In the context of Asia Pacific Zone, its demographic, socio-economic and environmental trends, and the International Federation's strategic priorities, South Asia remains one of the most disadvantaged regions in the world and is vulnerable to health and disaster-related risks due to poor socio-economic conditions. The region has some of the highest levels of poverty, being home to about half of the world's poor (1). Although the region has seen some economic and social progress over the last decade, human development indices like life expectancy, children's education, adult literacy and per capita gross domestic product, of most South Asian countries remain below the rates of medium human development countries in the Human Development Index (2). The financial crisis has also hit the region hard with rising cost of living and food insecurity across the region. In addition, the region is prone to natural hazards and many countries in the region are hit by internal conflicts, political instability and militancy.
There are seven national societies in South Asia (in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). An International Federation country office supports each of these national societies. It is in this context that the Red Cross Red Crescent national societies in the region, as auxiliaries to the governments in their respective countries, provide needs-based services to the most vulnerable communities, in close collaboration with their governments, other Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners and external partners such as UN agencies, international non-governmental organizations and civil society.
The goals, means of delivery and strategic framework of this South Asia regional plan fit within the International Federation's wider Asia Pacific strategy, guided by the International Federation's newly adopted Strategy 2020. The priorities in the coming two years are to:
- Build safer and more resilient communities
through services to member national societies that increase
the reach and impact of their programmes;
- Strengthen Red Cross Red Crescent mechanisms and networks that build mutual capacity, improve
knowledge sharing, and increase leverage of collective voice;
- Influence changes in humanitarian policies and practices through improved access to and cooperation
with governments and key institutions;
- Diversify financial and human resources for the benefit of programmes at the national level through a
collective Red Cross Red Crescent approach;
- Lead and coordinate zonal, regional and country planning, performance and accountability mechanisms
to increase Red Cross Red Crescent effectiveness.
The overall goal of this regional plan is to coordinate and support International Federation efforts at country and regional level to assist South Asian national societies to scale up their work to improve the lives of vulnerable people. To achieve this goal, four regional programmes will be carried out during the 2010-2011 period: disaster management (DM), health and care, organizational development (OD)/capacity building (CB) and principles and values (P&V), each with a purpose aligned with the four Global Agenda goals.
- The South Asia regional office has
existed since 1997, and its role will continue to evolve as a part of the
secretariat zonal structure and the Asia Pacific operating model; a model that was designed to create a more
unified and efficient approach to the International Federation support to national societies across the whole of
Asia Pacific and work as a zone-wide team. In specific terms, the South Asia regional office directions in
2010-2011 will be as follows: Strategic guidance, management and monitoring of programme performance at
- Provision of technical support to programmes as required, in particular those with no in-country technical
- Ensure regional coordination, networking, mutual learning, optimising the utilization of regional resources and
- Ensure that global initiatives are disseminated, understood and prioritized within the region, and that the
required support is given to roll out such initiatives;
- Mobilization of international assistance for the International Federation's programmes in the region in close
collaboration with the zonal resource mobilization team;
- Ensuring strengthened Movement approaches with all components of the Movement (e.g. in the harmonized
Movement support plan process with Afghanistan Red Crescent, the promotion of the cooperation agreement
strategy (CAS) and operational alliances in selected countries, and hosting partner national societies regional
teams within the International Federation delegation structure at the South Asia regional office);
- Support the humanitarian diplomacy (HD) agenda and the strengthening of the national society capacity to
use their auxiliary role for the benefit of vulnerable people and with full respect for the Fundamental Principles.
The total programme budget for 2010 is CHF 2,396,690 (USD 2.32 million or EUR 1.57 million) and CHF 2,163,936 (USD 2.09 million or EUR 1.42 million) for 2011.
(1): World Bank: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/SOUTHASIAEXT/0,,pagePK:158889~piPK:146815~theSitePK:223547,00.html
(2): UNDP: http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/