The regions of central Europe and southern Caucasus have experienced socio-economic turbulence, with sections of their populations suffering serious health threats that contribute to higher levels of vulnerability. Continuing economic, social and health sector reforms are characteristic of the ongoing state-led processes in most of the countries. These reforms have had an impact on the most vulnerable groups in society, whose access to health and care networks is diminishing following privatisation and cost-cutting measures. Many people have experienced a sharp fall in their living standards and chronic poverty. In addition some 1,100,000 refugees and internally displaced persons are located within the two regions.
The National Societies in these regions are tackling the effects on people through their programmes and new initiatives. Through this work, their capacity and experience to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable has been constantly growing. Such development can, in many aspects, be attributed to the many years of investment and joint development efforts put in by the National Societies themselves, and to the support of their partners from within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
In 2009-2010 the regional representation will support directly five National Societies through the programmes outlined in this plan. These are the Red Cross Societies of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR of Macedonia) and Romania. In addition, individual plans have been produced for Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina in central Europe, and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in south Caucasus. In addition to this country-level work, there will also be regional and cross-regional events and initiatives that will support the countries of central Europe and southern Caucasus. The regional representation will continue to offer this support directly through its teams of staff, and assist the National Societies in coordinating that coming from sister National Societies bilaterally in the coming two years.
Taking into consideration the regional context, the regional representation will ensure that its programmes and activities are focused on strengthening the capacities of the National Societies to better respond to the needs of the vulnerable people. All programmes of the regional representation and the National Societies are aligned with the Global Agenda Goals as well as with the Framework for Action's ten areas for improvements, Key Actions 2006-2010. The regional programmes are based on the National Societies needs, while building on the existing capacities and experience within the National Societies. The regional representation strives to strengthen the existing capacities of the National Societies in order to scale up quality of their programmes, outreach and impact on vulnerable people. This will be done by taking forward the Istanbul Commitments of the VII European Conference of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The total 2009-2010 budget is CHF 1,651,239 (USD 1,509,359 or EUR 1,051,744)