In the Americas, traditional cooperation funds appear to be diminishing under the rationale that the continent has positive economic indicators. However, as the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report 2010 clearly demonstrates, inequality particularly in health, education and income reduces the positive performance in Latin America and the Caribbean by one-fourth with Haiti, Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, and Panama showing the most substantial inequalities. In fact, the Americas region is the most unequal in the world, exacerbating vulnerability in particular amongst women, indigenous populations and those of African descent.
Humanitarian needs in the Americas are constantly growing as populations are confronting increased vulnerability and associated risks due to the impacts of disasters and epidemic outbreaks compounded by escalating levels of violence, migration, emerging diseases, climate change and unplanned urbanization.
Given this context the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) is committed to supporting the National Societies to do more, do better and reach further in order to address the humanitarian challenges faced by the Red Cross Societies in the Americas. Tens of thousands of Red Cross volunteers and staff in more than 3,000 local offices in 35 National Societies in the continent serve millions of people living in conditions of high vulnerability and risk. The IFRC will make all possible efforts to reinforce the National Societies to improve the vulnerable conditions of people living at risk, increasing community resilience through active community mobilization.
The support provided by the Americas Zone focuses on mainstreaming compliance with the Inter- American Plan and working towards full alignment with the IFRC's Strategy 2020. Although based on the original planning for 2010-2011, the structure of this Plan reflects the strong movement in the direction of Strategy 2020.
As of 2011, the Americas Zone is placing particular attention in four key strategic areas that will be complemented by distinct functions to work more effectively to address the main humanitarian and developmental issues affecting the most vulnerable in rural and urban settings.