IFRC inaugurates the Asia Pacific Reference Centre on Disaster Risk Reduction and Community Resilience

Published: 3 October 2016 12:43 CET

By Ika Koeck, IFRC

On 22 September, the Korean Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), inaugurated the IFRC’s first reference centre in Asia Pacific.

Hosted by the Korean Red Cross, the Asia Pacific Reference Centre on Disaster Risk Reduction and Community Resilience is housed in the State University of New York (SUNY) in Korea. One of the centre’s main purposes is to serve as leading centre of knowledge and expertise on disaster risk reduction and community resilience. The centre will support Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies within the region in strengthening and developing their disaster management capacities.

The official opening ceremony took place in Incheon, South Korea, during the 3rd Asia Pacific National Societies Disaster Management Conference, which saw the attendance of nearly 100 disaster management specialists from over 30 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies from the Asia Pacific region. The event was attended by Ms. Sungjoo Kim, President of the Korean Red Cross; Mr. Martin Faller, Deputy Regional Director of the IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office; and Ms. Pascale Meige, Director of the IFRC Disaster and Crisis Prevention, Response and Recovery department.

The reference centre will play a major role in improving Red Cross disaster risk reduction policies and tools through advanced training, research and development and knowledge exchange. National Society staff members and volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in programmes with different disaster education institutions, academies and experts to increase their skills in specific technical areas.

“Asia Pacific is the most disaster prone region in the world. This has meant that our disaster risk reduction activities have been increasing each year. The reference centre will serve as a valuable resource; bringing innovation, creativity and new thinking to how we can make communities more resilient,” said Xavier Castellanos, Director of the IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office.

“The Korean Red Cross’ initiative in helping us establish and host this centre is a reflection of their commitment to enhancing disaster risk reduction efforts in Korea and abroad. We look forward to working closely with them to ensure that we optimize the use of this centre in the region”.

As the first of its kind in the region, the centre will work based on three key approaches – optimizing, managing and sharing resources; conducting and promoting knowledge on issues pertaining to community resilience and humanitarian actions; and creating networks and partnerships amongst Asia Pacific National Societies and other partners to better promote and implement resilience policies and strategies.

The Red Cross is also working closely with SUNY Korea to develop a Master’s Degree Programme covering Digital Networks and Disaster Risk Reduction

For more information on the reference centre, view the video below: