The countries that make up the Southern Cone (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) have diverse challenges, as well as common issues that require collaboration. The Country Cluster Support Team (CCST) assists each National Society (NS) through technical support, shared advocacy efforts, guidance to ensure compliance with Movement standards, and a focus on financial accountability.
Argentina is a country with significant socio-political risks and high poverty levels. However, the Argentina Red Cross (ARC) is a well-functioning NS with a solid membership base. ARC has a well-structured and coordinated 4-year strategy focused on disaster preparedness, community health and First Aid, health education, and social support programs. ARC is a key player in local and national governments and an aid to public authorities in disaster response. In 2019, Argentina RC will host the XXI Inter American Conference.
Brazil remains in a complex socio-political crisis. The 4-year strategy of the Brazilian Red Cross (BRC) focuses on health services, social support programs, and preventive health. The BRC has been monitored by the IFRC Compliance and Mediation Committee (CMC) since 2014 to ensure robust internal control mechanisms, financial sustainability, and unity between branches and headquarters.
As Chile sits atop one of the largest active faults in the world, it is extremely vulnerable to earthquakes. Efforts must be made to develop the capacity of the Chilean Red Cross (CRC) to respond to major disasters. The focus of the CRC is on preventive health and seasonal shelter. The CMC has emphasized internal controls, statutory reform, accountability, and a resource mobilization strategy for financial sustainability.
Paraguay, the poorest country in the Southern Cone, has experienced severe challenges due to corruption and politicized appointments. However, after a successful election, Paraguay can expect significant economic growth. The Paraguayan Red Cross (PRC) has been monitored by the CMC since 2014, which recommended a complete renewal of leadership. The lack of internal controls has led the PRC into serious fraud and corruption, leading to a limited operational capacity. They are focused on health, social programs, disaster preparedness and response.
The Uruguayan Red Cross (URC) is undergoing major improvements, such as its revised strategy. In 2019, the URC will focus on developing internal control mechanisms and refurbishing their national headquarters. Commercial First Aid, road safety, disaster preparedness planning (DPP), and disaster risk reduction (DRR) are key priorities for 2019. Financial viability and projected programming capacity are challenges going forward.