Singapore Declaration aims to scale up Red Cross and Red Crescent action in Asia and the Pacific

Published: 23 November 2006

More must be done to strengthen regional alliances and cooperation in Asia and the Pacific if significant steps are to be taken towards protecting and improving the lives of vulnerable people, according to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

At the end of a four-day conference in Singapore on Thursday, the secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Markku Niskala, said that “scaling up our work and strategic partnerships” was necessary to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by disease and disasters.

“Because we’re present at a community level, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is usually the first to respond to any emergency,” said Niskala. “But we also need to find new and better ways of working together, building strong partnerships and mobilizing resources in order to tackle vulnerability, especially in a disaster-prone area like Asia and the Pacific.”

The VIIth Asia and Pacific Regional Conference brought together more than 200 representatives from 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from the region, as well as other areas in the world, to discuss ways of making communities stronger and healthier. It resulted in the Singapore Declaration, which was adopted on 23 November and outlines the Movement’s agenda for the region until 2010.

Ensuring good governance and accountability, boosting volunteer networks and working to make health care accessible to all were just a few of the commitments made at the meeting.

“The future of our great Movement lies in entrusting youth volunteers to contribute to our wide spectrum of services for vulnerable people,” said Winston Choo, the chairman of the Singapore Red Cross Society, which hosted the event. “We also need to expand our fundraising base by better engaging the corporate sector and the general public.”

During the conference, an important agreement was also signed between the International Federation and the Red Cross Society of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is expected to strengthen the International Federation’s support to the DPRK Red Cross in implementing various projects in the country.
The three-year strategy agreement, which was endorsed by a number of National Societies, is also designed to boost the long term capacity of the DPRK Red Cross to respond to disasters and disease.

The International Federation currently assists around 8.7 million people in five provinces in DPRK with basic medicines, water and sanitation and first aid training. Throughout all of Asia and the Pacific, the International Federation has targeted assistance to more than 100 million people over the past six years.