The five countries of the Southern Cone - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay - are highly exposed to a combination of factors such as floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts, health emergencies, densely populated urban areas, political instability and internal disturbances that exacerbate the vulnerabilities of large poor and marginalized populations. This situation, combined by high levels of inequity and lack of access to basic services, makes communities more vulnerable and sets a major humanitarian challenge, which is addressed by Red Cross National Societies in the region. While capacities are in place to respond to vulnerable people's needs, these must be strengthened in order for National Societies to fully contribute to the Federation's Global Agenda Goals and fulfil their humanitarian mission.
The Inter-American Plan 2007-2011 brings the Global Agenda and the Framework for Action to the continental level and focuses on creating "safer and healthier communities". The Americas Zone is concentrating on the development of a New Operating Model to support National Societies in a more efficient way to maximize existing Movement resources and achieve the Global Agenda Goals, while focusing on the provision of specific and relevant services to the member National Societies. The New Operating Model makes efficient use of existing resources of the Americas Zone Office, and the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) (both based in Panama) and the two centres of reference located in Central America.
During 2008, the Secretariat in South America developed plans for 2009-2010 to support the strengthening of National Societies' capacities in priority areas, taking into consideration the result of a survey carried out with the Societies in April and May of 2008 with an aim to define their priorities and where the secretariat could best support them. Some of the common priorities in the Southern Cone include: disaster risk reduction and vulnerability reduction, health in emergencies, strengthening leadership,building volunteer capacities, promoting youth, and violence prevention.
Programme areas have based their 2009-2010 support plans on the identified priorities to assist specific countries on key issues. Integrated and tailor-made support will be ensured to each National Society. By the end of this period, National Societies will have a stronger organisational structure and better prepared to respond to vulnerabilities at the community level in the strategic areas of Disaster Response and Disaster Risk Reduction, Health and Care, and Principles and Values in line with the four Global Agenda Goals.
In order to be closer to National Societies needs and provide more effective support, the Secretariat made the decision to set up a new Regional Representation for the Southern Cone countries based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This representation will assist the individual needs of the five National Societies in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. This decision is an important part of the implementation of the International Federation's New Operating Model which seeks to provide improved services to National Societies.
The total 2009/ 2010 budget is CHF 2,306,463 (EUR 1,469,085 or USD 2,108,284).