Advocacy and diplomacy

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05/05/2022 | Article

The IFRC was created to bring kindness – and kindness is needed more than ever

“The world is bleeding, and it needs help now”. Stark words of warning from a humanitarian leader shaken by a brutal war and living under the shadow of a global pandemic. I did not pen these words. They were written in 1919, by Henry Davison, the leader of the American Red Cross. His big idea was that the world’s Red Cross societies – which were set up after the movement was created by Nobel Laureate Henry Dunant in 1863 – should come together as a force for good at all times, and not only during wars. Davison firmly believed the kindness and expertise shown by Red Cross volunteers should benefit humanity in other times as well. And thus, the League of Red Cross Societies was born, on the 5th of May 1919. There were five founding Red Cross Societies – those of the United States of America, Italy, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom. By the end of that year, the League had 30 members. The League changed its name to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – the IFRC – in 1991. We now have 192 member National Societies, with more in formation. The core of the idea has stayed the same while the scope of the IFRC network has grown massively, in reach and in impact. In 2020, 14.9 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers reached more than 688 million people with disaster and other emergency response work; some 306 million with health activities, and 125 million with clean water and sanitation assistance. These are impressive figures, but the scale of the humanitarian needs continues to grow every year. Right now, countless people across the world need urgent support. The conflict in Ukraine and the stress placed on its neighbouring countries is just one example. The lingering physical, social and economic damages inflicted by the global COVID-19 pandemic is another. Alongside these disasters is the ever-present, and worsening, threat of climate change. With challenges like these, can a simple idea – like the one that led in 1919 to what is now known as the IFRC – still help to heal the world? I believe it can – and will. We know what works, and we’ve been proving it for more than a century. It’s one human being reaching out to support another human being in crisis, at the community level, where it is always needed the most. It’s ensuring that local volunteers and local organizations have the resources, training and as much (or as little) international support as they need to respond to disasters and crises. It’s making sure their voices are heard, and their interests represented, on the international stage. And it is working to bring that support to the most marginalized communities and individuals, no matter where they are, and without any discrimination as to who they are. It is – put simply – kindness. I first joined my National Society, the Nepal Red Cross, as a volunteer more than three decades ago. I was trusted – and therefore able to meet and support the people in greatest need – because I was part of their community, I spoke their language, and I understood their concerns. And the key to understanding what people needed was kindness. Over the years, the IFRC has evolved alongside the communities we support. We have adapted our ways of working, expanded our expertise as different vulnerabilities and stressors emerge, and have been agile enough to pioneer and then mainstream new approaches to humanitarian support. We have led on the development and widespread acceptance of cash assistance as the most effective and most respectful way to support people in need. After all, people who have lost everything in a disaster or conflict should not have to lose their dignity as well. And we are driving change in how disaster risks are managed and reduced through anticipatory action, where local communities are supported to reduce their risks, and immediate funding can be triggered once scientifically-measured thresholds are reached. None of this work would be possible without the kindness of our 14.9 million Red Cross and Red Crescent community-based volunteers. On World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, 8th May, we will encourage people around the world to believe in the power of kindness and #BeHumanKIND. The world is still bleeding. It still needs help. But there are nearly 15 million reasons to believe in kindness, and to have hope. -- If you'd like to read more about the history of the IFRC, visit our history and archives page. And check out the hashtag #BeHumanKIND across all social media channels this week to see how our National Societies are celebrating World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

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21/09/2022 | Speech

Universal Health Coverage: IFRC Secretary General addresses the Third Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Global Health

It is an honour to co-host today’s event as part of the Group of Friends on Universal Health Coverage and speak on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, comprising 192 National Societies and millions of staff and volunteers. Universal Health Coverage, which embodies the right of all people to quality, accessible, affordable, and available health services, reverberates deeply with the IFRC’s core mission to act in the interest of the most vulnerable and alleviate human suffering. Since 2018, we have been scaling up our work on UHC and aligning ourselves with the WHO’s programme of work. As a member of UHC2030, we supported Country Focus Groups before and after the 2019 High Level Meeting to share lived experiences, challenges and achievements in UHC from populations often left behind. This year, the IFRC conducted country consultations across the world with communities and civil society groups to identify barriers to accessing basic health services and to provide key inputs to the State of UHC Commitment report. Despite all progress, we’re witnessing that many vulnerable groups and marginalized populations lack access to lifesaving health services. One year from today, the High-Level Meeting on UHC must serve as a juncture for making the political commitments to strengthen health systems for future generations. First, we must prioritize the health needs of the most vulnerable, especially in situations of disasters, climate crisis, health emergencies and violence. Governments must tackle stigma and discrimination and build trust by integrating vulnerable communities into policy making itself. Women and girls have reported greater difficulties in accessing healthcare, and people on the move are often completely left out of national health schemes. Second, we must invest in ensuring safety and protection of community health workers and volunteers, including our Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, who have a deep understanding of the risks, vulnerabilities and inequalities that affect the health status of their communities and represent a key resource by working with the formal health system to deliver services. The role of community first responders in ensuring improved and timely coverage of essential health services became even more obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic. Third, governments should develop community health strategies through improved collaboration between public health services, communities, and civil society organizations. More investment is needed in scaling up risk communication and community engagement as a key component of people-centred health systems. We strongly believe in empowering communities and ensuring their meaningful engagement in decision making. Our National Societies, as neutral and impartial actors, can translate the needs of communities into policy, social protection systems, infrastructure, laws and governance issues. Health systems should also be backed by better public health emergency laws that enable systematic responses to pandemics and health emergencies – we have just launched a guidance on public health emergency law to support this. Lastly, and importantly, there is no health without mental health, especially in crisis situations. Health system strengthening means integrating and resourcing mental health and psychosocial support services for all who may need them. Excellencies, colleagues, access to health services is not a privilege and should not be treated as such. We cannot afford to lose the opportunity of next year’s High-Level Meeting and cannot waiver: achieving Universal Health Coverage is the only way forward. We are committed to continuing work with governments and other partners to implement our shared commitments to UHC and stronger health systems for everyone, everywhere. Thank you.

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10/11/2021 | Speech

Statement by the IFRC Secretary General at the Resumed High Level Segment of COP26

Excellencies, it is my privilege to address this plenary and I thank our host, the Government of the United Kingdom for their efforts to increase attention and action on the resilience agenda. The climate crisis is a humanitarian crisis. Every day, we are seeing the growing impacts of climate change. Loss and damage are our daily reality. In the month of October, there were 15 weather-related disasters affecting over 14.9 million people. Since the beginning of 2021, droughts have affected 40.1 million people—the highest number since 2016. The IFRC and our 192-member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are responding to disasters and the humanitarian needs of people every day and working on local solutions to adapt to rising risks. But the most vulnerable people are getting left behind. The IFRC assessed which countries were the most climate-vulnerable looking at their exposure and coping capacities.We identified five countries with VERY high climate-vulnerability and a further 66 as having high vulnerability to climate-related threats. But these countries are not getting the support they need. Per person climate adaptation funding in 2019 averaged under one US dollar per person in very high vulnerability countries. Somalia, the most vulnerable, ranks only 54th for per person climate change adaptation funding disbursements, whilst Afghanistan comes in 96th. Many countries not receiving funding are fragile contexts that are hard to work in. We must find ways to invest even where it is hard to do so, and we must collaborate to fill the gaps and get the resources to the local communities that are worst affected. Global commitments are important, but they need to translate into local climate action.Communities, local governments, local organizations and local businesses need to be in the lead. We will do our part. The IFRC, together with theInternational Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC), developed theClimate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations. This now has over 170 signatories, and in this charter we all commit to greening our operations and to scaling up our climate action, building resilience wherever we work. We are investing more in anticipatory action to save lives, in using nature-based solutions to build resilience, all while enabling locally-led action in the face of rising risks. And we need to work together with you to do this. For many people, survival is under threat today, in vulnerable countries but also in Australia, Europe, and the United States, where thousands have been killed by heatwaves, wildfires, floods and storms. This will get worse as warming increases. All of us will need to act before it’s too late. Let’s not miss our chance.

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02/11/2021 | Speech

IFRC President, Francesco Rocca at COP26: "We don’t have any more time to waste”

Francesco Rocca, President of The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is in Glasgow attending the World Leaders Summit and calling for the people and communities most vulnerable to climate change to be at the heart of discussions. At COP26, President Rocca made the following statements: “The commitments made – or missed – at COP26 will have a huge impact on the lives of communities already on the front line of climate change. We are seeing a clear rise in climate and weather related-emergencies. Wildfires, droughts, flooding, heatwaves, hurricanes; extreme weather events are happening more often and are putting more and more people in danger all over the world. As world leaders convene in Glasgow for COP26, we are calling for the people and communities most vulnerable to climate change to be at the heart of discussions and decisions. Global investment needs to reach them so that local people can adapt. For example, by building stronger buildings, homes, roads; and investing in early warning systems, so communities know when an extreme weather will hit and can prepare in advance. Critically, we must avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change, by reversing emissions and keeping the rise in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees. The cost of inaction is far greater than the financial commitments promised. Vulnerable countries and communities are being left behind. In the future, humanitarian response alone will no longer be enough to keep communities safe.”

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14/06/2022 | Press release

IFRC and C40 Cities urge cities to prepare for more dangerous and deadly heat waves

14 June 2022, Geneva, New York—Heat waves are becoming more frequent, longer, hotter and deadlier, especially in urban areas, but the threats they pose are preventable if cities and residents are prepared for extreme heat and take steps to save lives. The past seven years, from 2015 to 2021, have been the hottest on record and this year is already a punishing one. The life-threatening temperature spikes seen in recent months across India, Pakistan, East Asia and southern Europe and this week’s unusually intense, early-season heat wave gripping parts of the United States are an ominous sign of what is to come as the world gets warmer. Every year, increasingly scorching temperatures put millions of people at risk of heat-related illnesses and claim the lives of thousands of others. People living in cities are hardest hit because urban areas are warmer than the surrounding countryside and are getting hotter due to climate change. Those most at risk are already vulnerable—the elderly and isolated, infants, pregnant women, those with pre-existing ailments and the urban poor, who often work outdoors or live and work in buildings without air conditioning or adequate ventilation. But deaths from heat waves are not inevitable. Five billion people live in places that are prone to heat waves and where early warning systems can predict them before they happen. “Heat waves are the silent killers of climate change, but they don’t have to be,” says Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). “Most heat waves are forecast days or weeks in advance, giving ample time to act early and inform and protect the most vulnerable. The good news is that there are simple and low-cost actions authorities can take to prevent unnecessary deaths from heat.” Ahead of the summer season in many parts of the world, IFRC is launching its first global Heat Action Day, today, 14 June—mobilizing branches and partners in over 50 cities to hold awareness-raising events about ways to reduce severe impacts of extreme heat. The IFRC is also partnering with C40 Cities to call on city officials, urban planners, and city residents in every region of the world to prepare for more dangerous and deadly heat waves. “Cities that are used to hot weather need to prepare for even longer periods of sweltering heat and cooler cities need to prepare for levels of extreme heat that they are not accustomed to,” says Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities. “From Miami to Mumbai and Athens to Abidjan, mayors in our network are increasing green spaces, expanding cool roof programmes and collaborating on heat actions to improve resilience to rising urban heat. But far more work is needed to reduce andmanage risks as the climate crisis worsens.” TheC40 Cool Cities Networksupports cities to embed heat risk and management in their climate action plans, develop heat resilience studies, and develop, fine-tune and measure impacts of heat mitigation action, including cooling, greening and emergency management.The network has held intensive workshops on urban heat and equity, developed resources to guide heat action plans and, over the past two years, supported cities in managing the compound crises of extreme heat alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on outreach to vulnerable populations. Across the globe, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are rising to the extreme heat challenge—supporting and improving local and national heat action plans, spreading messages to the public on heat safety, checking in on the most vulnerable, distributing water, supporting medical services, identifying and setting up cooling centres, and even helping people retrofit their homes to improve shade and reduce heat. They’re also expanding research on heat to parts of Africa, Asia and South America that have been overlooked in the past. “The climate crisis is driving and intensifying humanitarian crisis in every region of the world,” says Rocca. “But when cities and communities are better prepared, extreme weather doesn’t have to become a disaster or a tragedy.” Note to Editors: IFRC’s “Heat Wave Guide for Cities” and “Urban Action Kit” are resources for city officials, urban planners and community organizations to anticipate and plan for extreme urban heat and reduce deadly risks. C40’s “Urban Cooling Toolbox” provides approaches to lower urban temperatures and reduce the impact of the urban heat effect; the “Heat Resilient Cities Benefit Tool” helps city planners and decision-makers quantify the health, economic and environmental benefits of adaptation actions. A heat wave is an extended period of unusually high temperatures and often high humidity. Extreme heat can cause shock, dehydration and other acute illnesses, and worsen cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. There is now a mountain of evidence that climate change is increasing the occurrence of deadly heat waves. Scientists have concluded that climate change has made the 2022 heat wave in India and Pakistan 30 times more likely, the 2019 heat wave in western Europe 100 times more likely and the 2019-20 heat wave in Australia 10 times more likely. Images and Video for use by media outlets: Follow thisTwitter thread to access videos and photos of global Heat Action Day events. Heat emergency response images can be accessedhere For more information or 1:1 interviews, contact: IFRC: Melissa Winkler, [email protected], +41 76 2400 324 IFRC: Tommaso Della Longa, [email protected], +41 79 708 43 67 C40 Cities: Rolf Rosenkranz, [email protected] IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives, build community resilience, strengthen localization and promote dignity around the world.www.ifrc.org - Facebook-Twitter-YouTube C40 Citiesis a network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities who are working to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone, everywhere can thrive. Mayors of C40 cities are committed to using a science-based and people-focused approach to help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities.www.C40.org-Twitter-Instagram-Facebook-LinkedIn

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31/05/2022 | Press release

IFRC urges governments and humanitarian partners to protect lives ahead of an active hurricane season in the Americas

Panama/Geneva, 31 May 2022 —The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is ramping up preparedness actions ahead of another above-average active Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Ocean. The IFRC urges governments and humanitarian stakeholders to protect lives by investing in early warning systems, forecast-based solutions, and coordinated disaster response plans. From 1 June to 30 November 2022, North America, Central America, and the Caribbean expect between 14 to 21 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to six hurricanes of category three or higher. The IFRC and its network are working to ensure communities are better prepared to cope with the effects of heavy rains, landslides, and floods that these weather events may cause during the next six months. Martha Keays, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas, said: “The region may face up to six major hurricanes, but it takes just one single storm to destroy communities that are already grappling with poverty, inequality, and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, hundreds of local Red Cross teams in more than 20 countries are sharing early warning messages and coordinating preparedness measures with local governments and community leaders. In parallel, the IFRC is combining weather forecasts with risk analysis to take early actions ahead of hurricanes rather than simply responding to events. This approach allows us to anticipate disasters, decrease their impact as much as possible, and prevent suffering and the loss of lives and livelihoods.” The IFRC is paying special attention to the needs of women, children, migrants, and returnees, who are suffering from overlapping crises in Central America. This region is still recovering from the pandemic and hurricanes Eta and Iota, which left 1.5 million people displaced in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala alone. In Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti, vulnerable communities exposed to hurricanes and storms are also at highest risk of food insecurity due to the current global food shortage crisis. In this challenging scenario, the IFRC is advocating for regulatory frameworks that favor the agile delivery of humanitarian aid to areas affected by disasters. It has also prepositioned humanitarian goods in Panama, Guatemala, Honduras and across the Caribbean to provide immediate response to the humanitarian needs for up to 60,000 people in both the Pacific and Atlantic coastal zones. According to the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center, the 2022 hurricane season in the Atlantic, and the Caribbean Sea is predicted to be more active than normal due to the influence of the La Niña climate pattern. This phenomenon is active for the third consecutive year and causes sea temperatures in this basin to be above average. This condition allows for more active development of hurricanes, as seen in 2020 and 2021. For more information, please contact: In Panama Susana Arroyo Barrantes - Comms Manager Americas,[email protected] María Victoria Langman - Senior Comms Officer Americas,[email protected] In Jamaica Trevesa Da Silva - Comms Officer English & Dutch Caribbean, [email protected]

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01/06/2022 | Press release

IFRC, WWF call for global action to protect nature to save lives and address climate crisis

Stockholm, 2 June 2022 - A new report shows that nature-based solutions could reduce the intensity of climate and weather-related hazards by a staggering 26 per cent, in a world where over 3.3 billion people live in places that are highly vulnerable to climate change. The study from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and WWF highlights how the power of nature to protect people is being overlooked. The report, “Working with Nature to Protect People: How Nature-based Solutions Reduce Climate Change and Weather-Related Disasters” shows how nature-based solutions can reduce the likelihood of climate change and weather-related events occurring. It sets out how lives can be saved by working with nature-based solutions to prevent exposure to these hazards and support vulnerable communities in adapting to and withstanding the dangers of a warming world. For the first time, the analysis from IFRC and WWF shows that these solutions could provide developing countries with valuable protection against the economic cost of climate change, saving at least US$ 104 billion in 2030 and US$ 393 billion in 2050. Communities in every region of the world are already experiencing worsening and increasing impacts of climate change, with vulnerable people in low resource countries the hardest hit, and women and children often the most exposed. From 2010 to 2019 alone, sudden-onset climate change and weather-related disasters killed more than 410,000 people. Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General said: “The climate crisis is driving multiple humanitarian crises around the world. Its impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of people is intensifying. Greening nature; restoring forests, farmlands and wetlands are some of the best and most cost-effective ways to support vulnerable communities to adapt to risks and impacts they already face. Protecting nature will protect people.” Marco Lambertini, Director-General of WWF, said: “Let’s be clear. If we don’t urgently scale up efforts to limit the impacts of a warming world, more lives will be lost, and economies and livelihoods affected. Nature is our greatest ally and also a crucial buffer against climate change. By restoring and protecting it, we can help ecosystems build resilience and continue to provide crucial services to humanity and in particular to the more vulnerable communities. “Nature-based solutions play a key role in addressing climate change, but the potential benefits of these solutions drop as the global temperature rises - which is why every moment and decision matters to cut emissions and give us the best chance to build a safer and more equitable future.” Examples of effective nature-based solutions that address climate change include: Conserving forests to restore degraded land, provide food, guard against droughts and protect communities from strong winds. Restoring healthy floodplains and wetlands to reduce the impact of floods and promote sustainable agriculture to protect against droughts. Restoring mangroves and coral reefs to provide a protective barrier from storms, soak up planet-warming carbon dioxide and provide food for local communities and habitats for marine life. The report kickstarts a partnership between the IFRC and WWF. The report will be launched at Stockholm+50, a UN environmental meeting where leaders will reflect on 50 years of multilateral action. The partnership aims to raise awareness about nature-based solutions and encourage governments, communities, donors, practitioners and the private sector to incorporate nature in their climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction planning. -- Notes for editors: Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges and climate change effectively and adaptively, while providing benefits to human well-being and addressing biodiversity loss. Learn more here. The full report is available for download here. The report will be launched at an event at Stockholm+50 on 3 June at 13:00 CEST. This UN environmental meeting provides leaders with an opportunity to reflect on 50 years of multilateral action to deliver the bold and urgent progress needed to secure a better future on a healthy planet. The report describes the enabling factors that have supported successful nature-based solutions initiatives and the challenges that are preventing the scale-up of these solutions. A series of case studies highlights IFRC and WWF’s work in the space, shows the potential of nature-based solutions, provides key lessons to guide practitioners in future implementation, and presents how supportive legal and policy frameworks are critical for scaling-up nature-based solutions for building climate and disaster resilience. For media queries and interview requests, contact: WWF International Media team: [email protected] IFRC: Melis Figanmese, +41 79 202 2033, [email protected] IFRC: Melissa Winkler, +41 76 240 0324, [email protected]

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20/05/2022 | Press release

IFRC report: Goals for poverty reduction, decent work and closing inequality gap, stalled by COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean

Panama City, May 20, 2022 - The devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have stalled some of the key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is unlikely that the region will end poverty, ensure gender equality, promote decent and equitable work, and reduce inequality within and between countries by the target date of 2030. This is one of the main findings of "Readjusting the path towards equity," a recent study by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The report confirms that COVID-19 increased unemployment, reduced the income of the poorest families, forced more than one million children to leave school, reduced labour protection and worsened inequality and gender violence. Head of IFRC's Disaster, Climate and Crisis unit in the Americas, Roger Alonso, said: "This study helps us understand the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable people’s income, access to food and well-being. The findings underline the fact that a full social and economic recovery will take years. To avoid irreversible levels of vulnerability, it is crucial to implement an inclusive and fair recovery, which also anticipates the effects of the current food and fuel price increases resulting from the conflict in Ukraine." According to the report, the loss of income of the poorest populations increased food insecurity resulting in 60 million people suffering from hunger in the first year of the pandemic. That same year, 23 million women were pushed into poverty and since then, cases of domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking have increased. In addition, 10% of jobs in the region were lost during the pandemic, and 30% of these have not yet been recovered. Meanwhile, 51% of the migrant population surveyed by IFRC said they lost their jobs and 53% of those who kept them, saw their income reduced or were not paid. This IFRC analysis is based on literature review, interviews with experts and representatives of international organizations, as well as 1,825 surveys conducted in Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Venezuela. Co-author of the report and IFRC Livelihoods Recovery Officer in the Americas, Daniela Funez, said: ''Listening to the communities we serve is a priority for the Red Cross network. That's what allows us to know their needs in depth and, in this case, the data they provided us confirms the projections made by international agencies about the effects of COVID-19 on the SDGs'." To address the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic, the IFRC suggests prioritizing attention to the most vulnerable groups, incorporating a gender approach in humanitarian action and contributing to reducing the effects of climate change. It also calls for increased investment in vaccination, protection and livelihood protection, a key issue to close the 60% funding gap needed to continue responding to the medium and long-term effects of COVID-19. For more information: In Bogota:David Quijano +57 310 5592559,[email protected] In Panama:Susana Arroyo Barrantes,[email protected]

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16/05/2022 | Press release

IFRC president: Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives

New York / Geneva, 16 May 2022 – President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Francesco Rocca calls on states to step up to their responsibility to save lives, no matter where people are from, ahead of the first review of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM). Mr Rocca says: “When I was in Marrakech for the adoption of the GCM I made a statement that the world’s approach to migration is painfully broken – but that the GCM can fix it. As we begin the first review of the progress made since then, I am sad to say that this has not been the case so far. Not enough changes to policies and practices to ensure safe and dignified migration have taken place, and many more lives have been lost due to that failure to act.” On the world’s deadliest sea migration route, the central Mediterranean, the number of deaths has in fact increased since the GCM was signed. The Ocean Viking ship, operated by SOS Mediterranée with IFRC providing humanitarian services on board, saves people in distress on this route. “We need to carry out this work as state-coordinated search and rescue is absent in the area,” says Mr Rocca. “Our teams have already saved 1,260 people in the nine months we’ve been operating.” The Ocean Viking is one of the 330 Humanitarian Service Points (HSPs) in 45 countries that supports the ambitions of the GCM, providing assistance and protection to people on the move irrespective of status and without fear of reprisal. The Romanian Red Cross implements HSPs in Bucharest to support people fleeing Ukraine, providing information, food, water, hygiene items and financial assistance, while the Hungarian Red Cross has been operating a HSP at the Keleti railway station 24/7 to welcome people arriving from Ukraine by train with information, food, hygiene items and baby care products. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colombian Red Cross Society has implemented HSPs at the border with Venezuela, offering essential services like healthcare, while Libyan Red Crescent volunteers have provided support to migrants and displaced people, operating HSPs that provided access to information, food, and other necessities, as well as restoring family links services. At the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), the IFRC is calling for individual and collective efforts on search and rescue; ensuring access to essential services for migrants regardless of status; scaling up support to people affected of climate related displacement; and the inclusion of migrants in all aspects of society and decision making. “The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis has shown what is possible when humanity and dignity comes first, when there is global solidarity and the will to assist and protect the most vulnerable,” says Mr Rocca. “This must be extended to everyone in need, wherever they come from. Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives.” Listen to the recording of Francesco Rocca's press briefing at the UN in New York. To schedule an interview or for further information: In New York: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367, [email protected] In Geneva: Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, [email protected]

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12/05/2022 | Press release

Global COVID-19 Summit: “World leaders must step up and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to vaccines, tests and treatments.”

Geneva, 12 May 2022 - During the second Global COVID-19 Summit co-hosted by the White House, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Secretary General Jagan Chapagain underlined the network’s commitment to delivering COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments to the most vulnerable and building back stronger health systems. While many countries have successfully rolled out COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, vaccine coverage remains below 10 per cent in many low-income countries including, Papua New Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti or Madagascar. Low-income countries can also not afford tests and other lifesaving tools such as antiviral drugs or oxygen supplies, leaving millions at risk of contracting the virus and suffering its deadly consequences. Mr. Chapagain said: “World leaders must step up and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to vaccines, tests and treatments. This means targeting those who are most vulnerable, have the greatest needs and are the hardest to reach. This pandemic is still spreading and killing people. It is too soon to drop our guard and give up our global efforts against COVID-19.” Since the start of the pandemic, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have supported more than 400 million people to access COVID-19 vaccination and provided mental health support to over 13 million people in 152 countries. Because they are part of the very communities they serve, their role is also critical to building trust, informing communities about public health measures and boosting vaccine uptake. For example, across Asia and the Pacific, millions of volunteers have helped tens of millions of people get vaccinated against COVID-19. Afghanistan has one of the world’s most fragile health systems and has vaccinated only 12% of its population with two doses. The Afghan Red Crescent has been operating a 50-bed hospital dedicated to COVID-19 patients and provided food or cash to more than 165,500 people. More than 1 million people were screened through their Mobile Health Teams and clinics in 2021. In Namibia where only 16% of the population has been fully vaccinated, the Namibia Red Cross has led a “get vaccinated – kick COVID-19 out of Namibia” road show campaign. Red Cross volunteers walk through the streets in communities around the country, carrying signs, singing songs, and leading chants about vaccination. At COVID-19 vaccination sites, Red Cross volunteers also support registration for vaccination and data entry and provide basic first aid. During the Summit, Mr. Chapagain expressed IFRC’s support to a pandemic financing mechanism that would allow community actors to access funding to strengthen community health systems and to increase their resilience to future health threats. Mr. Chapagain said: “We need to prepare for the next pandemic now. The world wasn’t ready for COVID-19, but we can be for the next pandemic. We must harness the lessons, successes and failures from the response to COVID-19 and build towards a future where communities are equipped to respond to the next health crisis.” To request an interview or for more information, please contact: In Washington: Marie Claudet +1 202 999 8689, [email protected] Click here to discover more examples of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' vaccination activities during COVID-19.

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10/05/2022 | Press release

Syria remains in crisis – the world, and donors, must not turn away now

With Syria now in its 11th year of unrelenting crisis, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement again calls on the international community to not forget the continuing humanitarian needs in the country. Right now, people in Syria need continued solidarity and committed support in order to cope with ongoing hostilities, economic woes, crippled infrastructure, and immense humanitarian needs in the country. At present at least 14.6 million people need assistance and are more dependent on aid than ever before. Humanitarian actors, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, provide a lifeline in response to enormous needs. Despite security challenges and political blockages, we are finding ways to repair critical infrastructure and make sure people have access to basic services such as clean water, electricity, and functioning health services. To be able to meet these humanitarian challenges, we need continued financial support from the international community. The importance of support to continue vitally needed humanitarian action cannot be overstated. While much of the world’s attention has turned towards other crises, such as in Ukraine, millions remain in need in Syria. "The armed conflict in Ukraine is adding another layer of challenge to the situation in Syria," said Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC’s regional director for Near and Middle East. "We’re worried about more food insecurity and ever-increasing prices. Even if the Ukraine conflict ended tomorrow the underlying impact of the climate crisis and the pressure this is putting on water resources and food production would still leave us with many issues to cope with.” Our Movement has been responding to the needs of people in Syria since the first days of the conflict, with volunteers and staff providing vital aid to people in areas that others cannot reach. Without them, this humanitarian catastrophe would have been much worse. Each month, we assist millions of people inside Syria; for this life-saving work to continue, humanitarian workers must have sustained, safe, and non-politically motivated access to all people, families, and communities in need. We ask that States and all parties to the conflict ensure international humanitarian law is respected in their operations. Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, IFRC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa said: “We have seen with the Ukraine crisis how reducing restrictive measures on humanitarian activities has enabled our Movement to rapidly reach millions of people who need assistance, desperately. I call on donors, to apply the same flexibility to the Syrian context. Ideally, by extending the same humanitarian exemptions and licenses. This will create better conditions to minimize unnecessary suffering and bring dignity to affected people.” Millions of Syrians living outside their homeland also continue to need support; neighbouring countries currently host the majority of people who have fled from violence in Syria. In Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are providing support to those who have fled, as well as the communities who host them. Countries in Europe have been implementing a wide range of activities to help Syrians integrate into their host communities, from offering psycho-social support programmes, to running reception centres, to facilitating reunification procedures with family members left behind. For further information please contact: ICRC: Jesus Serrano Redondo (Geneva), M +41 79 275 69 93, email:[email protected] IFRC: Rana Sidani Cassou, M: +41 76 671 57 51 / +33 6 75 94 55 15, email:[email protected]

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06/05/2022 | Article

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day: A message from our Movement

“Tutti Fratelli!” We are brothers and sisters, exclaimed the women of Castiglione after the devastating battle of Solferino in 1859. With these very words, they sparked the flame of Humanity among the wounded and dying soldiers, while providing them with care and assistance, regardless of which side they had fought for. Their courage, compassion and kindness in saving lives and alleviating suffering amid the chaos of war inspired Henry Dunant, whose birthday anniversary and founding legacy of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement we celebrate today. In the last two years, crises and disasters have spared almost no one. The COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflicts and violence, the climate crisis and climate-related disasters, environmental degradation, food insecurity and massive population displacements are hitting the world’s most vulnerable groups hard, and many lack the means and resources to adapt. Against this backdrop, indifference, misinformation and hate speech are creeping into the common consciousness, which is fracturing and polarizing societies and leading to people being rejected and dehumanized. Even those who champion the basic principles and rules of protection and assistance are not spared, with those who strive to provide care and support to people in need finding themselves the target of unjust and sometimes violent attacks. When the flame of Humanity flickers, we must be alarmed and we must act! This 8 May is an opportunity for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our staff and 14 million volunteers worldwide to unite in our unwavering commitment to a common humanity. We also reaffirm our Fundamental Principles, which are at the heart of everything we do to assist people in need. Our commitment mandates us to advocate for the world’s most vulnerable people, wherever they may be. When the outbreak of war or a disaster diverts the attention or generosity of the public, the media, public authorities and donors, it is to the disadvantage of millions of people affected by a protracted, forgotten or invisible humanitarian crisis. Our Fundamental Principles carry the flame of Humanity across the world and its divides. They help to refocus the world’s attention on all people in distress. They are the basis of our solidarity with the Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff in action around the world. On this 8 May, we commend their admirable work and unwavering commitment as first responders in their communities. Together, let’s spread the flame of Humanity and believe in the power of kindness. #BeHumanKIND Happy World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day to all! -- Francesco Rocca, IFRC President Mercedes Babé, Standing Commission Chair Peter Maurer, ICRC President

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20/04/2022 | Press release

Americas: IFRC urges governments to save migrants' lives at High Level Regional Meeting on Migration

There are nearly 73.5 million migrants across the American continent - over a quarter of the migrants worldwide - and we continue to see unprecedented migration flows in the region. In 2020 alone, approximately 4.7 million people were displaced on the continent due to disasters - the highest level seen in 10 years. In Panama, just last year, some 134,000 people crossed through the perilous Darien Gap – over 22,000 of whom were children. Within the framework of the High-level Meeting on Migration called by the Panamanian authorities on April 20, 2022, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas, Martha Keays, said: ''States, humanitarian organizations, international agencies and civil society in the Americas face an enormous challenge: protect the dignity and address the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized migrants who continue to face trafficking, discrimination, violence, and limited access to essential services and protection mechanisms. The IFRC and its membership, the Red Cross National Societies of the continent, as auxiliaries to the public authorities, call upon the governments of all countries across the Americas to facilitate the work of the Red Cross to address the needs of migrants and people on the move in the Americas, irrespective of status, in keeping with our mandate as the world’s largest humanitarian network. Over the past few years, thousands of Red Cross volunteers have provided millions of migrants in 17 countries across the Americas with essential services, including emergency and maternal healthcare, psychosocial support, water, hygiene and sanitation, access to information, and COVID-19 prevention and treatment. However, our experience and local reach tell us that the work is not over and there is still a titanic challenge ahead of us. Push factors such as the devastating socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, continuing political crises, and disasters such as the recent hurricanes Eta and Iota and the earthquake in Haiti, all have increased and will continue to increase population movements while exacerbating existing vulnerabilities. ''We urge governments to save lives, ensure access for migrants to essential services, scale up support to persons at risk of displacement related to disasters and the climate crisis, and include migrants and refugees in all aspects of society. It is a humanitarian imperative and a shared regional responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind.”

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06/04/2022 | Press release

People affected by crises everywhere deserve same strong support provided to Ukraine response

Geneva, 6 April 2022 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for solidarity with people affected by crises everywhere as the response to the conflict in Ukraine shows the way. The support from people and donors around the world demonstrates what is possible and illustrates the good practice essential in any humanitarian crisis. At the same time, the massive differences depending on where a crisis occurs and who it affects have been thrown into stark relief. Secretary General of the IFRC, Jagan Chapagain, says: “The immense suffering experienced by so many people in Ukraine is unimaginable for some. Unfortunately, for many others around the world the loss and pain are all too familiar. In Syria for example, 11 years after the conflict began needs in the country are at an all-time high. In Tonga tens of communities are still to recover from the devastating volcanic eruption in January. In the horn of Africa millions of people are currently experiencing one of the most dramatic food crises in years, away from the eyes of the world. These are but a few examples. We call on donors and partners to ensure that we can support everyone in need, no matter where, no matter who.” The situation in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya is critical as these countries are facing a fourth consecutive drought along with the impacts of COVID-19, conflict in the region and escalating food prices due to heavy reliance on wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia. With 14 million people currently in need of urgent food assistance - a number that is expected to reach 20 million this year – IFRC has launched emergency appeals for a total of 39 million Swiss francs to provide life-saving assistance. This also includes longer term support for sustainable livelihoods adapted to the increasing negative effects of climate change to help strengthen communities’ resilience. Every day, in every community around the world, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers continue to respond with an impartial needs-based approach to people affected by crises everywhere, regardless of their status, nationality, ethnicity, religion or any other criteria. While National Societies are working hard to provide the humanitarian services necessary in Ukraine and surrounding countries, it is critical to ensure continuing focus on other crises as well as in preparing for those that will happen next. “IFRC with its network of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is well placed to channel solidarity and mobilize support to respond to all crises and disasters that are happening concurrently around the world. But to be able to do this, needs-based support and funding is essential," concluded Mr Chapagain. IFRC currently has 29 emergency appeals open for big and complex disasters, from Afghanistan to Madagascar. For the increasing number of smaller climate-related disasters, the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) is the most efficient and transparent way to get funding directly to local humanitarian actors. At present, there are 42 active DREF funded responses around the world, including in Ethiopia, Palestine and Ecuador. Media contacts: In Geneva: Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, [email protected] In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe +254 731 688 613, [email protected] In Beirut: Rana Cassou +336 7594 5515, [email protected] In Panama: Susana Arroyo +50 68 416 1771, [email protected] In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain +60 12 230 8451, [email protected]

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07/03/2022 | Article

Act now to save lives and prevent migrants from going missing

Thousands of migrants go missing or die each year along migration routes. In 2018, United Nations Member States committed to “save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants” by adopting the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). Four years and more than 15,000 documented deaths later, efforts to provide a meaningful response to this ongoing human tragedy cannot be put off any further. As heads of the United Nations Network on Migration’s Executive Committee, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Commission on Missing Persons, we call on States to urgently assume collective responsibility to save lives and prevent migrants from going missing or dying along migration routes and to search for and identify those who have gone missing and to assist their families. This is in line with the GCM, including Objectives 8 (save lives), 5 (regular pathways), 7 (reduce vulnerabilities in migration), and 23 (strengthen international cooperation) and with relevant obligations under international law. With migration policies becoming ever more restrictive and as safe and regular migration pathways remain out of reach for so many, including in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people seeking family reunification, decent work, dignity, better opportunities or who are compelled to leave owing to disasters and precarious situations have few options other than irregular migration along riskier routes and are often forced to rely on smugglers to facilitate the passage. The consequences are acutely visible: from the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Andaman Sea, to the Sahara Desert, and along migration corridors in the Americas, the death or disappearance of migrants has become all too frequent. Over the past eight years, more than 47,000 people have died along these and other routes around the world. Many more deaths go unrecorded. This figure does not include the thousands of migrants who go missing each year because they are unable to establish contact with their families -- whether victims of enforced disappearance, detained or stranded, hiding for fear of arrest or deportation, unaccompanied and separated children or those who have been severely injured. When people go missing along migration routes, their families often face devastating socio-economic, psychological, administrative, and legal consequences. The disappearance of a relative is not only cause for anguish, but it may affect access to property, inheritance, parental or social welfare rights. Addressing these dynamics is the responsibility of all countries -- of origin, transit and destination – and requires multi-stakeholder efforts, involving both local and national actors, and in which the voices of migrants and engagement of affected families remain central. We are also particularly alarmed about the growing trend of criminalizing or obstructing efforts to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance, including search and rescue efforts and medical care to migrants in need, which runs contrary to the commitment expressed in Objective 8 of the GCM. We call on States to respect obligations under international law, including human rights law, upholding the right to life and right to health for all individuals, irrespective of nationality, ethnic or social origin, gender, migration status or other grounds, the right to family life, the best interests of children, and the absolute prohibition of enforced disappearance or arbitrary detention, amongst others. Ahead of the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) to be held from 17-20 May 2022 to review progress made in implementing the GCM, we also call on States to: Prevent migrants from dying or going missing by: Prioritizing and cooperating in search and rescue operations to render assistance to migrants regardless of their migration status, including through clear and predictable disembarkation mechanisms that ensure that survivors are delivered to a place of safety and that all children receive adequate non-custodial care and reception; Supporting the efforts of humanitarian organizations and crews of commercial vessels, where appropriate, to provide lifesaving assistance, healthcare and protection to migrants at land and at sea, and refraining from criminalizing, obstructing or otherwise deterring the efforts of those who provide such assistance; Assessing the impact of migration-related laws, policies and practices on a regular basis and revising those, as necessary, to ensure that they are in line with international legal obligations and do not create or exacerbate the risk of migrants dying or going missing; Enabling migrants and their families to establish, restore, or maintain contact along migratory routes and at destination; Creating and strengthening possibilities for safe and regular migration in a manner that upholds the right to family life and responds to the needs of migrants in a situation of vulnerability as well as practices for admission and stay based on compassionate, humanitarian or other considerations for migrants compelled to leave their countries of origin. Search and identify those who have died or gone missing by: Setting up transnational mechanisms to allow for information exchange and coordinated efforts across countries of origin, transit and destination to search for and identify those who have died or gone missing, in cooperation with relevant stakeholders, including the families of the missing, while respecting the right to safety, privacy and data-protection standards; Regularly collecting and making data on migrant deaths and missing migrants publicly available in accordance with the right to privacy and data protection. Provide support and redress to the families of those who have died or gone missing by: Providing avenues through which families can register cases of missing persons and obtain information on search efforts, while respecting the right to privacy and protecting personal data; Ensuring that families of missing migrants in countries of origin, transit and destination are able to exercise their rights and access services and other support to meet their specific needs; Ensuring access to justice, accountability and redress for migrants and their families by carrying out independent, impartial and thorough investigations into all allegations where migrants’ lives or safety were endangered in the course of their journey and where they were subjected to violations of their rights, whether by State or non-State actors, including as a result of aggravated smuggling or trafficking; Establishing procedures for the dignified recovery, identification, transfer and burial of the remains of deceased migrants, and appropriately notifying and assisting their families in this regard. While there is much more to be done, there is a growing body of practice, knowledge and guidance that can inform coordinated efforts to translate commitments under international law and the GCM Objectives into reality. International, regional and sub-regional bodies can play an important role in facilitating these efforts, together with local actors and communities. Ahead of the IMRF, we call on States to make concrete commitments and pledges to action, to mobilize efforts to save lives and prevent migrants from going missing. Our organizations stand ready to support States to implement these commitments to ensure that humanitarian principles and the human rights of migrants and their families remain at the center of all actions. António Vitorino, Director-General of the IOM and Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Catherine M. Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director of UNODC Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC Francesco Rocca, President of the IFRC Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of ICMP The United Nations Network on Migration was established to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow up and review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. While the Network’s mandate is focused on the GCM, States are called to also implement these recommendations as relevant to refugees and to protect the human rights of everyone equally, regardless of migration status. For more information and media requests, please contact: Florence Kim, at the UN Network on Migration secretariat: [email protected]; +41 79 748 03 95. -- Learn more about the IFRC's work supporting people on the move. And click here to read our policy brief on the GCM.

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28/02/2022 | Press release

Scientists confirm climate change already contributes to humanitarian crises across the world

Geneva, 28 February 2022 ­– The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for urgent local action and funding, particularly for those most vulnerable, to combat the devastating humanitarian impacts of the climate crisis confirmed in today’s report by world’s climate scientists. For the first time, the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published today notes that climate change is already contributing to humanitarian crises in vulnerable contexts. In addition, climate and weather extremes are increasingly driving displacement in every region of the world. IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said: “The IPCC report confirms what the IFRC and its network of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have already witnessed for years: Climate change is already disrupting the lives of billions, particularly the world’s poorest who have contributed the least to it.” “The global response to COVID-19 proves that governments can act decisively and drastically in the face of imminent global threats. We need the same energy and action to combat climate change now, and we need it to reach the most climate-vulnerable communities across the world so that they have the tools and funding to anticipate and manage risks.” The report, authored by more than 200 climate experts, reaffirms the key principles that the IFRC network has been calling for to tackle climate change; that local action is key in tackling climate change and that responding to disasters after they happen will never be enough to save lives and combat a crisis of this magnitude. The latest science confirms, with very high confidence, that climate impacts and risks exacerbate vulnerabilities as well as social and economic inequities. These in turn increase acute development challenges, especially in developing regions and particularly exposed sites, such as coastal areas, small islands, deserts, mountains and polar regions. Maarten van Aalst, coordinating lead author of the report and Director for the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre said: “This report is a flashing red light, a big alarm for where we are today. It tells us in unequivocal scientific language that the window for concerted global action to secure a liveable future is rapidly closing. It demonstrates that all the risks we were concerned about in the past are now are now coming at us much faster.” “But the report also shows that it is not too late yet. We can still reduce emissions to avoid the worst. Alongside, we’ll have to manage the changes we can no longer prevent. Many of the solutions, such as better early warning systems and social safety nets, have already proven their value. If we raise our ambition to adapt to the rising risks, with priority for the most vulnerable people, we can still avoid the most devastating consequences.” Notes to editors National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies not only respond to disasters when they occur, but also play a critical role in preventing hazards such as floods and heatwaves from becoming disasters. Working at the front lines in communities before, during and after disasters, they know what is needed to respond to climate crises and help communities prevent and adapt to the rising risks of climate change. The IFRC aims to support member National Societies to reach 250 million people each year with climate adaptation and mitigation services to reduce suffering and vulnerability. For more information or to arrange an interview: In Geneva: Caroline Haga, +358 50 598 0500, [email protected] Rights-free b-roll and images related to this press release are available to download and use here.

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18/02/2022 | Press release

Survivors on rescue ship Ocean Viking urgently need to disembark in a place of safety

Marseille/Geneva/Budapest, 18 February 2022 – Since Monday, 14 February, the Ocean Viking has been waiting with 247 rescued people on board to be assigned a place of safety. Despite 5 requests to the relevant maritime authorities, the ship has yet to receive instructions on where to disembark those rescued at sea as rough weather has taken a toll on the health of the survivors on board. The 247 people were rescued from distress at sea in five separate operations in less than 36 hours last weekend and earlier this week by the Ocean Viking, a rescue ship chartered by European search and rescue organisation SOS MEDITERRANEE and operated in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Michele Angioni, Search and Rescue Coordinator for SOS MEDITERRANEE on the Ocean Viking, says: “We have performed five rescues in less than 36 hours several days ago in the Maltese and Libyan search and rescue regions and received no coordination from maritime authorities, despite numerous emails and calls. After this intense weekend, we went through a storm with waves up to 4 meters and winds up to 30 knots.” Among the 247 rescued people are 53 unaccompanied minors as well as a 5-month-old baby. Some of the survivors show signs of torture, like 19-year-old Amath* from Senegal, who left for Libya with his brother when he was only 9 years old. Amath told the crew that he left Senegal ten years ago to find work in Libya. There he was jailed ten times, beaten often by guards or police – having scars all over his back. He also said that he was shot in the leg while trying to escape. “After the rescues and once recovered onboard the Ocean Viking, we treated cases of fuel inhalation, fuel burns and skin infections,” says Johanna Jonsdottir, IFRC nurse. “Since then, survivors have suffered from seasickness and consequent dehydration, headaches and stomach-ache. We see that the psychological condition of people is worsening because of the standoff. Some survivors have old wounds, such as burns, twisted ankles, gunshots and suffer from back pain after being beaten,” adds Eila Rooseli, IFRC medical doctor. Many of the rescued people have explained to teams on board that for them, the only way to escape Libya was to attempt the perilous crossing of the central Mediterranean in an unseaworthy dinghy, even though they knew of the risks. However, according to maritime law, a rescue is only formally completed once the survivors are disembarked in a place where their lives are no longer threatened and their basic needs met. Too often, survivors have to spend extended periods of time on rescue ships before being allowed to disembark. “The lack of SAR coordination and of a predictable disembarkation mechanism has been putting the lives and health of survivors at risk for several years. This can no longer be the norm. A ship is not a sustainable place for survivors to remain on. We need a Place of Safety for men, women and children to disembark without further delay,” Search and Rescue coordinator Michele Angioni adds. -- *Name has been changed to protect the individual's privacy For more information, contact: From IFRC: In Geneva: Anna Tuson, [email protected], +41 79 895 6924 In Budapest: Hannu-Pekka Laiho, [email protected], +358 40 5257126 In Budapest: Nora Peter, [email protected], +36 70 953 7709 From SOS MEDITERRANEE: International & Germany: Julia Schaefermeyer / +33 6 12 52 15 69 / [email protected] France: Morgane Lescot / + 33 6 11 74 10 11 / [email protected] Italy: Francesco Creazzo / +39 347 815 1131 / [email protected] Switzerland: Eva Ostendarp / +41 79 239 99 13 / [email protected] (German) and Elliot Guy / +41 782 38 74 04 / [email protected]

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17/02/2022 | Press release

Climate Change: Red Cross calls for more investments in local action as European and African leaders meet in Brussels

Nairobi, Kenya. 17 February 2022 – As parts of Southern Africa are reeling from the impacts of tropical storms and cyclones and other parts of the continent are facing severe droughts, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling for urgent investment in local action to combat the effects of climate change. The call comes ahead of the 6th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit which gets underway today in Brussels, Belgium. Recently, tropical storm Ana in Mozambique, Malawi, and Madagascar, and cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar again, left hundreds of thousands of people displaced, homes destroyed, and infrastructure worth billions of dollars damaged. At the same time, humanitarian organizations in Africa warned this week of a catastrophic hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia) where more than 20 million people are feared to face starvation because of prolonged drought. The Sahel and West Africa, particularly Nigeria, also face a deteriorating food security situation. Mohammed Mukhier, the Regional Director for IFRC Africa said: “What we are witnessing is a manifestation of the impact of climate change on the continent. We need to strengthen investments in local preventative measures that build people’s ability to cope with these intensifying disasters.” Countries in Africa are only responsible for four per cent of global carbon emissions, and at the same time disproportionately affected by the widespread consequences of climate change and accelerated environmental degradation. Yet, climate financing pledged by world leaders is slow to reach the people on the ground who are most exposed to climate risks. Ahead of the Summit, the IFRC calls for renewed efforts to build and implement a new Africa-EU Partnership that would answer to the needs of the most vulnerable people exposed to the impacts of climate change and the environmental crisis, strengthen food and health security and address forced migration. In the longer term, the role of local actors should be strengthened to support communities in building resilience and addressing humanitarian and development challenges on the continent. Communities in Africa and elsewhere are also increasingly impacted by multiple hazards in addition to the changing climate, which are compounding their vulnerabilities and affecting their capacity to cope. “Communities can hardly recover before they are hit by another disaster. Madagascar is a case in point where we saw a devastating drought last year, and before those effects could be relieved, some of those same communities have been impacted by cyclone Batsirai recently.” said Andoniaina Ratsimamanga, Secretary-General of the Malagasy Red Cross Society. To support countries to cope, there is an urgent need to address underlying vulnerabilities in communities, including poverty and marginalization, and providing support to those most exposed to the impacts of climate change. At the same time, there is incredible potential that lies within the African continent to address these challenges, including innovative approaches by young people and women to issues such as land restoration and the use of digital platforms. For more information, or to request an interview, please contact: In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe, +254 735 437 906, [email protected] In South Africa: Thandie Mwape, +27 66 486 8455, [email protected]

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24/01/2022 | Article

IFRC statement at the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board 150th session

The IFRC was born out of the 1918 Pandemic, and Epidemic Preparedness and Response are part of our DNA. We have a historic opportunity to reform the global health architecture this year. Let me propose 3 lenses through which we should measure success: First, epidemics thrive on socio-economic and geographic inequities, affecting levels of trust, access to health services and quality of surveillance - let us not ignore this and over-medicalize our discussions. Second, it is crucial that domestic disaster laws and frameworks, including public health emergencies, go beyond IHR capacities to be truly comprehensive and inclusive. Finally, having effective vaccines, tests and treatments available at scale is critical, but it will not ensure their uptake or availability in communities. Community engagement and health systems are key to leaving no one behind. The IFRC and its 192 member National Societies stand ready to share their legal and health expertise and recommendations to ensure reforms are not only powerful on paper, but transformative in reality. -- Click here to learn more about the IFRC's work in health and care.

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27/12/2021 | Press release

"Never before has the need for a localized approach to crises been so evident"

Geneva, 27 December 2021 - “As we end this year, and on this International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, I would like to pay tribute to the brave and invaluable contributions of frontline responders. For the past two years, they have helped to detect and slow the spread of COVID-19, to treat and support those most affected, and dispel myths and rumours about the virus, vaccines and the wider response. They continue to support our communities worldwide. While some literally gave their lives to keep others safe, governments struggled, and are still struggling, to pull together a global coordinated and inclusive response. “Never before has the need for a localized approach to crises been so evident, but it cannot fall on the shoulders of local responders alone. The international community can, and must, do better by them. Unique opportunities to put communities at the centre of the response are laid before us in 2022, from the upcoming White House COVID summit and the launch of Global Vax to the reconvening of Member States to agree on an international instrument to strengthen preparedness and response to pandemics. We urge decision-makers to strengthen recognition of, and support to, community engagement and feedback mechanisms, community health systems and community surveillance and preparedness programs. “Public health emergencies are our past, our present, and we will face them again. Based on the IFRC’s years of experience in responding to health crises around the world, and on our network’s mandate to assist Governments with legal preparedness for disasters and public health emergencies, we stand ready to continue to support communities and respond to their needs.” For more information In Geneva: Ann Vaessen, +41 79 405 7750, [email protected] Learn more about our work in epidemic and pandemic preparedness.

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17/12/2021 | Press release

Migrants across the world must have access to life-saving assistance and protection

Geneva, 17 December 2021 – In a year marked by exacerbated difficulties due to Covid-19 and climate-related disasters, the humanitarian situation of migrants around the world has worsened, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned ahead of International Migrants Day on 18 December. Francesco Rocca, President of the IFRC, said: “2021 has been another terrible year for migrants across the world. Far too many migrants continue to face significant humanitarian needs with devastating consequences, with many taking life-threatening journeys, others excluded from essential services and critical protection, and yet more facing hostility and exclusion in countries of transit and destination. Governments have the duty to protect human dignity and save lives, and humanity must be at the centre of any and all decisions. When did we forget that?” To date, the numbers of migrants have reached record levels at 281 million across the world. While many migrants are able to search for a better life in a safe way, thousands continue to embark on dangerous, life-threatening journeys with only the clothes on their backs. In 2021 alone, more than 1,600 people are reported to have died or gone missing on the Central Mediterranean route and more than 1,000 in the Americas, but the actual numbers are thought to be much higher. Climate-related disasters have already forced millions of people to flee their homes and the numbers are expected to continue to increase in the years to come. The socio-economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in the past two years have also hit migrants particularly hard due to pre-existing vulnerabilities, precarious livelihoods, lack of state support as well as movement restrictions. Migrants have also been disproportionately affected in terms of health care and lack of access to vaccines. “All over the world, migrants face enormous risks to their lives, safety, dignity, human rights and well-being. Governments must provide people on the move access to adequate food, shelter, basic healthcare, and legal advice about their rights irrespective of migration status. At the same time, humanitarian organisations must be granted unconditional access to provide humanitarian assistance to all people in need,” President Rocca added. The IFRC network has a global presence along migratory routes, including at sea on the world’s deadliest route in the Central Mediterranean, providing humanitarian support to migrants throughout their journeys - in countries of origin, transit and destination. In at least 110 countries and in a coordinated manner across borders, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provide life-saving assistance and protection to migrants regardless of their legal status, based on their needs and vulnerabilities. “On this International Migrants Day and every day, we will continue to make the voices of migrants in vulnerable situations heard. No human being is illegal, and we will not stay silent as their mistreatment continues. Now is the time for all governments to finally show some humanity,” President Rocca concluded. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367, [email protected] In Geneva: Ann Vaessen, +41 79 405 77 50, [email protected]

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02/12/2021 | Press release

“Impulsive reactions are an affront to the global solidarity we need to successfully respond to a crisis of this scale.”

“The consensus reached among Member States this week to commit to a legal instrument that has preparedness, equity and a whole-society approach at its centre, is crucial. That the discussions this week took place in the shadow of Omicron, could not more clearly evidence the need for global collaboration to prepare and respond to pandemics. “But broad principles agreed are not enough. When Member States next meet, they will need to drill down on exactly what is required to achieve these. We also need to keep in mind that this process is an opportunity to address the mistrust that has plagued the response, and so we urge member states to keep communities at the centre of discussions. We need to build on what has been learnt and instrumentalize an approach to global pandemics that is powerful on paper, and transformational in reality.” Commenting on the Omicron variant discovery, Chapagain added: “It has been an illusion to believe that speedy vaccination in some countries, while massive pockets of the world remain without access to vaccines, will bring this pandemic to an end. And instead of applauding the great science and the transparency that helped to uncover a new variant, countries punished it with impulsive reactions. This is an affront to the global solidarity we need to successfully respond to a crisis of this scale.” For further information In Geneva: Ann Vaessen, [email protected], +41 79 405 77 50

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29/11/2021 | Press release

“Impulsive and ineffective reactions” to COVID-19’s Omicron variant will send more Africans into poverty

In response to the news that a number of countries are restricting travel from South Africa and several other countries in the region; Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC Regional Director for Africa, said: “This impulsive wave of travel bans will further worsen the livelihoods of families across Africa. We need greater science-driven coordination to bring an end to this pandemic—not impulsive reactions. South Africa should not be punished for doing a good job of detecting a new COVID-19 variant, especially when imposing travel bans is likely to do more harm than good. The emergence of a new variant is happening against the background of low vaccine coverage, and this is where the focus should have been all along. We reiterate our call for equitable vaccine coverage. Variants will continue to emerge while the virus continues to circulate. Vaccine, data and knowledge equity are key to protecting the African continent and the world. We call on the international community to make decisions based on solid scientific evidence and avoid any move which may unjustifiably lead to a further worsening of the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19.” For more information In London: Teresa Goncalves, [email protected], +44 7891 857 056 In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe, [email protected], +254 735 437 906

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29/11/2021 | Press release

"The pandemic has both thrived on inequities and exacerbated them"

“The pandemic has both thrived on inequities and exacerbated them. Any new legal instrument, be it a treaty or otherwise, must affirm a commitment to equity: equity in access to health services and care, equity in access to vaccines, data, diagnostics and other treatments, and equity in access to recovery efforts, including economic recovery. “Too often we neglect the important work of community-level responders. We need increased investments and coordination in programmes that put communities at the heart of the response. “This pandemic has made it clear that we need bold new solutions – both in international and domestic laws – to avoid the same mistakes happening again. “Public health emergencies are our past, our present, and we will face them again. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, yet two years on we are still overly reactive and uncoordinated. Variants, like Omicron, will continue to emerge while the virus continues to circulate. Vaccine, data and knowledge equity are key to protecting the global population. “Based on the IFRC’s years of experience in responding to health crises around the world, and on our network’s mandate to assist Governments with legal preparedness for disasters and public health emergencies, we stand ready to strengthen this work. Whatever the outcome of these sessions, it must not only be powerful on paper, but it must also be transformative in reality.” For further information In London: Teresa Goncalves, +44 (0) 7891 857 056, [email protected]

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18/11/2021 | Press release

Joint statement by IFRC and ICRC on migration crisis at the borders between Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and other countries

Budapest/Geneva - November 18, 2021 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are alarmed by the humanitarian tragedy unfolding at the borders between Belarus, Poland and Lithuania. At least 10 people are known to have died, including a 14-year-old boy due to hypothermia.The situation is set to worsen with the most serious winter weather yet to arrive. IFRC has allocated more than 1 million Swiss Francs to Belarus Red Cross, Polish Red Cross and Lithuanian Red Cross, whose volunteers and staff are assisting thousands of vulnerable people with food, water, blankets and vital medical assistance.ICRC is complementing the response, providing support and additional technical expertise to Red Cross partners, notably to keep migrants in contact with their relatives and other protection-related issues. Birgitte Ebbesen, IFRC Regional Director for Europe said: “There are extremely vulnerable people at the border, including people with disabilities, pregnant women, and hundreds of children – many of them without a parent or family member. They have been sleeping rough in freezing conditions for many days now. Our volunteers have been able to provide some assistance, but many are still hungry and cold. These are mothers, sisters, sons and daughters, people whose lives matter, and they should be protected and treated with compassion and dignity.” Martin Schüepp, ICRC Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia said: “To protect people’s lives, health and dignity, as well as ease suffering and prevent further tragedy, all Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners and other humanitarian organisations need immediate, unrestricted access to all migrants, including at borders. The ICRC is providing support and additional technical expertise to our Red Cross partners, on reuniting people with separated family members and other protection-related issues.” All migrants, irrespective of their legal status, should have effective access to humanitarian assistance and medical assistance, as well as to protection. Whether this is international protection, or a voluntary return to their home countries, migrants’ rights should be respected at all times and authorities should avoid separating family members and putting at risk their lives and physical integrity. ENDS For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: In Budapest: Corinne Ambler, +36 704 306 506, [email protected] In Budapest: Georgia Trismpioti, +30 697 180 9031, [email protected] In Geneva: Florian Seriex, +41 79 574 06 36, [email protected] In Geneva: Ruth Hetherington, +33 6 33 28 88 23, [email protected] --- СОВМЕСТНОЕ ЗАЯВЛЕНИЕ МЕЖДУНАРОДНОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ И МККК О МИГРАЦИОННОМ КРИЗИСЕ НА ГРАНИЦАХ БЕЛАРУСИ С ПОЛЬШЕЙ, ЛИТВОЙ И ДРУГИМИ СТРАНАМИ Для спасения жизней и облегчения страданий гуманитарным организациям срочно необходим неограниченный и безопасный доступ к пострадавшим Будапешт/Женева - 18 ноября 2021Международная Федерация обществ Красного Креста и Красного Полумесяца (Международная Федерация) и Международный Комитет Красного Креста (МККК) всерьез обеспокоены гуманитарной трагедией, разворачивающейся на белорусско-польской и белорусско-литовской границах. По подтвержденным данным, от переохлаждения скончались как минимум десять человек, в том числе мальчик 14 лет. С приближением суровой зимы ситуация будет только ухудшаться. Международная Федерация выделила более 1 миллиона швейцарских франков национальным обществам Красного Креста Беларуси, Польши и Литвы, чьи добровольцы и сотрудники снабжают тысячи беззащитных людей продовольствием, водой и одеялами и оказывают им жизненно необходимую медицинскую помощь. МККК содействует усилиям своих партнеров по краснокрестному движению, предоставляя им практическую помощь и рекомендации, в частности для поддержания контактов между мигрантами и их родственниками и в связи с другими вопросами предоставления защиты. «Среди скопившихся на границе людей есть те, кто находится в крайне уязвимом положении, в том числе инвалиды, беременные женщины и сотни детей, многие из которых остались без сопровождения родителей или родственников. Уже много дней подряд все они вынуждены ночевать на морозе, прямо под открытым небом. Нашим добровольцам удается оказать им какую-то помощь, но многие по-прежнему страдают от голода и холода. Эти люди — чьи-то матери, сестры, сыновья и дочери. Их жизни имеют значение. Они имеют право на защиту, сострадание и достойное обращение», — заявила Биргитта Эббесен, директор Европейского регионального офиса Международной Федерации. «Чтобы защитить жизнь, здоровье и человеческое достоинство этих людей, облегчить их страдания и не допустить новых трагедий, всем составным частям Международного движения Красного Креста и Красного Полумесяца и другим гуманитарным организациям срочно необходим неограниченный доступ ко всем мигрантам, в том числе на границах. МККК помогает своим партнерам по Движению и делится с ними опытом в деле воссоединения разлученных родственников и по другим вопросам предоставления защиты», — отметил Мартин Шюпп, глава Регионального управления оперативной деятельности МККК в Европе и Центральной Азии. Все мигранты, независимо от их правового статуса, должны иметь эффективный доступ к гуманитарной и медицинской помощи и должны пользоваться защитой. Их права — будь то на международную защиту или на добровольное возвращение домой — должны соблюдаться во всякое время, и власти должны воздерживаться от того, чтобы разлучать родственников и подвергать опасности здоровье и физическую неприкосновенность людей. КОНЕЦ Получить более подробную информацию или договориться о проведении интервью можно, обратившись к: Georgia Trismpioti, +30 697 180 9031, [email protected] (Будапешт) Corinne Ambler, +36 704 306 506, [email protected] (Будапешт) Florian Seriex, +41 79 574 06 36, [email protected] (Женева) Ruth Hetherington, +33 6 33 28 88 23, [email protected] (Женева)

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