The IFRC and Iranian Red Crescent Society signs agreement to build resilience and reduce disaster risks in vulnerable cities around the world

Published: 5 February 2013

Geneva, 4 February 2013 – Amid increasing concerns over the expanding number of urban dwellers in low- and middle-income countries and the levels of risk they are exposed to, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iranian Red Crescent Society. The primary objective of the agreement is to reinforce the Red Cross Red Crescent’s cooperation and commitment to build resilience and reduce disaster risks in vulnerable cities across the globe.

Mr Bekele Geleta, Secretary General of IFRC says that the partnership will pave the way for the Red Cross Red Crescent to provide improved services for those most vulnerable to urban risks.

More than half of today’s world population live in cities. By the middle of this century 80 per cent of the world’s population will call a city their home.

“Cities present not only great opportunities for economic growth and social development, but also enormous risk, particularly for the most vulnerable, including the poor, disabled, elderly, minorities, children and women”, says Mr Geleta.

“The challenge we face is developing resilient cities - a city that is able to bounce back from disasters with as little trauma as possible, returning its populations to normalcy, making them stronger and more resilient to future shocks. This agreement, signed today, will help us move in that direction.”

The Iranian Red Crescent is contributing 1.2 million Swiss francs toward this effort.

Dr Abolhasan Faghih, President of the society says, “This is an opportunity for the Iranian Red Crescent and the IFRC to further complement one another and leverage on our vast network of Red Cross Red Crescent members to develop long-term solutions in addressing urban vulnerabilities.”

The Iranian Red Crescent emphasized its commitment to provide any possible assistance to vulnerable people around the world in close cooperation with the IFRC.

“Together, we can work to better identify, prepare, appraise, and implement urban disaster risk reduction programmes, and then evaluate the success of these programmes. The result will be improved services for those who need it the most.”

Formed in 1923, the Red Crescent in Iran aims to alleviate human suffering, promote respect for human dignity, friendship, mutual understanding and sustainable peace among nations, as well as protect people’s life and health without discrimination.