Safer Access for all National Societies

05-11-2013 Overview

Today, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are facing new, more complex and evolving challenges when responding in sensitive and insecure contexts, including armed conflict and internal disturbances and tensions. Some are prevented by weapon bearers from providing humanitarian services, or are hindered or harassed when they do. Others have suffered recurrent attacks against their personnel, facilities and equipment. The people who need it most may thus be deprived of assistance or even suffer direct harm.

These concerns prompted National Societies, working closely with the ICRC, to seek ways to increase their acceptance, security and access to people and communities in need. The result is the Safer Access Framework (SAF), first developed in 2003 and recently updated based on the experiences of National Societies. It contains a set of preparedness actions and acceptance measures, grounded in the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other Movement policies, that a National Society can take when responding in sensitive and insecure contexts.

There is no guarantee of complete safety or security when providing humanitarian assistance and protection. However, over time and with experience, National Societies have found that taking the actions and measures recommended in the SAF can considerably help mitigate the risks they face.

In response to a request by National Societies at the 2009 Council of Delegates to develop a resource providing practical guidance on how to prepare for and respond more effectively in conflict, the ICRC has drawn on its own experiences and that of some 50 National Societies to create the Safer Access Practical Resource Pack, the contents of which you will find on this web page.

The materials provided here have been created with and for all National Societies seeking to improve the way they conduct their humanitarian activities and to prepare for and respond to needs in challenging circumstances.