International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

From: “United Nations Economic and Social Council” Substantive Session of 2006 – Geneva, 3-28 July 2006


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies sees this year’s “decent work” theme as very closely related to the protection of human dignity – the driving theme for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement since 2003.

We brought this connection, and our readiness to interact with governments, international organisations, civil society, the private sector and other actors, to the high level panels organised in New York at the beginning of May.

Your presidency of the Council, Mr President, has brought some fresh thinking and energetic ideas into the processes of ECOSOC. Your work, and that of the other distinguished members of the Bureau, has enabled us to look at this Session as one with a real prospect of forward movement, consistent with the ideals of Heads of Government when they met for the Millennium Review Summit in 2005.
The New York panels enabled the International Federation and other panelists to link decent work to human dignity within the context of disaster response.

“Working out of crisis” was the topical point we addressed then, and we remain very pleased with the engagement of the International Labour Organisation as well as OCHA with this important subject. We also welcome the statement of Her Excellency Luisa Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique linking disaster response as a cross-cutting issue in her presentation during the opening meeting of this Council Session.

We see considerable scope for improved linkage with ILO, especially because of the way ECOSOC’s processes have helped both us and ILO see new ways of working together. One such, which should move to concrete ideas soon, will come from the Davos International Disaster Reduction Conference in August this year. The IFRC is honoured to be organising a plenary session on safer communities built around economic security where we hope to bring an ILO decent work perspective into the discussion.
That discussion will benefit greatly from the debate at this High Level Segment of ECOSOC. To illustrate the range of the decent work issues of concern to the IFRC in post-crisis situations, I will make some points briefly but my delegation will be glad to fill out many of them in appropriate points during the agenda of this ECOSOC session.

1. There is a clear link between livelihoods and the broader recovery of people affected by disaster.
2. Experience shows that the restoration of livelihoods is vital to the creation of an enabling environment in which individuals, families, communities and nations rebuild their ability to prosper and develop.
3. The human urge to rebuild livelihoods is clear from experience too. We have all seen how people in the worst affected parts of Pakistan after the earthquake refused to leave their frozen and destroyed land partly at least because of their belief in recovery.

This has made it necessary for all agencies involved in supporting communities after disaster has struck to consider the economic and employment needs of the people as a first priority.
It means that decisions on emergency and transitional shelter must take account of the determination of fishing communities to remain as close as possible to the sea, of farmers to stay close to their fields, of the need for livestock replenishment as a priority.
This in turn means that there must be space provided for people to store tools and other equipment. There must be an immediate rebuilding of the necessities for the next generation, including schools and educational materials.

And there must be sensitivity to the requirements of gender equality. Where women are engaged in traditional tasks, they must have the opportunity returned to them to re-engage in that work so that the community around them can be rebuilt. They are in nearly any society the engines for social cohesion which is such a vital part of any rebuilding.

Only with that rebuilding will the community be able to have its own sustainable development, and without this rebuilding at the community level the prospects for national development will remain poor or retarded. (Segue alla pagina successiva >>)