Argentina + 9 more

South America Region Appeal No. 01.51/2003

Originally published


(In CHF)
(In CHF)
1. Health and Care
2. Disaster Management
3. Humanitarian Values
4. Organizational Development
5. Federation Coordination
6. International Representation
1 USD 2.760,756 or EUR 2,733,534.
2 These are preliminary budget figures for 2004, and are subject to revision.


The Secretariat of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has been present in South America through its regional delegation in Buenos Aires since 1994. The delegation has worked to modernize and strengthen the ten National Societies of the region, promoted community development activities with vulnerable groups in transborder programmes in the Amazon Basin, the Andean Zone and in the River Plate basin and strengthened disaster preparedness and disaster response capacities of National Societies. In addition, the delegation has promoted and initiated integrated community health projects, together with a response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, mainly through youth peer education projects.

The Federation has also promoted regional networking and cooperation mainly through the Inter American Regional Committee (CORI) and thematic networks. Programming has been based upon the Federation's Strategy 2010, and the Santo Domingo Declaration, adopted at the last Inter American Conference held in the Dominican Republic in 1999. In 2002, the Strategy for the Movement also became an important basis for Movement coordination to meet the humanitarian challenges of the region. The focus on maximizing resources and streamlining capacity building efforts will be taken further during the years 2003-2004 through a number of cooperation agreement strategies (CAS) and the harmonization process with the ICRC.

South America, and especially the Southern Cone, is a region which benefits from relatively little donor interest in relation to the considerable needs of large vulnerable populations. There are a number of humanitarian problems to be addressed such as growing poverty, social tensions, violence, deteriorating health conditions and constant natural disasters. There is a pressing need for strong Red Cross Societies, contributing to the reinforcement of civil society within South American countries.

Regional Context

South America's National Societies worked in an environment of growing poverty in the last year and there is no evidence that poverty is being reduced. The main problems are based on the degree of inequality in income distribution and recent increasing negative trends. As a result, although many countries succeeded in expanding their economies and raising their levels of social spending considerably during the 1990s, Latin America has not managed to alter its typically high degree of income concentration to any substantial extent.

According to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), expectations for the coming two years for South America are the increase of negative growth rates in Paraguay, Venezuela, Uruguay and Argentina, and a lower expected growth in the remainder of the countries. South American countries are experiencing a situation of crisis, most of them renegotiating debts with the private sector and there was cessation of external debts payments in many countries.

2002 was characterized by increased political, social and economic tensions throughout all of South America. Peace talks in Colombia broke down, setting off widespread violence. Venezuela also found itself in a state of deep political crisis, with a state of emergency declared on 11 April and a failed attempt to overthrow President Chavez. Throughout the year, Venezuela experienced general strikes and a significant increase in political violence. The political, social and economic situation in Argentina has deteriorated dramatically over recent years. Health and education services have been eroded, increasing the number of people living below the poverty line. The health sector is now unable to address the increasing demand due to a lack of infrastructure, finances and human resources.

The 2002 UNDP human development index shows significant vulnerability in the countries of the region, as regards of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income, it locates Colombia 68, Venezuela 69, Brazil 73, Peru 83, Paraguay 90, Ecuador 93, Bolivia 114 in the ranking. Nevertheless, as these countries are in the category of "medium human development" and Argentina of "high human development"; relatively little international aid is received for development programmes or in times of disaster.

The region also suffered several significant natural disasters in 2002. Floods in Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Chile had a devastating economic impact on the most vulnerable areas of these countries. Earthquakes were felt in Argentina, northern Chile and southern Peru, while extreme cold and snow caused widespread damage in Bolivia and Peru. Climate changes are considerably worrying, and experts are underlining the expected consequences of "El Niño" phenomenon for next year.

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