Geneva, 13 May 2022 – Ahead of the International Day of Families on 15 May, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is expanding its family reunification services with a new initiative. The Reunification Pathways for Integration (REPAIR) project is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), and enables safe and legal family reunification in the EU by assisting beneficiaries of international protection and their family members before, during and after arrival. The three-year project is led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in partnership with the Austrian, British, French and Slovenian Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). National Red Cross Societies in these four countries are scaling up their support by offering a range of services including counselling, visa application support, socio-cultural orientation sessions, psychosocial support and language classes. They also provide integration support to help family members reconnect after a long period of separation. Building on the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement's longstanding work with migrants and refugees, the project aims to improve and expand the current service provision through the development of new tools and approaches, also to be shared with key stakeholders. Activities in the programme will contribute to the improvement of the Family Reunification journey for affected communities and a strengthened network of agencies in Europe and beyond. IFRC Europe Regional Director, Birgitte Ebbesen, said the right to family life must be respected, regardless of where people come from: “Whether from Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan or Somalia, people who flee violence and persecution often become separated from their family members, which can have devastating consequences on their wellbeing. Without their loved ones, they are not able to resume normal lives. Family reunification is essential to realizing the right to family life in Europe and key for long-term integration in receiving communities.” The project is built on Restoring Family Links (RFL), a key mandate of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to deliver activities that aim to prevent separation and disappearance, look for missing persons, restore and maintain contact between family members, and clarify the fate of persons reported missing. Family reunification is one of the safe and legal routes to protection to Europe, yet families face many challenges due to the complex legal framework and practical obstacles. Bringing together beneficiaries of international protection and their relatives often turns into a lengthy and unsafe process. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is calling for a more holistic, protection-oriented approach that is safe, inclusive and provides the necessary support to families at every step of the way. Preparing local authorities and host communities for the arrivals should also be an integral part of the action. “A fair and swift family reunification process ensures dignity and helps prevent desperate families from taking dangerous journeys to join their loved ones, often resulting in tragic deaths and people going missing en route. We are not just helping people, we are saving lives,” Ms. Ebbesen added. For more information, please contact: In Budapest: Nora Peter, +36 70 265 4020, [email protected]

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13/05/2022
Red Cross extends support to families separated by violence and conflict
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Red Cross extends support to families separated by violence and conflict
13/05/2022
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