16 March, 2012 - Haiti: Today saw the close of the XIX Inter-American Conference that gathered in Haiti the leaders of 35 National Societies from the Americas.
“This conference has marked a new maturity for the Haitian Red Cross and generated an impetus towards further development, further cooperation and closer ties between all our sister National Societies. Together we agreed on common priorities and an agenda in the Americas that will project us as key players in building our common future,” said Dr. Michaële Amédée Gédéon, President of the Haitian Red Cross.
With a view of “reducing the gaps” in humanitarian service delivery throughout the continent, participants of the conference endorsed the “Montrouis Commitments” that aims at scaling up the impact of the Red Cross over the next four years. Amongst 15 commitments adopted, particular emphasis has been placed on priority areas:
While the Americas are home to 27% of the world’s migrants, Red Cross will seek to increase actions providing assistance, protection and legal support to migrant populations regardless of their legal situation.
Risk reduction and legal advocacy
In the face of increasing disasters – which have affected the lives of more than 15 million people over the past decades in the Americas - the Red Cross will increase local capacities to provide timely and quality response during disasters and crises. Participants acknowledged the need to focus on recovery and livelihoods at an early stage of any humanitarian response. Understanding the risk factors that give rise to vulnerability was stressed, as well as advocacy and support to governements in incorporating disaster laws that ensure effective coordination for disaster relief and further risk reduction measures, community resilience and the provision of shelter after a disaster.
The conference focused on the importance of promoting strategies for violence prevention through community-centred approaches. This will require the Red Cross to better train staff and work in conjunction with government and civil society to reduce the causes of violence and its impact on families and vulnerable people.
“What we experienced in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake has given us the opportunity to bring together the best of what the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies can offer in terms of solidarity, effectiveness and innovation,” stated Dr. Gedeon.
The commitment stressed the importance of promoting a culture of learning and sharing at all levels. “The Red Cross has accumulated a great deal of knowledge and experience in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. In a fast changing and inter-connected world, our capacity to share and build on this experience, as well as our ability to deliver as one Red Cross, will be our greatest asset. It is also our common responsibility to increase our accountability to the people we serve and the stakeholders we partner with,” concluded Xavier Castellanos, Director for Americas zone of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Périclès Jean-Baptiste, Haitian Red Cross
Phone: +509 3170 8739 / +509 3492 3273
Enrique Jair Guevara, IFRC, Americas Zone
Phone: +507 317 3050 Mobile: +507 6670 7365
About the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 mil¬lion people each year through our 187 member National Societies. Together, we act before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. We do so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.