Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA



Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA

May 08, 2013 15:26 ET

Canada Recognizes World Red Cross Red Crescent Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 8, 2013) - Providing help to those in need in times of crisis is a defining Canadian value. Today, in recognition of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, announced Canadian humanitarian support for those most in need around the world.

"World Red Cross Red Crescent Day provides the opportunity to reflect on the important and critical work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in meeting the needs of people in crisis," said Minister Fantino. "Humanitarian assistance during emergencies is a concrete expression of the best of Canadian values, where we help those in dire need and work to ensure no one is left behind."

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is one of Canada's key partners in humanitarian assistance. It is made up of three distinct components: the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and 187 individual National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Together, they have about 97 million members and volunteers, and form the largest humanitarian network in the world.

"The ICRC is honoured to be recognized by the Government of Canada on the 150th anniversary of its humanitarian action," said Mr. François Stamm, Head of the ICRC Regional Delegation for the US and Canada. "We celebrate this anniversary with a great appreciation for the personal commitment of the thousands of staff and volunteers of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement who are addressing the toughest humanitarian issues in today's world. It is also thanks to the strong support of countries such as Canada that the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has become the world's largest humanitarian network."

"One hundred and fifty years after the birth of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, we continue to provide relevant and timely humanitarian service to vulnerable communities," said Conrad Sauvé, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Red Cross. "Now and into the future, the Canadian Red Cross stands ready to support the Movement in meeting the critical humanitarian needs created by situations of both conflict and disaster."

Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to humanitarian assistance. As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will ensure greater efficiencies and effectiveness in its delivery of international development assistance while maintaining the mandate of poverty alleviation and humanitarian assistance.

Backgrounder

Canada works with all three components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to help save lives, alleviate human suffering, and maintain the dignity of those affected by humanitarian crises.

Today, Minister Fantino announced $32.6 million in support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Of this amount, $26.9 million is in response to ICRC's 2013 Emergency Appeal. Canada's support helps the International Committee of the Red Cross provide emergency assistance to people affected by armed conflict, including the provision of potable water, access to basic health services, and ensuring a safe living environment for vulnerable populations around the world. It will also promote and strengthen international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles.

2012 Highlights of Canadian Support to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

In 2012, with the support of Canada and other partners, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement provided life-saving assistance to millions of people affected by conflict and natural disasters more than 80 countries. Some examples of this work include the following:

  • In response to ongoing humanitarian needs caused by conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ICRC delivered clean drinking water to approximately 90,000 displaced persons who had fled the fighting in Rutshuru and for the inhabitants of Goma and the surrounding districts.
  • In August, through Canada's support to the First Responder Initiative (FRI) project, the Canadian Red Cross Society, as part of a larger International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement emergency operation, helped to provide much needed health support to 226,326 families facing a cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone.
  • In December, following Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines, Canada's support helped the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to meet the emergency needs of approximately 50,000 people affected by the storm, ensuring access to drinking water, food, and other much-needed relief items.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the largest humanitarian network in the world. It is present in nearly every country and is supported by millions of volunteers around the globe. Its mission is to alleviate human suffering, protect life and health, and uphold human dignity, especially during armed conflicts and other emergencies. It is composed of three different organizations united through a commitment to neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian action. The three organizations are:

1. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a well-respected humanitarian organization that is familiar to Canadians. It has the lead in responding to conflict-based humanitarian situations, and plays a key role in providing assistance and advancing humanitarian policy, particularly related to international humanitarian law.

2. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is made up of 187 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies from nearly every country and is the lead in responding to humanitarian emergencies following natural disasters, in close cooperation with the national societies.

3. Individual national societies exist in nearly every country. These societies are members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. They support the public authorities in their respective countries, independent of the government response to domestic emergencies. Their local knowledge, expertise, and on-the-ground presence enables national societies to often be the first to respond to a given humanitarian situation in virtually every country around the globe. For example, in Canada it is the Canadian Red Cross Society.

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