The South Asia regional delegation (SARD) has continued to promote the holistic and integrated programming approach to build stronger and sustainable programmes in South Asia in the midst of a complex and evolving environment. SARD has strengthened its technical advisory role and coordination support between technical teams in the country offices and National Societies. This is leading to a more coordinated approach to the Movement aims with significant progress made in strengthening the tools and mechanisms for disaster preparedness and community resilience in the region. In particular, the preparedness and resilience unit (PRU) advisors provided technical support to fine-tune and develop programme tools, procedures and resources of the South Asian National Societies that includes the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS), Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC), Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS).
The regional disaster management initiatives included quality enhancement in organisational disaster preparedness (ODP), such as refining training resources, manuals, developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and contingency plans on disaster response at regional level and finalising those developed by the National Society. Stronger emphasis was put on harmonizing sectoral response, particularly through holistic contingency planning and simulation exercises. During the reporting period, the programme advisors also continued to support the National Societies of the region to improve their community-based programming with organisational development (OD), planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting (PMER), beneficiary communications.
Finance development has been an integrated, holistic approach to OD, with more system setup and training rolled out for ARCS, BDRCS and MRC. Technical support in terms of trainings, up-grading and customization of financial software, and promotion of study visits have improved National Societies’ capacities to plan, to report, manage their financial resources, and track expenditure which facilitates better management.
The regional communication manager, rendered communication support to the South Asian National Societies, which in turn, had facilitated more coverage of media internationally and domestically. Furthermore, liaisons were established or reinvigorated with diplomatic and international community, donor agencies, UN agencies, non-government agencies and academic institutions, information was shared and collaboration undertaken as appropriate.
The detail of the achievements under the outcomes section below, in themselves only headlines gives a good indication of this.
Factors affecting operating context:
Most of the National Societies have encountered challenging environment in 2013 caused by the context in which they operate.
The uncertain political environment, including strikes, demonstration, election campaign and national election in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan resulted in delayed or cancelled of regional technical support and planned events. Some planned areas of supports have been rescheduled to 2014 due to some adjustment of priorities in the concerned National Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) offices and funding constraints to support country level activities such as implementation of few finance development and agreed beneficiary communication and accountability (BCA) plans.
The security concerns in Afghanistan, combined with travel restrictions since late May 2013 has delayed the planned activities in the field. Hence, in-country support, particularly to Afghanistan has been affected throughout 2013.
Severe weather conditions due to the monsoon rainfall caused floods/landslide resulted shifting of priorities to disaster response and relief in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The tropical cyclones in Bangladesh and India led to disaster calling for international support from IFRC, Partner National Societies (PNSs) and other institutional donors.