Resilience for Real: Global gathering to explore “new approach” to responding to humanitarian need

Published: 30 October 2015

Oslo, 30 October 2015 - More than 300 participants from the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the UN, European Union, NGOs, universities, research institutions and the private sector are meeting today in Oslo to discuss the need for a shift in humanitarian action towards the proactive tackling of risks rather than just reactively responding to crises.

The Resilience for Real conference in Oslo, hosted by the Norwegian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, will focus on how to move the concept of resilience from “buzzword” to reality.

Elhadj As Sy, the Secretary General of the IFRC said: “For the IFRC and its 189 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, resilience captures the totality of all that we are trying to achieve. Every engagement, before, during or after a crisis or shock, across all programme areas, must be delivered with a view towards supporting communities to become stronger and more resilient.”

“This means that we need to place much more emphasis on reducing risk and vulnerability, rather than waiting for those risks to become crises,” Mr Sy said.

Evidence shows that investing in resilience, including disaster preparedness, not only save lives, but also saves money when compared to the costs incurred by expensive emergency response operations.

“A shift is needed towards a focus on real outcomes and impacts at a local level, where resilience building involves sustained engagement that is participatory, inclusive and above all – accountable to the people who are at risk,” said Sven Mollekleiv, President of the Norwegian Red Cross.

Mr Mollekleiv emphasized that reducing risks and vulnerabilities must be a process that is owned, led and carried out by people themselves to bring about lasting change in their communities.

“This calls for equitable and broad partnerships with local actors including us, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as we are in a unique position to act because of our status as auxiliary to government.

With the aim of bringing these partnerships to scale, the IFRC will soon launch the ‘One Billion Coalition for Resilience’. The goal of the coalition is to rally communities and partners to engage at least one billion people by 2025 to reduce the risks that they face. The Norwegian Red Cross is also part of this global initiative.

“Our volunteers are part of, and present in the communities they work in. They understand local realities and are well placed to find appropriate and sustainable solutions for increasing community resilience,” Mr Mollekleiv explained.

The Norwegian Red Cross helps strengthen the resilience of migrants in the country through networking activities in local communities, connecting migrants with the local population. Mutual understanding between the migrants and their new neighbours is a key element in building local resilience.

This meeting comes at an opportune time. According to the UN, humanitarian needs today far exceed the resources that are available. It also comes in the lead up next year’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul where the future of humanitarian action will be discussed, and on the heels of the international community’s adoption of the 2030 development agenda.

The Resilience for Real Conference coincides with the Norwegian Red Cross’ 150th anniversary. For more on the work of the Red Cross in Norway, visit:

For more information, or to set up interviews, please contact:

In Oslo:

Arild Blomkvist, Norwegian Red Cross, communications, Mobile: +47 48 17 78 12


In Geneva:

Benoit Carpentier, IFRC team leader, public communications, Mobile: +41 79 2132413 +4179213241 Email:

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