IFRC calls on governments and international organizations to take concrete actions on commitments made to reduce disaster risks in Small Island Developing States

Published: 31 August 2014

1 September 2014 – Apia, Samoa / Geneva. As the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States begins in the Samoan capital this week, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) will be urging governments and the international community to take concrete steps in addressing disaster risk reduction and climate change within the global agenda on sustainable development.

The SIDS conference takes place every ten years. Over 3,000 delegates from the three SIDS regions - the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the African, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS) will come together with representatives from Governments, the UN, the IFRC and other development and civil society actors; to discuss emerging challenges facing these countries and the opportunities that exist to tackle them.

Mr Tadateru Konoe, President of the IFRC, will lead a high-level delegation including Secretary Generals and senior members of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies representing all SIDS regions.  The conference provides the opportunity for the IFRC delegation to share its experience and knowledge relating to the specific vulnerabilities facing communities in SIDS.

 ‘Every day Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are working with many communities who face growing risks from natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. More intense storms, shrinking water resources and threats to food security are very real threats. Collectively, we must be resourceful and forge partnerships that genuinely build community resilience and contribute to sustainable development”, says Mr Konoe.

At the SIDS conference, the IFRC will be convening a side event entitled “Local rules, global aid: legal preparedness for disasters,” which will be supporting a call to action for governments to strengthen their national policy, and legal frameworks for disaster response.

“Without adequate laws, disasters will continue to claim more lives,” explains President Konoe.        “We also want to see a real commitment to integrate disaster risk reduction into national development plans and more investment being made in developing the capacity and resilience of local institutions so that they can bring lasting development benefits to local communities.”

Red Cross representatives will also be fielding panellists and speakers at other key side events where a range of critical issues will be addressed. Amongst these will be a side event discussing  the fifth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the implications of climate change for SIDS; another event will focus on strategies to address climate change and population displacement. The Red Cross will also partner in an event organized by Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation, where a pilot study will be presented on how climate information is being made more accessible, relevant and user friendly for end-users such as fishers and farmers.  

For further information contact:

In Apia: 

Patrick Fuller, IFRC communications manager for Asia Pacific.

Tel: +685 7296604  Email: patrick.fuller@ifrc.org

In Geneva:

Benoit Carpentier, IFRC public communication team leader, Geneva

Mobile: +41 79 213 24 13   Email: benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org