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Red Cross Red Crescent General Assembly adopts Global Agenda

Source: IFRCRCS, 14 November 2005

The 15th session of the General Assembly of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Seoul, Republic of Korea, has ended with the adoption of a Global Agenda. The Agenda's four goals are meant to contribute to the UN's Millennium Development Goals. They are: to reduce the deaths, injuries and impact of disasters on people's lives, improve methods of dealing with public health crises, combating intolerance and discrimination, and building Red Cross and Red Crescent capacity at the community level to prepare for and cope with threats to lives and livelihoods.

"The global agenda will allow the Federation to build new partnerships and operational alliances. It also calls for a significant scaling up of Federation activities, especially in the field of emergency shelter following natural disasters," noted the Federation's newly-re-elected President, Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro.

"The growing number of people affected by disasters, poverty and inequity must be addressed. Given the scale of the needs, the Federation will continue to develop programmes at local level. These local programmes are effective thanks to the millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers working in communities all over the world," he added. He also stressed that forgotten disasters must also be remembered and donors should be sensitized to the fact that preparing for catastrophes and reducing risk saves millions of lives.

The General Assembly is the International Federation's highest decision-making body. This year, it brought together some 800 delegates, under the theme "Prepared for the Future". The Assembly welcomed two new members, the Red Crescent Society of Comoros and the National Red Cross Society of Timor Leste, bringing the number of member Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies to 183.

"We have made progress to be better organized, to increase cooperation with our partners. We have reiterated our commitment to continue strengthening our worldwide network of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and their community-based volunteers," said M. Suárez del Toro. "We also need to better support our youth volunteers and engage them in the decision-making processes - they are the embodiment of our principles and our future."

The first-ever Henry Davison, Youth and Volunteer awards were presented to reward outstanding humanitarian action and service as well as innovative programmes.

The General Assembly also made a point of thanking its millions of volunteers, people around the world, companies and governments which have supported the Federation's emergency operations over the past year - the support for victims of natural disasters has been extraordinarily generous in 2005.

The next General Assembly will be held in Geneva in 2007.

The Geneva-based International Federation promotes the humanitarian activities of 181 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies among vulnerable people. By coordinating international disaster relief and encouraging development support, it seeks to prevent and alleviate human suffering. The Federation, National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together, constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

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