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International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Progress, gaps and risks

SDG 4 Quality Education
The IFRC and our Red Crescent and Red Cross-National Societies formally work with 51 Ministries of Education. We engage both on humanitarian values and youth rerated programming and in the field of practical training for young people in first aid. In many settings we support non-formal education to enabled young people to get skills for the work place. We also have 12 million volunteers, half of them younger people who find their expression of humanitarian and social contribution though their practical volunteering work across 191 countries.

In crisis and emergency settings we have experienced a underfunding of education over the last 20 years, this is very much to the detriment of children caught in protracted crisis situations. Also, in such settings safety and security for young girls can be a major challenge. In the area of disaster preparedness, we work hard to make sure that with authorities if schools are used for evacuation purposes this is only a temporary phenomenon.
Overall in many countries there are major gaps in quality education and making young people fit for the job markets of tomorrow. There are also major gaps in education in fragile settings and resource constrained environments. Investing more in humanitarian values education and practical life skills we see as two elements of a dynamic and responsive education system.

SDG 13 Climate Change

In the area of climate change, the IFRC and the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies have been active in this field since the establishment of a global Climate change center based out of the Netherlands in 1996.

Our lived experience is that there is already a climate crisis in many parts of the world, and the challenges in particular for poor and vulnerable persons are growing. The main areas of work of IFRC and our National Societies is in early action linked to forecast based programming working with National Metrological offices and global weather scientists; community-based disaster risk reduction measures; livelihood investments, and support at scale to community-based adaptation programs.

The major risk in this area is the under-prioritization of investment at scale in protecting and engaging poor and vulnerable citizens in the adaptation and resilience necessary to cope in the current and future climate crisis events.  

SDG 16 Peaceful Societies, justice and strong institutions.

Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies work as auxiliaries to their government in the areas of disaster risk reduction, disaster response and health and social care support.  We have learnt of the importance of strong local government and national government capacity to coordinate and lead preparedness and response efforts to hazards, this is even more pressing now as the scale of such hazards are growing with the interface of poor preparedness and the climate crisis.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies at the local level promote a culture of peace and inclusivity, being there to serve and support all in times of crisis. As auxiliaries to government in the disaster and health and care fields the National Societies support going the final mile to reach those being left behind.

  • Empowering people and ensuring inclusivity and equality

The opportunity to work and volunteer for the humanitarian services of the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies is an expression of inclusivity.  The IFRC has supported the National Societies to work on ensuring the full engagement of persons affected by hazards and in our long-term health and care work in the planning, execution and evaluation of the work we are there to do.

Fostering trust and true local partnerships lies at the heart of the IFRC and its National Societies. We have many programs and reviews and evaluations from our 191 National Societies to highlight how practically National Societies and our 165,000 local branches around the world progress their work with empowerment approaches and in support of the inclusivity. If It would be useful a cross section of this work could be provided to the UN Secretariat.

  • Emerging issues likely to affect inclusivity and equality at various levels

Our recent World Disasters report 2018, focusing on those left behind in humanitarian settings, the exclusion of various categories of person from persons with disability, to older persons to migrants or those living far away and are hard to access. This report highlighted fundamental weaknesses in the main humanitarian system that need to be addressed in the future.

The impact of the climate crisis is already disproportionally affecting poor and vulnerable people, unless there is substantive investment in resilience and adaptation with these communities there will be major and growing human suffering across the globe.

Most Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies work on migration, providing safe humanitarian spaces and supporting basic services for irregular migrants is necessary to avoid this group falling into high risk contexts. The implementation of the agreed Global Compact on Migration should be a global priority.

In the area of health care, the IFRC supports government to ensure the provision of universal health care. We work with many groups who currently don’t benefit from such coverage, this includes TB patients, persons living with HIV, persons affected by pandemics, those exposed to the risk of malaria, people lacking access to clean and safe drinking water.

  • Assessment on those left behind

This area is covered in the other sections. Overall there is far too much rhetoric on this and far too little action in many contexts where the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies work. At the same time there are many good practices to show the path to reach and empower those being left behind.

  • Areas where political guidance is needed at the HLPF and policy recommendations

The apolitical nature of the IFRC means that we will address this area indirectly. We believe that priority needs to be given to:

  • A major scaling up in investment in climate informed disaster risk reduction and community adaptation targeting poor and vulnerable communities around the world.
  • A priority given to education in crisis settings and inclusive education with a strong focus on humanitarian values.
  • A real evidence-based focus on the no one left behind agenda to promote policies and programs that address this huge challenge in both crisis and non-crisis settings. This was poorly addressed at the HLPF in 2018. 
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