IFRC launch new ‘game changer’ humanitarian fund
Yesterday, 8th May 2018, marked world Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. To mark the occasion the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched a new humanitarian fund that aims to mitigate and prevent the damage caused by natural disasters.
The IFRC’s Forecast-based Action fund will use weather predictions and historical data to trigger automatic release of funds for pre-approved early action plans.
Pascale Meige, IFRC’s Director of Disaster and Crisis Prevention, Response and Recovery, commented:
“We think this is a game-changer, not only for the Red Cross and Red Crescent, but for humanitarian action as a whole”
“Our new forecast-based action fund means that guaranteed money will be available to help communities prepare for a disaster before it strikes.”
For example, in the event of a potential flood forecast rainfall and river levels would be used to activate funding for evacuations and the distribution of kits further downstream.
Pascale Meige added:
“For decades, humanitarians have been calling for a shift to proactive and preventative humanitarian action, but such action has so far been sporadic. For the first time, this fund, and the work we are doing to build country-level plans and agreements, can consistently deliver on this promise – turning promises into action”
“It means that life-saving action can now take place before anyone is in immediate danger, which will save lives and reduce the need for more costly emergency response and recovery efforts”
The fund is embedded within IFRC’s Disaster Resilience Emergency Fund (DREF), a 25-30 million Swiss Franc fund that has support Red Cross and Red Crescent response efforts for over 30 years. The German Federal Foreign Office will also support the fund, with technical assistance from the German Red Cross and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Centre.
Peter Felten, Head of the Humanitarian Assistance Division at the German Federal Foreign Office, commented on the fund:
“It’s time to change how we are planning and delivering humanitarian assistance. Waiting for disasters to happen should not be an option any more”
“Forecast-based financing can operationalize the important window of opportunity between early warnings and a potential disaster. The integration of Forecast-based Action within the DREF is a major step to widen the focus from response to anticipatory humanitarian action”
The approach has been piloted at community levels since 2014 in Peru; Togo; Uganda; Bangladesh; Mozambique; and Mongolia and has proved successful.
Fifteen national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific are developing the necessary Early Action Protocols and will be able to access the fund within two years. The fund is available to all 190 societies.
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Image credit: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies