The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) provides assistance to people affected by disasters through its network of National Societies that work in cooperation with public authorities. In the Pacific region, the IFRC strives to develop sustainable local capacities by investing in Pacific Red Cross National Societies, their staff and volunteers, who, in turn, deliver countrywide services to vulnerable people. Facilitating cooperation and coordination between its members (the Pacific National Societies), the wider International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and other humanitarian actors is essential work of the IFRC Pacific regional office.
Through their local volunteer-based/member-led branch networks, Pacific National Societies have the potential to reach thousands of Pacific communities. Collectively, Pacific National Societies have a network of over 250 branches (Pacific islands National Societies: 120 branches, New Zealand Red Cross: 146 branches, Australian Red Cross: 41 branches) and relationships with thousands of communities. The IFRC sets out three strategic aims in Strategy 2020:
1. Save lives, protect livelihoods, and strengthen recovery from disasters and crises
This is done through disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Pacific National Societies are assisted to establish disaster management systems, networks of trained volunteers, adequate contingency stocks, and logistics and communications systems. The IFRC advocates and develops government capacity for effective international disaster response laws – reducing barriers to urgently needed relief, and reducing the costs and bureaucratic challenges of providing effective assistance. As the emergency shelter cluster convener in the region, the IFRC is also developing the capacity of shelter actors to deliver more effective emergency shelter solutions.
2. Enable healthy and safe living
The IFRC helps Pacific National Societies to strengthen advocacy and programme delivery in community-based health and first aid, HIV and AIDS education, voluntary non-remunerated blood donation programmes, public health in emergencies, water and sanitation, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
3. Promote social inclusion and a culture of non-violence and peace
The IFRC promotes humanitarian values and gender equality. It encourages National Societies to reflect the diversity of their populations in their human resource base, ensure effective participation by vulnerable groups, and promote respect for difference. Advocating for the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, disseminating international humanitarian law and building capabilities in humanitarian diplomacy are some of the essential steps that are being taken in the Pacific region towards these aims. The IFRC strives, through voluntary action, for a Pacific region with more resilient people, communities and organizations, better able to address human suffering and crises with hope and dignity.