Programme purpose: National Societies in the Caribbean region are implementing efficient, responsive and focused programmes that contribute to improving the lives of vulnerable people. These programmes are aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".
In regards to the humanitarian challenges facing the Caribbean, the region was spared the heavy onslaught of the hurricane seasons seen in previous years. However, the region became more aware of its acute vulnerabilities through disasters such as flooding, the concern of the spread of A(H1N1) and the increasing vulnerability caused by the economic challenges in a year which saw many Caribbean countries sliding in the United Nations Human Development Index, facing concerns of increasing poverty and rising crime.
With these vulnerabilities, the need for strong National Red Cross Societies working in close collaboration to support each other was increasingly apparent. The Caribbean region includes 16 National Societies and Overseas Branches of the British, French and Netherlands Red Cross Societies. The National Societies of Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic are served by the Latin Caribbean Regional Representation, based in Santo Domingo with which there is close collaboration. With this high number of Red Cross entities, and the wide range of needs, the year continued to focus on looking for means to address many of the individual needs while continuing to harness the collective effort, vital for these smaller States.
This collective response for tackling the region's vulnerabilities materialized in the development and launch of a Caribbean Five-year Disaster Management Strategic Framework to provide a long term vision for the Red Cross to work together following this approach, while keeping National Societies' capacity building to reach the most vulnerable at the community level at the forefront of all efforts. The Framework was a true collaborative effort between the Caribbean's Disaster Management network, Partner National Societies (PNS) operating in the region and key donors, with the coordination of the Federation. The launch of the framework took place at a meeting in May and has shown its impact and potential in raising substantial funds for the region, which will see every National Society in the region supported with a Community Based Disaster Management (CBDM) programme in 2010. Attention was also given to further ensuring that this strategy is aligned with the Caribbean's Disaster Management Framework and increased work with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
With respect to Goal 2, 2009 marked a year of reflection and review of the Caribbean Health and Care programme. In the month of May, the Federation's Caribbean Regional Representation Office (CRRO) convened a Regional Health Consultation Meeting with the objective of reviewing the current health programming in the region and to prioritize areas for the 2010 Federation plans. This led to an agreed way forward to move away from large regional programmes, to programming that is more tailored to specific needs such as focussing on HIV and AIDS programming in the context of the Global Alliance on HIV, a greater emphasis on first aid programming, fostering greater linkages between the Health and the Disaster Management programmes and the continuation of the Health Network to guide health programming within the region.
The emergence of the pandemic Influenza A(H1N1) within the region highlighted the need for focus on preparedness and response to non-traditional disasters; the need to improve contingency planning and the need for easy access to pre-approved communication and information material. It also required that steps be taken to support the swift scaling-up of Caribbean National Societies' preparedness, mitigation and potential response operations for this kind of disaster.
Support to core issues of the National Societies in the region was paramount throughout the activities and programmes supported by the Federation, with increased attention to the specific needs of the individual National Societies, while promoting the advantages of regional coherence through internships, peer to peer support and the role of the technical networks. Specific attention to the National Societies' organizational development was provided by, among other things, supporting the development of first aid services as a means of developing their institutions, a focus on planning, supporting the revision of Statutes in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and support for increasing and developing the role of youth and volunteering.
Financial situation: The total budget for 2009 was revised from 2,597,104 Swiss francs (2,514,746 US dollars or 1,719,139 euro) to 2,954,665 Swiss francs (2,860,968 US dollars or 1,955,825 euro). The Appeal coverage at the end of year was 174 per cent and the implementation rate stands at 65 per cent. This was due to a number of Disaster Management funds coming in at the end of 2009, however implementation will take place in 2010.
There was low overall funding in the first half of the year, mainly as a result of the close of certain Disaster Management programmes, and funds for health activities were late in coming in. At the end of the year, a substantial amount of funding was achieved - most notably a grant from ECHO for regional coordination of the Disaster Management programmes, as well as Japanese Red Cross Society support for organizational development, and H2P funding for pandemic response. However, it should be noted that these funding streams are to finance activities scheduled for implementation in 2010.