South Asia Region Appeal No. 01.58/2003
|1. Health and Care||
|2. Disaster Management||
|3. Humanitarian Values||
|4. Organizational Development||
|5. Federation Coordination||
|6. International Representation||
2 These are preliminary budget figures for 2004, and are subject to revision.
The events of 11 September 2001 destabilized the South Asia region. Afghanistan is struggling to find semblance of peace while border tensions between Pakistan and India cause concerns for the region's future. The conflict and political situation in Nepal is alarming and adds another dimension of insecurity in a region having porous borders which allows growing terrorism, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and population movements. These borders pay no regard to natural disasters which can decimate hard gained economic improvements.
The mission of the International Federation's South Asia regional delegation (SARD) is 'to work as a coordinated Federation team with all members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and external stakeholders to facilitate better use of regional resources, mutual learning and support between national societies and other partners in delivering self-sufficient relevant programmes in disaster preparedness and response, health and care in the community, and the promotion of humanitarian values'.
The SARD was established in New Delhi at the beginning of 1998. It covers six South Asian countries with established Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Two other countries, Bhutan and Maldives, do not have a national society at present.
The overall goal of the Federation's 2003-2004 appeal3 is to help the region's national societies build the capacity to support the country's most vulnerable through better service delivery and advocacy in four core areas and the three strategic directions of the Federation's Strategy 2010:
- well-functioning national societies;
- responsive and focused programming; and
- effective team work.
South Asia is one of the poorest regions in the world and most of its nearly 1.4 billion people, representing a quarter of the world's population, do not share Asia's considerable human, economic and organizational resources.
In total, the region has over 40 per cent of the developing world's poor and close to half of the world's malnourished. The total of the population expected not to survive to age 40 years ranges from 26 per cent to over 40 per cent.
The economies in South Asia began participating in the globalization process, pursuing market-oriented policies and reducing barriers to trade and investment. But despite rising shares of trade and capital flows in the national income, South Asia remains among the least integrated regions in the world. Exports are seven times lower on a per capita basis than in East Asia, and barely account for one per cent of the world's total.
There is a world-wide movement of forming regional trading blocs, yet inter-regional trade within South Asia is low compared to other regional groups. This is despite the fact that cooperation mechanisms such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) are in place.
Economic growth and human development needs to consolidate in order to improve the lives of the vulnerable. Globalization is not accompanied by a reduction of poverty or improvement in human development. During the globalization phase about one-half billion people in South Asia experienced a decline in their incomes. The benefits of economic growth that took place were limited to a small urban population of educated minorities. In South Asia, income inequality has increased. It is argued that at the initial stage of opening up the economies to a competitive global market, income inequalities will rise, but eventually everyone will gain. With continuing reforms, productivity and efficiency will rise and the country's shares in global trade, finance and services will increase. So far, however, the record shows it is the poor who bear the burden, and they are the ones not having any means to support themselves through bad times.4
South Asian women are discriminated against more than women in most parts of the world. According to a gender disparities' profile for the region5 the level of female literacy rates, the overall school enrollment ratio and real GDP per capita is considerably lower compared to the levels for men. The weighted average female share of earned income is 33 per cent less than of males, and the weighted average amount of females represented in parliament is 7.3 per cent, both figures being below the average for developing countries. Generally, women have lower access to health care (preventive and curative) and limited attention is given to reproductive health care. Except for Sri Lanka, female foeticide and infanticide is widely prevalent.
The UNDP's Human Development Report 2002 indicates the progress which each country has made towards the millennium developmental goals. The table below shows the South Asian countries' progress in relation to each of these goals: (1, 2, 3, 4 and 7):
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
|Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education.||Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women.||
Reduce child mortality.
|Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability.|
|Target: to halve the proportion of people suffering from hunger||Target: to ensure that all children can complete primary education||Target: to eliminate gender disparity in all levels of education||Target: to reduce under five and infant mortality rates by two-thirds.||Target: to halve the proportion of people without access to improved water sources.|
|Undernourished people (as % of total population||Net primary enrolment ratio %||Children reaching grade 5||Female gross primary enrolment ratio as % of male ratio||Female gross secondary enrolment ration as % of male ratio||Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)||Population using improved water sources %|
|Far behind||Far behind||On track||Far behind||Slipping back||Far behind||Far behind|
|Far behind||On track||On track||On track||Far behind||On track||Achieved|
|Far behind||On track||Far behind||On track||Far behind||Lagging||On track|
|Far behind||On track||On track||On track||On track||On track||On track|
|On track||Slipping back||On track||On track||On track||Far behind||On track|
|Far behind||Far behind||Achieved||Far behind||Achieved||Far behind||Achieved|
The health sector is unable to meet the needs on its own and the role of the Red Cross/Red Crescent in this area is vital. Urbanization, re-emergence of tuberculosis and malaria, and the emergence of infections like hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, with the related issue of safe blood, represent serious challenges. There is an urgent need to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region through collaborative efforts. The national societies in South Asia established a regional working mechanism -the South Asia Red Cross and Red Crescent Network on HIV/AIDS (SARHNA) - terms of reference and a plan of action to confront the disease.
In addition, there are several areas of unrest and natural or man made disasters causing a drain on the economy at all levels and often resulting in large population movements. A total of 25 per cent of the world's population affected by disasters are in fact to be found in this region. Between 1992-2001, the annual average of those killed or affected by disaster in South Asia was over 57 million.6 The region is prone to cyclones, tropical storms, tidal surges, earthquakes, monsoon floodings and landslides as well as droughts and population movements.
The task of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in assisting the vulnerable populations remains a challenge every year. This is addressed by the national societies in different ways, and it is described by the Kabul Pledge (see below) and in the separate country appeals.
The main goal of the Secretariat is to act as a coordinating and facilitating body. The Federation has worked in the region for over 30 years and with different levels of representation, depending on national society needs and capacities.
The Federation provided technical and financial support to the national societies in their operations to assist the most vulnerable. This has included:
- Assistance during several major natural disasters such as drought, flooding and earthquake operations for which the Federation launched international appeals.
- The development of regional advocacy and communication strategies in support of global policies and initiatives.
- Support to strengthen and develop organizational capacities of the national societies.
- Programme support in the Federation's core areas of disaster preparedness and response, health and care in the community and the promotion of humanitarian values and the fundamental principles of the Movement.
- Coordination of the optimal use of regional human resources.
- Expansion of different forms of cooperation including the recent version of regional and country level cooperation agreement strategies.
In addition to coordination and capacity building of its member national societies in assisting vulnerable people, the Secretariat's role is to represent its global membership on the international stage. The Federation was successful in mobilizing international assistance, both from partner Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and from international donors and developed significant representational capacity at the country level.
During 2003, the International Federation intends to establish a regional service centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to provide day-to-day support for Asia Pacific national societies and delegations/offices in the critical functions of finance and reporting, extending to human resources, logistics and telecommunications as relevant factors, including resourcing, allow. Click below for more details on this important Red Cross Red Crescent initiative in the Asia Pacific region.
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