| Press release
Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders commit to accelerate efforts to tackle rising humanitarian challenges
Geneva, 23 June 2022 - The Council of delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement concluded today in Geneva with commitments from Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders and youth representatives from around the world, to work together and scale-up efforts to take urgent action on a range of critical humanitarian issues.
Representatives of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) passed a series of resolutions to address a range of humanitarian challenges, including; the growing existential threats posed by the climate crisis; the escalating migration crisis; the devastating impacts of war in cities and the need to continue efforts to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.
"Urban warfare has a devastating humanitarian impact, including the appallingly high number of civilian deaths, the physical and mental suffering, the destruction of homes and critical civilian infrastructure, the disruption to essential services and the widespread displacement of people. We have seen that sad reality playing out in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere. The Red Cross and Red Crescent must mobilise all its influence and resources to meet the challenges that lie ahead,’ said ICRC President Peter Maurer. ‘To be clear: the consequences of urban conflicts are not inevitable. They are the result of the behaviour of the parties fighting in these environments and we call for international humanitarian law to be upheld as an urgent priority’.
IFRC President Francesco Rocca said: “How we work to tackle and mitigate against the impacts of climate change will define our work, not just for the next few years, but for decades to come.
“All over the world, our volunteers and staff are working with people in their communities to help them adapt to the climate crisis and, frankly, they are demonstrating greater readiness, eagerness, and leadership than the majority of our global political leaders. We need action from them, not more words. And now.
“The same goes for the international migrant crisis. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement speaks of leaving no person behind, of solidarity, and humanity. But, all over the world, we see world leaders failing to take the plight of migrants seriously enough and too easily prepared to neglect the human rights of those fleeing conflict, hunger, persecution, and, of course, those parts of the world where climate change has already done untold damage to their communities.”
Francesco Rocca, IFRC President, was re-elected to serve a second four-year term in office at the IFRC’s General Assembly on 19 June.
For more information on resolutions adopted at the Council of delegates is available here
For other information and interview requests, contact:
IFRC: Benoit Carpentier, Tel: +41 792 132 413 Email: [email protected] Paul Scott -+44 (0)7834 525650 email: [email protected]
ICRC ICRC: Ewan Watson - m. +41 (0)79 244 6470 email: [email protected] ICRC: Crystal Wells - m. +41 (0)79 642 8056 email: [email protected]
For further information about the statutory meetings please visit rcrcconference.org
| Press release
Red Cross extends support to families separated by violence and conflict
Budapest/Geneva, 13 May 2022 – Ahead of the International Day of Families on 15 May, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is expanding its family reunification services with a new initiative.
The Reunification Pathways for Integration (REPAIR) project is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), and enables safe and legal family reunification in the EU by assisting beneficiaries of international protection and their family members before, during and after arrival.
The three-year project is led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in partnership with the Austrian, British, French and Slovenian Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
National Red Cross Societies in these four countries are scaling up their support by offering a range of services including counselling, visa application support, socio-cultural orientation sessions, psychosocial support and language classes. They also provide integration support to help family members reconnect after a long period of separation.
Building on the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement's longstanding work with migrants and refugees, the project aims to improve and expand the current service provision through the development of new tools and approaches, also to be shared with key stakeholders. Activities in the programme will contribute to the improvement of the Family Reunification journey for affected communities and a strengthened network of agencies in Europe and beyond.
IFRC Europe Regional Director, Birgitte Ebbesen, said the right to family life must be respected, regardless of where people come from:
“Whether from Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan or Somalia, people who flee violence and persecution often become separated from their family members, which can have devastating consequences on their wellbeing. Without their loved ones, they are not able to resume normal lives. Family reunification is essential to realizing the right to family life in Europe and key for long-term integration in receiving communities.”
The project is built on Restoring Family Links (RFL), a key mandate of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to deliver activities that aim to prevent separation and disappearance, look for missing persons, restore and maintain contact between family members, and clarify the fate of persons reported missing.
Family reunification is one of the safe and legal routes to protection to Europe, yet families face many challenges due to the complex legal framework and practical obstacles. Bringing together beneficiaries of international protection and their relatives often turns into a lengthy and unsafe process.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is calling for a more holistic, protection-oriented approach that is safe, inclusive and provides the necessary support to families at every step of the way. Preparing local authorities and host communities for the arrivals should also be an integral part of the action.
“A fair and swift family reunification process ensures dignity and helps prevent desperate families from taking dangerous journeys to join their loved ones, often resulting in tragic deaths and people going missing en route. We are not just helping people, we are saving lives,” Ms. Ebbesen added.
For more information, please contact:
In Budapest: Nora Peter, +36 70 265 4020, [email protected]
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.
Happy World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day to all!
Francesco Rocca, IFRC President
Mercedes Babé, Standing Commission Chair
Peter Maurer, ICRC President
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
8 May is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day—a global day to celebrate the uniqueness and unity of our International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
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.
| Press release
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals for 250 million Swiss francs to assist people affected by Ukraine conflict
Geneva, 1 March 2022 - With the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and neighbouring countries deteriorating rapidly, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) fear that millions of people face extreme hardship and suffering without improved access and a rapid increase in humanitarian assistance. To respond to this sudden, massive need, the two organizations together are appealing for 250 million Swiss francs ($272 million).
The ICRC is appealing for 150 million Swiss francs ($163 million) for its 2022 operations in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.
ICRC Director General Robert Mardini said:
“The escalating conflict in Ukraine is taking a devastating toll. Casualty figures keep rising while health facilities struggle to cope. We already see long-term disruptions in regular water and electricity supplies. People calling our hotline in Ukraine are desperately in need of food and shelter. To respond to this massive emergency, our teams must be able to operate safely to access those in need.”
In the coming weeks, the ICRC will increase its work reuniting separated families, providing food and other household items to the internally displaced, increasing awareness about areas contaminated by unexploded ordnance, and carrying out its work to ensure that dead bodies are treated with dignity and that family members of the deceased can grieve and find closure. Water trucking and other emergency water delivery is now needed. Support to health facilities will be increased, with a focus on providing supplies and equipment to care for people wounded by weapons.
The IFRC is appealing for 100 million Swiss francs ($109 million) to support National Red Cross Societies to assist an initial two million people in need due to intensified hostilities in Ukraine
Among these groups, a special focus will be on vulnerable people, including unaccompanied minors, single women with children, elderly, and people with disabilities. Investment will be significantly increased in capacity building of Red Cross teams in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to bolster locally led humanitarian action. They have already mobilized thousands of volunteers and staff and are providing life-saving assistance such as shelter, basic aid items, medical supplies, mental health and psychosocial support and multi-purpose cash assistance to as many people as possible.
IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said:
"In the middle of so much suffering, it is heart-warming to see the level of global solidarity. The needs of the people affected by the conflict are increasing by the hour. The situation is very desperate for many. A rapid response is needed to save lives. Our member National Societies are uniquely positioned to respond, and, in some contexts, they are the only actor that can deliver humanitarian assistance at scale, but they need support to make it happen. I call for global solidarity to ramp up the assistance to people suffering because of this conflict.”
For more information or to arrange interviews:
In Geneva: Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, [email protected]
In Budapest: Corinne Ambler, +36 704 306 506, [email protected]
In Geneva: Florian Seriex, +41 79 574 06 36, [email protected]
In Geneva: Jason Straziuso, +41 79 949 3512, [email protected]
| 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.
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.
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)
Guidance for National Society Statutes
To deliver sustained, relevant and principled humanitarian action, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies need a strong statutory or constitutional base fit for the 21st century.
National Society Investment Alliance
The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) is a pooled funding mechanism, run jointly by the IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It provides flexible, multi-year funding tosupportthe long-term development of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Communiqué of the Haitian Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on the protection of the medical mission to Haiti
The events of armed violence and the disruption of fuel distribution continue to hit Haiti and have humanitarian consequences for the population and their access to basic services, particularly health services.
Power outages are hampering the functioning of medical structures, goods and services. Pediatric, maternity, trauma, emergency and hospital care is at risk of being completely disrupted. The provision of care is also affected by the impossibility for healthcare personnel to commute to work.
The supply of diesel fuel to hospitals is urgently needed to ensure the safety of patients and the operation of generators and thus to save lives.
The Haitian Red Cross Society, with the support of its partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, is actively working to respond to the humanitarian consequences of the earthquake that affected the southern region of the country. An emergency hospital has been deployed and is receiving more than 100 patients per day. Its operation is also at risk due to the unavailability of fuel.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement wishes to recall that the work of medical personnel, means of transport and medical infrastructure must be respected and protected and must not be impeded or obstructed. They are entrusted with the mission to prevent and alleviate the human suffering of injured or sick people, wherever they may be.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a neutral, impartial and independent body. Its mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of disasters, armed conflicts or other situations of violence by providing aid and assistance whenever necessary. In this regard, respect for the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblem, ambulances and humanitarian personnel, including volunteers, is crucial for the respect of humanitarian principles.
Statement on behalf of the 160 signatories to the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations to the 26th UNFCCC COP
The latest scientific evidence, including the most recent IPCC report, reconfirms the truth of those words. Our planet is in a period of accelerating climate and environmental crises, the effects of which are being felt by all of us. As humanitarian organizations, we see this every day in our work.
As the world prepares to come together for COP26 in Glasgow in November, we urge negotiators to bear in mind the humanitarian consequences of their decisions. Climate-related disasters have nearly doubled in the past 20 years and weather-related hazards are now the number one driver of internal displacement, affecting most notably the poorest and most marginalized people. The climate crisis is adding an additional layer of stress to humanitarian organizations that are already stretched thinner than ever before. Urgent and ambitious action is needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to rising risks, so that we can avert the most disastrous consequences on people and the environment. Without ambitious climate action, humanitarian organizations will struggle to respond to increasing needs.
Even in the best-case scenarios over the coming years, we know that a certain amount of climate change and environmental degradation is set to occur, and that their humanitarian consequences are likely to increase. We must consider individual characteristics such as age, gender, and legal status, as well as structural situations that affect people’s exposure to risk, to ensure that people who are most vulnerable to those consequences receive the support they need to protect themselves and their livelihoods.
When we signed the Charter, we committed to scale up our action, reduce risks and vulnerability, and support those most at risk. We pledged to act upon local leadership and experience, to invest in durable responses, and to draw on and amplify local and indigenous knowledge. We promised to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, minimize the damage we cause to the environment, and reduce our waste, and to share information, insights, and resources so that the impact of our efforts is amplified.
We know that radical transformation is needed. We are determined to act, urgently and intentionally, and we call on everyone, across the humanitarian sector and beyond, to do the same.
Signatories to the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations
The Charter is open for signature by all humanitarian organizations. Information about the Charter and guidance on its implementation are available at www.climate-charter.org
National Society Investment Alliance: Funding announcement 2021
The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) is pleased to share the National Societies to receive investment from the fund in 2021, with the Steering Committee approving Accelerator funding to:
The Armenian Red Cross Society
The Nigerian Red Cross Society
The Ugandan Red Cross Society
These three National Societies, all of which have previously received preparatory Bridge funding from the NSIA, will each receive significant follow-on investment to help build sustainable income generating activities related to the provision of commercial first-aid services and other related income generation initiatives.
In addition, Bridge funding will be awarded to the National Societies of Ethiopia, Malawi, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, and Yemen.
In total the NSIA will allocate funds of around CHF 2.1 million. This is the largest annual allocation made by the NSIA to date and is made possible by generous support from the governments of Switzerland, the United States, Canada and Norway.
The Co-chairs of the NSIA Steering Committee, Xavier Castellanos, Under-Secretary General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Katrin Wiegmann, Deputy Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said:
“We are pleased to share the National Societies that have been selected for funding by the NSIA in 2021."
"It is particularly welcome to see that the three Accelerator investments selected this year have all gone to National Societies who have previously received Bridge funding from the NSIA."
"This underlines for us the importance of the NSIA’s two-stage approach, with initial funds providing a springboard to help National Societies prepare for increased investment aimed at achieving sustained impact on the organisation and vulnerable communities."
"In addition to the three Accelerator awards made this year, we look forward to seeing the progress of the newly selected Bridge recipients.”
The IFRC and the ICRC jointly manage the NSIA to provide substantial, multi-year development support to National Societies in contexts of heightened humanitarian need and risk. The NSIA helps strengthen the organisational capacities and development of humanitarian services of National Societies so they can increase their humanitarian impact and reach.
To respond to the varied development needs of National Societies, the NSIA can award up to one million Swiss francs of Accelerator funding to any one National Society over a five-year period. In addition, Bridge grants of up to 50,000 Swiss francs over 12 months can help National Societies prepare the ground for future investment from the NSIA or elsewhere.
For more information about the NSIA, visit this page.
| Press release
Ahead of COP26, Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s five asks to world leaders: “It is not too late to act: the survival of humanity depends on the actions we take today”
The following joint statement can be attributed to the Presidents of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) ahead of COP26, on the last day of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement Summit on pandemics, climate change and local action:
Today, the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are affecting every aspect of our lives and societies, including our physical and mental wellbeing, our livelihoods, and our economies. The poorest and the most vulnerable, who have contributed least to the climate crisis, are being hit hardest.
In the lead-up to COP26, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is urging world leaders to act now for rapid and drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and at the same time to urgently address the existing and imminent humanitarian impacts of climate change, taking into account the lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis.
Around the world, poor and vulnerable communities are facing multiple crises at once. The layered effects of extreme-weather events, food insecurity, COVID-19 and conflicts, are putting millions of lives at risk and creating unprecedented humanitarian needs. Climate change is functioning as a risk multiplier, with increasingly devastating impacts. Since the beginning of the pandemic, climate-related disasters have severely affected the lives of at least 139 million people. Of the 25 countries most vulnerable to climate change, 14 are also mired in conflict. And yet these very communities and countries are among the most neglected by climate finance. This needs to change.
No state or organization can do this alone. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is committed to playing its part in the global efforts to stem the climate crisis.
We have witnessed the ‘Power of Many’, as millions of volunteers from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, stepped up to help curb the global pandemic. As auxiliaries to their government in the humanitarian field, National Societies are key players in the climate crisis. Our staff and volunteers are on the front lines in communities across the world before, during and after disasters hit. They also provide advice to their authorities in strengthening disaster risk governance through well drafted disaster-related laws which enable effective preparedness, response and coordination. They are supporting people affected to build their resilience for future shocks and supporting authorities to strengthen their preparedness and prevention measures.
We are also reducing the environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions from our programmes and operations and calling on others to do the same. The Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizationshas rallied to date more than 150 National Societies, small NGOs and large international organizations ready to work together to turn their commitments into tangible action.
The survival of humanity depends on the actions we take today to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts. It is not too late to act, and world leaders gathering at COP26 must rise to the challenge.
These are the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s five asks to world leaders:
Ensure a focus on the most vulnerable. We must prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable people, including marginalized groups, people in crises and those displaced. We must understand their risks, vulnerabilities, and capacities to be more resilient, and ensure they are informed and included in global, national and local decisions and plans. Inclusive decision making at every level is essential.
Increase finance for adaptation that targets the most vulnerable countries and communities. Vital mitigation efforts need to be accompanied by strong support to climate adaptation, which remains underfunded and underprioritized.
Invest in preparedness, enable more preventive and early action. We are already confronting losses and damages in a more volatile climate. And yet, responding reactively won’t be enough in a crisis of this magnitude. We must invest in preparedness across sectors, and in risk analysis to better anticipate potential climate disasters for early action.
Turn global commitments into local action. Global and national climate action plans often fail to empower those at risk to take effective local action. It is essential to support local institutions and organizations such as National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies through investment in institutional capacities, and in access to adaptation finance and decision-making processes.
Protect the environment, including through adherence to international humanitarian law (IHL). Environmental degradation exacerbates vulnerabilities. IHL protects the natural environment and limits environmental degradation. Respect for IHL prevents the deeply interlinked civilian harm that accompanies environmental damage in armed conflict.
The climate crisis is here, today; it will only worsen in the future. The world must take steps now to mitigate its severity and its effects on the world’s most vulnerable. COP26 is an opportunity to reduce the damage. It’s an opportunity we all must seize together.
Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Tommaso Della Longa, IFRC, +41 79 708 43 67, [email protected]
Aurélie Lachant, ICRC, +41 79 244 6405, [email protected]
Red Cross Red Crescent: We need new extraordinary steps to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and we need them now
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is calling on states and pharmaceutical companies to move much faster toward a solution to the glaring inequity in access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world. We need to agree now on ways to increase COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution.
The extraordinary times of a global pandemic demand extraordinary measures from the international community. We encourage States to consider all possible measures to boost production, distribution and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines both between countries and within countries, to leave no one behind.
This includes accelerating, under the World Trade Organization (WTO) umbrella, negotiations related to intellectual property and other barriers to a rapid scaling up of vaccine production all over the world. In addition, pharmaceutical companies must reach further to share the necessary technology and knowledge – and we call on states to provide them with the necessary incentives and support to do so.
"In the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years, the intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines is a necessary political commitment to address inequities in access at the scale and speed we need. Millions of lives depend on it and on the equally important transfer of technology and knowledge to increase manufacturing capacity worldwide"
President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
We cannot afford to become bogged down in negotiations over the next 6 months. We also call for governments to accelerate the sharing of existing vaccine stocks to ensure a more equitable distribution, particularly in countries that are currently experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases.
As of this month, the poorest 50 countries in the world account for 2% of the doses administered globally. And the richest 50 countries are being vaccinated at a rate that is 27 times higher than the rate of the 50 poorest countries. Africa accounts for 14% of the global population yet accounts for only 1% of administered doses*.
This is not only morally wrong — it increases the risks of more contagious and deadly variants everywhere and puts unnecessary strains on the global economy.
"Every option should be explored to overcome bottlenecks to equitable access. This includes a better distribution of existing vaccine doses globally, the transfer of technology and the ramping up of manufacturing capacity. There´s no silver bullet to equitable access. All possible means need to be considered"
President of the International Commmittee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Broader access to vaccines also requires community-level delivery and social mobilisation and connection to support community understanding and acceptance. This is important in every country of the world, as the challenges of this pandemic are felt worldwide, but it is even more important for populations who are always at the end of the line.
People in low-income settings, in contexts affected by armed conflict and in areas outside of State control, refugees, migrants, detainees and other underserved populations should be included in national vaccination plans and not be forgotten.
The International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement will continue in 192 countries to support governments' efforts to control the spread of the virus and deliver vaccinations. Our role is to reach the populations in the "last mile", and to continuously empower communities as the driving force for the humanitarian response to COVID-19.
For more information, please contact:
Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67, [email protected]
Teresa Goncalves, +44 7891 857 056, [email protected]
Ewan Watson, +41 79 244 64 70, [email protected]
*The analysis of where vaccines have been administered; the relative reach of testing; and which countries carry out full, partial or no contact tracing is based on Oxford University's 'Our World in Data' (latest available data used) and the INFORM Severity Index – an inter-agency tool that measures the severity of humanitarian crises and disasters globally. For a full list of countries listed against crisis severity, visit INFORM Severity Index. All datasets have some gaps.
| Press release
Pledges are not enough - the world must not fail the people of Syria
Joint statement from the Presidents of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) ahead of the Brussels V Conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”
Geneva, 29 March 2021 - As we mark the tragic milestone of a decade of conflict in Syria, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement calls upon the international community to translate words in action and ensure critical funding for one of the most brutal and far-reaching crises of our time.
Now, more than ever, Syrians need our solidarity and support. Ten years after the start of the crisis, the people of Syria are faced with a multitude of challenges: continuous hostilities, economic breakdown and the COVID-19 pandemic which has only exacerbated the immense humanitarian needs in the country. At present at least 13 million people need urgent assistance and are more dependent on aid than ever before.
The needs in Syria are enormous and humanitarian services remain a lifeline. Despite the security challenges and political blockages, we must continue to find ways to repair critical infrastructure and make sure people have access to basic services such as clean water, electricity and functioning health services.
“Our infrastructure is ruined. Our people are unable to cover their most basic needs because of serious shortages of food, water, fuel, and medicines,” said Khaled Hboubati, President of SARC, whose teams of staff and volunteers are working on the frontlines of the crisis, delivering more than 60 per cent of humanitarian assistance. “For a decade now, people in Syria have been living in agony. The world cannot abandon them,” added Mr Hboubati.
The Red Cross Red Crescent 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 currently assist around 4.5 million 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 respect and ensure international humanitarian law in their operations.
Support is also desperately needed to help Syrians living outside of their homeland. Out of the 16.7 million people affected by the Syrian crisis, more than a third are currently hosted in neighbouring countries where National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are helping support millions of people, including through large-scale cash assistance in places like Turkey. In parallel, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across Europe and elsewhere 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.
“Over the past decade, there has been tremendous generosity and solidarity in the form of aid funding for Syria and neighbouring countries,” said IFRC President Francesco Rocca. “Unfortunately, today we see that donations are declining, whereas the humanitarian crisis worsens every day. Funding is needed more than ever to ensure Syrians can cover their basic needs and maintain a life in dignity.”
Yet aid and funding alone will not resolve the crisis.
“Humanitarians are here to help but the ultimate responsibility lies with parties to the conflict,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer, recently returned from a visit to Syria. “Collective and convergent leadership across the political divide is urgently needed. Otherwise, there will be Brussels conferences 6, 7 and more. Ongoing financial support and anegotiated political solution will create the conditions for a brighter future for the Syrian people. Syrians cannot afford to endure another year in these desperate conditions, let alone another decade.”