Advocacy and diplomacy

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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10/11/2021 | Article

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 the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), developed the Climate 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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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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22/11/2021 | Press release

Drowning just below the surface: New IFRC research reveals magnitude of socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic

Geneva, 22 November 2021 – Women, people in urban areas and those on the move have been disproportionately and uniquely affected by the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are some of the findings of new research published today by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The COVID-19 pandemic has had major economic impacts on every nation in the world. The IFRC’s new research also shows the extent of the pandemic’s secondary consequences on communities and individuals. This crisis has caused: increased unemployment and poverty; increased food insecurity; a higher vulnerability to violence; and a loss of education and reduced opportunities for children. It has also exacerbated mental health issues. Francesco Rocca, President of the IFRC, said: “Our research shows what we have long suspected and feared, namely that the destructive secondary impacts of this pandemic have damaged the fabric of our society and will be felt for years, if not decades, to come. People who were already vulnerable, due to conflict, climate-change, and poverty, have been pushed further towards the edge. And many people who were previously able to cope have become vulnerable, needing humanitarian support for the first time in their lives.” The new research provides a global overview, with a special focus on ten countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Philippines, Spain, South Africa and Turkey. Overall, women had more significant impacts on their income, were at greater risk of COVID-19 due to caregiving roles, more exposed to sexual and gender-based violence and experienced mental health impacts to a greater degree than men. In urban areas, poverty rates grew, in some cases at a faster pace than in rural areas. People on the move were more likely to lose jobs or have their hours cut during the pandemic and have been widely neglected by formal protection and safeguarding measures. Furthermore, a lack of preparedness made it harder for countries to build a comprehensive response to what has simultaneously become a public health emergency, global economic shock, and political and social crisis. “As frontline community responders, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the globe have been able to bridge the gaps in this response. They have a deep knowledge of the inequalities that exist and of how they are perpetuated and are therefore among the best placed to help people to recover from the harms to their livelihoods, health and education. But to continue to do so they will need significant additional support: both financial and political,” Rocca continues. The report also reveals that the world is on course for a wildly unequal recovery, depending on the efficacy and equity of vaccination programmes. “We have consistently warned that the inequitable distribution of vaccines will not only allow for high levels of transmission to continue, but that this inequity will also hinder, prolong, or exacerbate the impacts of this pandemic. While we continue to allow profits to trump humanity and richer countries continue to monopolize doses, we will never be able to say that this pandemic is over. “The world must open its eyes, take heed of what is happening around them and shift from words to action. If not, we face the risk that the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will be just as uneven and unjust as the impacts of the pandemic itself,” Rocca concludes. Click here to download and read the report (available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish). For more information and to arrange interviews: In London: Teresa Goncalves, co-author of the report and IFRC COVID-19 Communications Coordinator, +44 (0) 7891 857 056, [email protected] Watch this short video about the report:

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15/11/2021 | Press release

IFRC and TNC urge governments to invest in climate change adaptation measures to tackle the climate crisis

Kingston, Jamaica – November 15, 2021: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are calling for governments to urgently invest in climate change adaptation measures to tackle the growing climate crisis in the Caribbean. The call follows two key climate events - the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) and the 7th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP21). In the Caribbean, storm events account for US$7 billion in losses in average per year (or US$135 billion between 1990 and 2008). Research indicates that 70% of people in the Caribbean live near the coast, where vulnerability to climate change is higher. Studies have also shown that the impacts of climate change are unevenly weighted against the most underserved people – those who are the poorest, most exposed and have the least resources to withstand climate shocks and stresses. In addition, data from the IFRC’s World Disasters Report 2020 reveals that international climate and disaster risk reduction finance are not keeping pace with climate adaptation needs in low-income countries, and the countries with the very highest risk and lowest adaptive capacities are not being prioritized. In fact, less than 1 US dollar per person was made available for climate adaptation funding in high vulnerability countries. “The priority and focus should be the communities that are most exposed and vulnerable to climate risks and the Caribbean region has proven to be one of the most susceptible to climate-related disasters. Therefore, governments must ensure that all efforts and actions to address climate change must prioritize, and not leave behind, those most prone to its impacts,” said Velda Ferguson Dewsbury, IFRC Project Manager for the Resilient Islands by Design (RI) imitative in the Caribbean. Red Cross societies are on the forefront of helping communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate-related disasters and see, every day, the rising risks for vulnerable people. Through projects like the Resilient Islands, the IFRC in partnership with TNC, has been working with communities to help them find innovative, low-cost, and sustainable nature-based adaptation and risk reduction measures. “Climate change isn’t a distant threat - it is happening now. We have all seen the visible impacts of climate change before our eyes such as more extreme weather and natural disasters, chronic drought and economic instability. While our work with the Red Cross is helping at-risk communities across the Caribbean to adapt to climate change, with the power of nature, we need more investments in these and other communities and we need joint actions from all relevant stakeholders,” said Eddy Silva, TNC RI Project Manager. The IFRC and TNC are working with communities in the Dominican Republic, Grenada and Jamaica helping them protect and restore natural habitats, such as mangroves, that help reduce the impact of severe storms and floods. Studies indicate that up to 65% of the increase in projected economic losses due to climate change could be averted through timely adaptation to climate change. In addition, nature-based solutions to minimize climate change can reduce 37% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Resilient Islands incorporates ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR) measures, that harness natural systems to prevent and reduce natural hazards and climate change impacts. For example, by protecting and supporting the growth of coral reefs that provide cost-effective natural barriers, protecting our coasts from waves, storms and floods, or by planting more mangrove trees, which grow roots that mitigate coastal erosion, provide food and other services, and serve as nurseries for a diversity of fish species. These actions help communities reduce their exposure to hazards by identifying and lessening their vulnerabilities while at the same time enhancing their livelihood sources, as well as building their capacities and resilience to prepare for and respond to emergencies. The RI initiative aims to protect Caribbean people against the impacts of climate change not just by promoting the use of natural coastal and marine habitats to reduce risks, but also by helping governments, partners and communities implement sustainable development plans that prioritize nature. Resilient Islands is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. For more information, please contact: In Jamaica: Trevesa DaSilva | +876 818-8575 | [email protected] In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes | + 506 8416 1771 | [email protected] In Washington, D.C.: Claudia Lievano | +1 786 230-6144 | [email protected] In Geneva: Marie Claudet | +33 7 86 89 50 89 | [email protected]

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15/11/2021 | Press release

Action needed now to prevent further loss of life on the Belarus border

Budapest, 15 November 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling for an urgent de-escalation of the situation at the Belarus-Poland border and for access for humanitarian organisations, to prevent more deaths. At least 10 migrants are thought to have died as conditions reach below freezing along the 1000km border between Belarus and neighbouring countries Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. “We are concerned about the increasingly serious situation on the Poland-Belarus border, after large groups of migrants arrived there on November 8. We call for access for the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations so that all people in need, at the border and other locations, can receive medical treatment, humanitarian assistance and protection services,” said Andreas von Weissenberg, IFRC Europe’s head of Disasters, Climate and Crises. “While Belarus Red Cross has thankfully been given some access to provide vital life-saving aid to people enduring hunger and freezing conditions, we need that access to be regular and also get access on the other side of the border. People need to be treated humanely,” von Weissenberg said. An estimated 2,000 people are living in makeshift camps near the border. Belarus Red Cross has been coordinating aid from partners since November 9, distributing food, water, blankets and warm clothes. 50 staff and volunteers are involved in a continuous response to the situation with migrants, 20 of them are involved sorting and distributing packages, as well as helping authorities set up heating tents for women and children. Belarus Red Cross has also provided food, clothing and hygiene kits for three children who were hospitalised in Grodno and is assisting migrantswho come to its office in Minsk. Andreas von Weissenberg said Polish Red Cross has also been responding to this crisis for several weeks. “They are working with authorities to deliver blankets, sleeping bags and clothes. Local branches are supporting migrants in Podlaskie and Lubelskie provinces, near the border, with food, water and hygiene kits. They are providing first aid and helping people trace family members. But they need unhindered access to migrants at the border in line with our humanitarian mandate and in accordance with our fundamental principles. “Access to humanitarian assistance and to protection in the territory must go hand in hand. All migrants arriving at the EU’s borders should be able to effectively apply for international protection and receive an individualised assessment of their claim, in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention and applicable EU law,” von Weissenberg explained. IFRC is in the process of providing Belarus Red Cross with emergency funding. It has already allocated 429,426 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to help Polish Red Cross support up to 4,300 migrants with food, clothes, hygiene items, first aid and family reunification services. IFRC has also allocated 338,885 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to help Lithuanian Red Cross support up to 4,000 migrants with medicine, clothes, hygiene kits, personal protective equipment against COVID-19, family reunification and psychosocial support services. In total the financial support provided by IFRC to the three Red Cross Societies will be more than 1 million Swiss francs. Lithuanian Red Cross teams have been supporting migrants close to the border with water, hygiene kits, footwear and clothing, as well as toys for children. In five large reception centres volunteers provide food and other humanitarian aid, offer psychological support and legal assistance and help people reconnect with their loved ones by providing mobile phones and SIM cards. But more needs to be done. “Humanitarian organizations must be granted unconditional and safe access to all people in need, irrespective of their legal status. People are crossing the border with just the clothes on their backs. They need food, medicine, hygiene items, clothing, and protective equipment against COVID-19. We must be allowed to deliver critical assistance and we want to see a peaceful, humane and rights-based solution to the situation,” von Weissenberg concluded. Photos of the Red Cross response can be found here For more information, please contact: In Budapest: Georgia Trismpioti, +30 697 180 9031, [email protected] In Budapest: Corinne Ambler, +36 704 306 506, [email protected]

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13/11/2021 | Press release

COP26: More than vague promises are needed to save millions of lives

Geneva, 13 November 2021 - No country in the world can ignore the catastrophic impacts of climate change. Big and small, from the global North and South, they all came together in Glasgow to address the greatest threat of our time. Our message over the past two weeks has been loud and clear -- promises are not enough. We welcome the commitment to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming, but worry that specific commitments to meet this target remain too vague. We are particularly disappointed that COP26 did not deliver the finance needed to support communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis.While new commitments to increase adaptation finance for the poorest and most vulnerable countries were made, we need a much stronger will to provide accessible, high-quality finance to address the challenges that will only multiply in the years to come. We must make sure that this funding reaches the local communities that are hit first and worst so that they can prepare for, adapt and respond to the ever-increasing threats. More support is also needed to help countries and communities that are already struggling to cope every day; where the limits of adaptation have been reached and losses and damages has already been experienced. Our volunteers and staff across the world have been confronting these consequences for years, so it is an illusion to believe that we are not already paying the price of inaction. We will do our part. Together with the International Committee of the Red Cross we developed the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations, which now has over 170 signatories. In this charter we all commit to greening our operations and to scaling up our climate action, building resilience wherever we work. As the world’s largest humanitarian network present in 192 countries, we will do our best to support communities facing the devastating impacts. We ask the same of our world leaders, we cannot do this alone. Glasgow opened the door to further discussions and we are committed to working together with governments and other organizations to find effective solutions to address this growing crisis. COP26 represents a small step in the right direction. What the world needs is a massive leap. It is time to hold our leaders accountable. We need pledges to be realized and commitments turned into action. Millions of lives are at stake but it’s not too late. Yet. To request an interview or for more information, please contact: In London: Teresa Goncalves, +44 7891 857 056, [email protected] Note to editors Climate experts also available for interview.

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12/11/2021 | Press release

IFRC is extremely concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Palestine

West Bank / Gaza / Geneva 12 November 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is extremely concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Palestine. Palestinians are facing a multitude of crises, including persistent escalations of violence, a socio-economic breakdown and the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of a protracted conflict and occupation. Critical infrastructure, including the power and water supply, is eroding in many areas. Millions of people are unable to cover their most basic needs because of serious shortages of food, water, fuel, and medicines, among other essential supplies, especially in Gaza, as a result of the continued blockade. According to OCHA, more than 2.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Speaking at the end of his visit to the Gaza strip and the West Bank, IFRC President Francesco Rocca said: “I am deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Palestine: too many overlapping crises are pushing local communities to their limits. I am always impressed by the critical work done by the Palestine Red Crescent teams: from the emergency medical services to social and inclusion activities, they are a key humanitarian actor. I was particularly inspired by the visit to their centres for children with disabilities both in Gaza Strip and West Bank. These centres embody the real meaning of humanity: without PRCS these children would be left behind. The world has a moral duty to strengthen humanitarian support in Palestine and invest in local actors like the Palestine Red Crescent.” Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) continues to be the leading provider of emergency medical services in Palestine, operating five hospitals and providing ambulance and first aid services. For decades, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has supported the Palestine Red Crescent Society to respond to the immense needs of the most vulnerable people. During the visit, President Rocca signed the IFRC legal status agreement with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestine: a standard procedure when the IFRC establishes an office with international staff to strengthen the operations of a national Red Cross or Red Crescent Society. IFRC President Rocca said: “Signing of the status agreement is verification for our long-term commitment to support PRCS and the people in Palestine. As per our humanitarian principles, we continue providing humanitarian relief to the people based on their vulnerabilities and needs, without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.” Dr. Younis al-Khatib, PRCS President, said: “The signing of the legal status agreement is a manifestation of the long-standing support and solidarity of IFRC with PRCS. The staff and volunteers of PRCS are always happy to meet with President Rocca and be inspired by his unwavering support and praise for the volunteers of our Movement.” IFRC is committed to supporting the PRCS in its humanitarian mandate to deal with the acute and protracted consequences of occupation, violence, disasters, and crises. IFRC together with the other Red Cross and Red Crescent partners continue to enhance the preparedness and response capacities of PRCS’ medical services, scale up their COVID-19 response activities, provide medical items, medicines and personal protective equipment, and replace old and out-of-service ambulances. To request an interview or for more information, please contact: In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, IFRC, +41 79 708 43 67, [email protected] In Beirut: Jani Savolainen, IFRC, +961 70372812, [email protected] In Ramallah: Mamoun Abbasi, PRCS, +970 595606096, [email protected]

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09/11/2021 | Press release

“COP26 has not gone far enough" says IFRC Secretary General

Geneva, 9 November 2021 – Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General, is in Glasgow to make sure that the voices of the most vulnerable communities around the globe are heard and words are translated into action. He is joined by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Society representatives from communities hardest hit by climate change - including Fiji, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa and Vietnam - who have been sharing the dramatic experiences of communities on the frontline. At COP26, Jagan Chapagain made the following statements: “COP26 has not gone far enough to help people on the frontline of the climate crisis. The most vulnerable people, often those who have contributed the least to global warming, are paying the highest price. Humanitarian response cannot keep pace with a crisis of this magnitude, we need to make sure communities are more resilient in the face of rising risks -- including resources to anticipate and act ahead of rising risks and to cope with the devastating impacts. Vulnerable communities need action now, not words. Global leaders are making progress, but the commitments at COP26 so far are too small and unbalanced. We need more support for adaptation and loss and damage. And we need to make sure this funding really reaches the most vulnerable communities. COP26 fails if it fails to support the resilience of the most vulnerable people already experiencing catastrophic climate impacts. The world’s major emitters must lead, take responsibility, and help those who are most vulnerable to climate change adapt and become more resilient. This is critical to protect and save lives.” To request an interview or for more information, please contact: In Geneva: Marie Claudet +33 7 86 89 50 89, [email protected] In Glasgow: Pasca Lane +44 7 982 004 859, [email protected] In Glasgow: Melis Figanmese +41 79 202 20 33, [email protected] In London: Joe Cross, +44 7 833 173 845, [email protected]

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05/11/2021 | Press release

In the race against the pandemic, the poorest, most vulnerable, and marginalized are being left far behind

“Around half of the world’s population has now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This is a tremendous achievement that even just a year ago seemed unfathomable. However, while richer countries are speeding ahead with vaccination campaigns for their populations, in lower-income countries, only about four per cent of people have received even one dose of a vaccine. Over half of the countries facing humanitarian crises do not have enough doses to vaccinate even ten per cent of their population. “In the race against the pandemic, the poorest, most vulnerable, and marginalized are being left far behind. It is a humanitarian imperative and a global responsibility, not to mention an economic and recovery necessity, to ensure that everyone has access to vaccines, not only those in countries with the means to buy protection.” Last week, the UN and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement jointly made five asks to government and the international community, to achieve the equitable distribution and delivery of vaccines. For more information In London: Teresa Goncalves, +44 7891 857 056, [email protected]

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02/11/2021 | Press release

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

Geneva, 2 November 2021 – 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.” To request an interview with Francisco Rocca in Glasgow or virtually, please contact: In Glasgow from 31/10 till 03/11: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67, [email protected] In Geneva: Marie Claudet +33 7 86 89 50 89, [email protected] In Glasgow from 02/11 till 05/11: Joe Cross, +44 7 833 173 845, [email protected]

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09/08/2021 | Basic page

Community focus for global health risks

Community-level health volunteers and activities are vital to addressing the most pressing global health risks. Governments and international partners must provide greater funding and recognition for the role of community level health volunteers and interventions.

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