IFRC and UN system to enhance cooperation on community resilience
17 Mar 2015
At the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) President Tadateru Konoé and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met to take stock of the collaborative work between their respective organisations in support of vulnerable people, and in building safer, healthier and more resilient communities.
During the meeting, the Secretary-General underlined the crucial role National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies play in addressing humanitarian challenges. Among other examples, Mr Ban highlighted the tireless efforts of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society, under Red Cross Red Crescent Fundamental Principles, to gain unimpeded access to all Syrians affected by the crisis and to provide humanitarian services to the population based on greatest needs.
He emphasized the importance of the principles of humanity, neutralitfy, impartiality and independence. “Derived from the Red Cross Red Crescent, these principles provide today the foundation for our overall humanitarian action across the UN system and for other humanitarian organizations,” said the Secretary-General. “Promoting and ensuring compliance with these principles is an essential element for effective humanitarian coordination.”
In this regard, Mr Ban encouraged President Konoé to champion the United Nations' vision, enshrined in its own fundamental principles, advancing towards the World Humanitarian Summit.
In a context marked by increasing fatigue of the international community on one hand and shrinking capacity to cope with growing humanitarian needs on the other hand, the Secretary-General highlighted the importance this year of shaping a global and coherent policy agenda to address humanitarian and development challenges. These decisive steps include achieving solid and decisive results during the ongoing World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the International Conference on Climate Change, all of which will inform the decisions and commitments at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.
President Konoé underscored the importance of the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in December 2015 as another key milestone. Through the Conference, states parties to the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian organisations undertake joint commitments with the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to advance humanitarian action and joint priorities.
Mr Konoé emphasised the far-reaching capacity and wide contribution of the 17 million community-based volunteers serving through a network of 189 National Societies. “The Red Cross and the Red Crescent is acting before, during and after disasters strike. We are reaching, but also accompanying, tens of millions of people every year through disaster preparedness, risk reduction and development programmes.”
This humanitarian work underpins the IFRC’s call to action in Sendai, asking participants to form and be part of the “One Billion Coalition for Resilience”, an initiative aiming at scaling up community and civic action. President Konoé invited Secretary-General Ban to engage the UN system, at various levels, to strengthen partnerships with the Red Cross Red Crescent for community resilience at local, national and global levels.
The Secretary-General congratulated the IFRC for its leadership in developing disaster law models, and recommended further collaboration with the United Nations in providing guidance on how to develop legal measures in accordance with the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
The meeting between the two leaders took place whilst several islands in the Pacific were struck by violent cyclones. Mr Ban expressed his concern for the people affected and reiterated his confidence in the life-saving role of the IFRC in responding to this disaster. Hoping that previous work in community preparedness and disaster risk reduction would lessen the consequences of the cyclones, he thanked President Konoé for the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s continued commitment to build healthier, safer and more resilient communities.