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Europe Zone, 2011 Annual Report MAA65001

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This report covers the period from 01/01/2011 to 31/12/2011.

Programme summary

The year of 2011 in the Europe Zone was marked by the ongoing economic crisis and financial instability that has, on the one hand, increased pressure on the humanitarian situation by an increasing vulnerability of the affected populations, and has, on the other hand, led to decreasing funding by the traditional donors. The economic and financial situation is still unclear following the reporting period, and the same issues will continue into the year of 2012 as well. Pressing issues such as demographic changes, the ageing population, climate change and disasters were adding to the difficulties of funding. Special emphasis was put on strengthening domestic fundraising and resource mobilisation capacities of the National Societies through trainings and better communication. A new Federation-wide planning and fundraising tool, the Long Term Planning Framework (LTPF) was introduced in the autumn of 2011, and the first LTPFs have been adopted for the period 2012-2015 both at the Zone level and at the level of the Regional and Country Representations. Regarding the concrete programmes and projects that are to be implemented under the Long Term Planning Framework, specific Operational Plans / Project Proposals have been compiled and are being updated so as to inform our partners and the potential donors about the planned activities.

The Europe Zone Office concentrated its efforts on the implementation of the IFRC Strategy 2020 (S2020) by working together with the National Societies for adapting their respective S2020 conform strategies, and by building on the new initiatives such as the Federation-Wide Databank and Reporting System, the Organizational Capacity Assessment and Certification process and “Bridging the Digital Divide” initiative. Those initiatives aim at enabling the National Societies for building up their own development plans based on self-assessment and internal motivation, while the Europe Zone Office was working hard to explore new possibilities and new tools in order to ensure ownership and a successful progress forward. We believe this a key step towards increasing the level of services to the vulnerable both in terms of quality and quantity, which is contributing to the fulfilment of the aim of doing more, doing better, and reaching further. In 2011 the Europe Zone Disaster Management (DM) Team focused on the elaboration of the Disaster Management trends report for the whole Europe Zone in view of its similarities and diversities. In the area of Disaster Management, the Europe Zone Office worked in line with the International Federation`s goals to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and the impact of disasters through the timely and adequate support in disaster response and community preparedness / disaster risk reduction activities.

The Europe Zone Disaster Management delegate supported the National Societies in Central Asia to explore and analyze the capacity in the Federation’s Disaster Management structure within the region. Two Regional Disaster Response Team trainings were organised in Central Asia. An RDRT simulation exercise was held in Ingolstadt, Germany, organised jointly with the German RC and other members from Central Europe.

In 2011, the use of the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) was significantly lower in the Europe and Central Asia region than in 2010. During the year, National Societies from Europe Zone requested support from the DREF eight times. Four of those operations took place in Russia where the Russian Red Cross was responding to floods. Destructive floods also struck Kazakhstan, Georgia and Tajikistan. The civil unrest in North Africa affected Europe as well. Malta Red Cross requested support from the DREF to step up a contingency plan for the people fleeing from the civil unrest in Libya.

The October 2011 earthquake in Eastern Turkey was the largest disaster relief operation in the Zone when an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale struck Van Province on 23 October 2011 with numerous heavy aftershocks to follow. A preliminary emergency appeal and a revised emergency appeal were launched to complement the efforts by the Turkish National Society.

During the reporting period, the main role of the Europe Zone Office regarding the Health and Care Programme was to support the National Societies in the implementation of high quality services for different vulnerable groups, mainly in HIV and TB programming, build capacities for volunteers and staff in the drug related harm reduction program and first aid programming, and also act as a knowledge management hub and centre of information for ageing programs including PSS, home visiting services, first aid and health promotion for older people in line with the recommendations by the IFRC European Conference in Vienna.

Drug related Harm Reduction (HR) activities were supported in three National Societies. Tuberculosis (TB) related activities were scaled up through the Eli Lilly Foundation’s global partnership in four National Societies. A global launch of the IFRC TB advocacy report was supported with participation of National Societies from Russia, Georgia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and ERNA Secretariat. Technical assistance was rendered and networking opportunities were provided by the Europe Zone Office through the annual meeting of the Health Managers` Forum where 20 National Societies were represented. In the field of home care, the EZ collected case studies from 20 National Societies that included stories from volunteers and beneficiaries involved in the programme. In this regard, a South-East-European conference on home care took place in June 2011 in Montenegro attended by 50 representatives of Red Cross Societies, Governments, and NGOs from 12 countries.

Tailored Organisational Development support was provided in 2011 to three National Societies based on previous plans, and additionally to seven National Societies, within the comprehensive framework of “Building Strong National Societies”. The so called C-BAR exercise for performance evaluation was completed in three National Societies in the Europe Zone; the peer validation process involved trained peer researchers from six National Societies. Based on earlier ideas and extensive consultations, the Organisational Capacity Assessment Certification as a new capacity building framework was introduced and the kick-off meeting was organised with the participation of four National Societies from the Zone. The Europe Zone Office, in cooperation with the PDD Department in Geneva, supported six OCAC exercises, namely in Georgia, Lithuania, Turkmenistan, Ireland, Italy, and Macedonia. Those National Societies were supported in the preparatory process, as well as during the follow-up when OCAC action plans were developed for most of the mentioned National Societies. Representatives from three National Societies were involved in the OCAC Training of Trainers in Geneva so as to broaden the group of facilitators for self-assessment exercises in 2012.

Substantial attention was given by the Europe Zone Office to replace the system of “Working Advance” in its cooperation relations with the National Societies by the system of the so called “Cash Transfer”. It provides for shifting more responsibilities and flexibility in managing operational and programme financial resources to the host national societies. The process was finalised in relation to ten National Societies, whereby six already signed the pertaining financial agreements.

The Europe Zone has contributed to the roll-out of Strategy 2020 and to the implementation of global initiatives to build strong National Societies, and concentrated on discussing, explaining and further disseminating added values of the global initiatives. During the reporting period, two S2020 facilitators were deployed in Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Armenia so as to assist the National Societies in their strategic planning process.

In the area of Principles and Values, the joint IFRC/IOM project for strengthening national mechanisms for the reintegration and rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking (supported by the European Commission) was signed and is being rolled out in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.

Representatives of the Europe Zone Office have started the process in Central Asia to promote Humanitarian Diplomacy and to create capacities for more professional Resource Mobilization through in-country fundraising and strategic partnership development. The Code of Good Partnership and the Movement Cooperation Agreement have been discussed and disseminated further during leadership and partnership meetings.

The year 2011 saw a consolidation in terms of Communications activities towards a better profiling of National Society and Federation work across the Zone, with special focus on highlighting the progress towards Strategy 2020 goals. The Zone Communications Unit actively followed the global communications agenda to highlight major themes, including the Millennium Development Goals. A systematic communications effort has underpinned better quality programme delivery, and contributed to more efficient advocacy and resource mobilisation. National Societies’ action in times of emergency and in development programmes has been successfully publicized through various communications channels, including regular mailings and the social media. In the framework of the International Year of Volunteering, special attention was given to the promotion of youth action and volunteering development. A plan of action was developed in consultation with the European Coordination Committee (ECC) of the European Youth Network for strengthening of existing youth networks in the Europe Zone.