The People's Republic of China, with a population of 1.3 billion people, is by far the most populous country in the world, and has both one of the most dynamic and fastest growing economies, while at the same time very marked disparities in income distribution, health status and other vulnerability indicators. While many view China's hosting of the 2008 Olympics as a sign of its emergence onto the international scene, the people of China still continue to face many economic, environmental and health challenges that threaten their wellbeing.
Extreme poverty remains an ever-present reality in some parts of the country, regardless of the country's rapid economic progress.
One of the main causes of this continuing significant level of poverty is the effect of largescale, natural disasters, such as the annual occurrence of severe widespread flooding and frequent earthquakes in many parts of the country. At the same time, many of China's people find themselves unable to afford medical care as the country faces a growing threat from the spread of infectious disease, such as HIV/AIDS and avian influenza.
The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) plays an important role as an auxiliary to the government at all levels in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations. With 33 provincial/regional levels and over 3,000 county level branches throughout the nation, the RCSC has a mandate to respond to disasters with relief items and recovery plans, and continues to serve its communities with health education and first aid training nationwide.
In 2009-2010, the RCSC will continue to strengthen its capacity to respond to disasters, reduce risks caused by the spread of disease, and increase the number of people who are trained in first aid skills throughout the country. Recognizing the strength of the RCSC's volunteer base, the national society will continue to focus on volunteer management and strengthening its organisational capacities at the grassroots level. The RCSC partners with key government agencies, grassroots organizations, communities and the private sector to carry out its plans each year. Partnerships will continue to expand, especially related to the earthquake relief efforts as well as the HIV alliance strategy.
The International Federation's support will focus on several key areas in this two-year plan - disaster management, health and care, and organizational development - all supporting the principles and values of the Red Cross. The plan is based on experience built up through a strong collaboration between the International Federation and the RCSC over the past years. It also takes into account the programmes that are being implemented bilaterally by RCSC's partners in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, with whom the International Federation's regional office cooperates closely.
Beneficiaries of these programmes are wide ranging and include those most vulnerable and in need of support, such as people living with HIV and communities at high risk of being affected by disasters. These programmes will contribute to all four of the Global Agenda goals and will move China closer to meeting Millennium Development Goals over the next two years.
The total 2009 budget is CHF 3,802,362 (USD 3,475,651 or EUR 2,421,887) and for 2010 is CHF 6,810,705 (USD 6,225,507 or EUR 4,338,029).