Strengthening a partnership for development in Mauritania between the Red Crescent Society and its government

Publié: 29 avril 2013 16:13 CET

Just hours after touching down in Mauritania on 24 April for his first visit to the west African country, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mr Tadateru Konoé was sitting down to tea with the country’s Minister of Social Affairs and Family, her Excellency, Aicha Vall Mint Michel.

The President commended the Mauritanian government for seconding three staff members with expertise in disaster management, food security and health to the Mauritanian Red Crescent, and acknowledged the many challenges faced by the country, from drought to an influx of refugees escaping the ongoing conflict in Mali. “The IFRC strives to attract international attention to challenges such as these,” said President Konoé. “However, with stronger financial support from the Mauritanian government to the National Red Crescent Society, I am confident they can deliver more services to those most in need.”

The Minister applauded the work of the National Society. “It is because of their existence that Mauritania is surviving,” she said. “There have been positive changes at the National Society over the past year and the government has pledged to continue to support that development.”

Development remains the overarching priority said Mauritanian Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf, the following day. “Our country can count on economic growth of between four and five per cent a year, and we look forward to doubling our infrastructure to ensure that more than 80 per cent of the population can access to water.”

President Konoé emphasized the twin-track approach adopted by the National Society and the IFRC in the face of food crises, combining emergency response and sustainable local development, through community gardens that generate income, food self-reliance, female empowerment, and child nutrition and health. “With a network of 3,500 trained volunteers, enhanced expertise and renewed strong leadership, the Mauritanian Red Crescent has the potential for a growing development partnership with its government, especially in remote areas,” he said.

This contribution was also noted by Minister of Interior and Decentralization, Mohamed Ould Boilil. “The most vulnerable regions that we used to call the ‘triangle of poverty’ have become the triangle of hope,” he said.

President Konoé also insisted on the role Red Crescent volunteers can play in assisting Malian refugees who may not return to their country for several months. “I realize that this situation represents a heavy burden for your country which has opened its borders and welcomed these refugees,” he said. “I am convinced that even stronger collaboration between the National Society and your Ministry could foster greater hope for these vulnerable people.”

The Minister responded: “You can count on us to help them fulfil their mission, which is actually also our mission!”

Hamadi Ould Baba Ould Hamadi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was keen to recognize the important collaboration between humanitarian actors and public authorities. “Considering the scope of challenges in the Sahel, distressed by a crisis that is ecological – affecting soil, land and water – and economical, I must aim at finding long term solutions.

Mr Konoé said: “The IFRC is determined to increase its presence and support to the community resilience programmes developed by the Mauritanian Red Crescent. To this purpose, we look forward to your secondment for obtaining a status agreement in the country.”

Press release

Le président de la FICR en Mauritanie : voir plus loin que l’aide d’urgence en renforçant la résilience des communautés du Sahel

29 avril 2013, Nouakchott, Mauritanie – Tadateru Konoé, président de la Fédération internationale...