Report of the Chairman of the Development Commission …


Mr. President,
all RC/RC colleagues,

You have all received the written report of the work of the Development Commission since the last General Assembly. I will therefore concentrate on some key findings and concerns.
During the past two years the Commission has provided policy analyses and guidance especially regarding the implementation of the Global Agenda Goal 3. This goal, as you all know, is to “Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability”.

How should this goal be understood? What is the work that National Societies need to do to fulfill it? This is perhaps today not clear enough. Probably we do not have a common understanding. There is therefore a risk that instead of aiming at the same goal, different parts of our great organization take of in different directions.

If you compare the four goals, it is obvious that the third one is about increasing the National Society capacity to serve the vulnerable in the local communities. The first two goals represents the contents of these services, and the forth, if you like, some of the how-to aspects. Therefore, at the local community level all work has to start with goal 3.

In every community, regardless how poor it is, there are always those with capacities and goodwill. And those with capacities and goodwill can be mobilized and organized into RC/RC services to the vulnerable. This is true in a refugee camp as well as in a remote village. This is exactly what Henry Dunant understood and did in Solferino. This is what happened to the women of Castiglione. This is what we National Societies have been doing for decades. And this understanding is, I believe, the core of the Federation mission statement, to mobilize the power of humanity! So why should we understand Global Agenda Goal 3 differently?

And still today we sometimes forget this and treat whole communities as in need. Instead of sending someone to organize those willing and with capacities into a RC/RC grassroots unit, branch and service, we send in volunteers and resources from afar.

For UN agencies, international NGOs and other colleagues in humanitarian field, this “outsider-helps-community” approach is of course not bad. This is the best they can do. As they are and have to remain outsiders, they have no better choice. But we have.

As member-based voluntary organizations, RC/RC National Societies can create local branches or units in any community and thus be insiders. And who knows needs, priorities and local resources better than local communities? This is the definitive advantage we have as a global network of National Societies, and which we should make the most of. For us, communities are not targets, they are the starting point for building our strength and service delivery.

The present confusion on Goal 3 can not be allowed to continue. The Federation must establish clear guidance. This is also of crucial importance if we would like to significantly expand and strengthen our volunteer numbers and systems. (Segue alla pagina successiva >>)