ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment 2015 - Geneva, 17 - 19 July 2015 - “Contributing to a resilient world through the One Billion Coalition for Resilience”

Publié: 19 juin 2015

ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment 2015 - Geneva, 17 - 19 July 2015

Statement by Walter Cotte, Under Secretary General for Programme Services Division, IFRC


Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) at this Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS) of ECOSOC. The IFRC welcomes this year’s theme -- "the future of humanitarian affairs: towards greater inclusiveness, coordination, interoperability and effectiveness". I consider this theme to be timely, relevant and crucial in the light of the ongoing discussion of the post-2015 global frameworks and in terms of addressing current humanitarian issues and challenges.

As you all know, we live in a world that is increasingly complex, and increasingly vulnerable to risks. Climate change, rapid urbanization, population growth, environmental degradation, rising natural and technological hazards, and protracted crises, are all adding to growing global risk and are hampering sustainable development. Decisions and actions must be taken to reverse or, at least, mitigate this situation.

The developing world is particularly exposed. For the most vulnerable, it only takes a moment for an earthquake or a major flood to dash peoples’  hopes of a better future, but the risk is not limited to developing nations. Massive floods in Central Europe, super tornadoes and droughts in the United States, and the devastation following the 2011 triple disaster in Japan remain vivid in our memories as an urgent call to be mindful of, and prepare for, the unimaginable. It is clear that catastrophe can reach us all and nobody is immune.

There are no easy solutions but it is obvious that without building more resilient communities, the loss of life and property will continue to rise. Over the past 10 years alone, disasters left over 1.2 million people dead, over 2.9 billion people affected and caused more than 1.7 trillion USD of damage and loss. Women, children and people in vulnerable situations were disproportionately affected.

Mr. President,

An effective way of addressing the current and future humanitarian and development issues and challenges is to encourage the stakeholders to take a resilience approach.

Resilient communities are the foundation of resilient nations and a resilient globe. Building resilient communities requires the involvement of all stakeholders and their close coordination, interoperability and effectiveness. To this end, we have to set an ambitious goal which can bind us all and motivate us to work towards a common cause.

In November 2014, we convened at the Global Community Resilience Forum in Cali, Colombia, which culminated with a rallying call to individuals, families, communities, government agencies, civil societies, international organizations, corporations as well as the Red Crescent and Red Crescent network to form a “One Billion Coalition for Resilience”, to scale up community and civic action on resilience.

We recognize that resilience comes from individuals and communities themselves, and we need to work with them in the process of reconnecting with their own power and taking ownership of their lives. Reducing risks and vulnerabilities is a process that must be owned, led and carried out by the people themselves to bring about lasting change in their communities.

Within the next 10 years, the goal of the coalition is ‘to engage at least one person in every household around the world in active steps towards enhancing community resilience’. This is the IFRC’s voluntary commitment toward the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals. It is our commitment toward future generations.

This is an ambitious goal that will only be achieved through collaboration and partnership.  It is an opportunity to come together  as actors from international organizations, civil society, the public and private sectors -  all those who wish to contribute to this coalition of will and action, at every level from local to global.

The IFRC is committed to making this One Billion Coalition successful through our network of 17 million volunteers and 189 National Societies. We have a permanent presence in thousands of communities and stand ready to partner with like-minded stakeholders like yourselves. Together we can reach One Billion people – be in through disaster preparedness, risk reduction, providing access to water and food, strengthening community health, livelihoods, education, or other services.  

Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to invite you, like-minded stakeholders  - to join in the co-creation of a One Billion coalition. To build our collective capacity and accountability in enabling individuals, households and communities to build their resilience to shocks and stresses, as a condition for ensuring sustainable development.

It is our duty to future generations to rally our efforts into building on local knowledge and generating real impact. We need to build throughout the humanitarian and development landscape, a culture of resilience that is explicitly participatory, inclusive, informed by and accountable to the people who are most at risk.  It is through these types of efforts that we will truly contribute to transforming the lives of the most vulnerable people and support their efforts to build resilient communities.

If the challenges are enormous, experience shows they are not insurmountable. But it is only by working together, in partnership, that we can hope to save our world.  

In conclusion, I would like to express my appreciation to  the Humanitarian Affairs Segment for its role in addressing the global humanitarian challenges and express my belief that under your effective stewardship, we will continue to make great strides toward a resilient world.

Thank you very much.