World Red Cross Red Crescent Day – 8 May 2010
A joint statement from the presidents of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross on the occasion of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day 2010.
In November 2007, at the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, States and the delegates of our Movement identified urban violence as a major humanitarian challenge for us to face together. Our Movement acknowledged this as one of the most pressing humanitarian challenges facing communities across the globe.
Urbanization is not a new phenomenon. What is new is that for the first time in history, there are more people living in urban areas than in the countryside. By 2030, urban dwellers will account for 60% of the world population, and the majority of them will be living in developing countries.
Urbanization has brought with it a growing sense of vulnerability among many city dwellers faced with insecurity, exposure to hazards and insufficient access to basic services such as water, food and health care. As a result it is making our humanitarian work even more complex, sometimes more critical and more necessary than ever.
We have chosen the theme of urbanization for our World Red Cross Red Crescent Day as a token of our unwavering solidarity towards the Haitian people and the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince. The plight of the earthquake victims shows how vulnerable densely populated urban areas can be to the tragic consequences of disasters. But this catastrophe also gave rise to an extraordinary surge of support and aid for the survivors and highlighted the tremendous ability of Haiti ans to help themselves, as reflected in the tireless work of the Haitian National Red Cross Society.
The theme also provides an opportunity to remind and inform people about how much work our Movement is already doing in towns and cities worldwide. National Societies focus on promoting diversity, opposing discrimination, and joining in efforts to provide decent social services and to ensure that adequate protection, preventive health-care, education and disaster risk reduction measures are taken. Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are at the heart of the Movement's endeavours to strengthen urban communities.
There are many examples that show that our Movement is also an urban Movement:
The Colombian Red Cross Society addresses urban violence through a wide range of programmes: dissemination of humanitarian values, human rights and international humanitarian law; initiatives to combat violence in schools and deprived urban areas; assistance and support to the homeless and projects to reduce gender-based violence.
The Indonesian Red Cross Society has developed an impressive training and disaster risk prevention programme targeting the most vulnerable communities.
These examples show how our Movement acts as a powerful driving force of hope, energy and creativity in the face of the humanitarian challenges of our times. They illustrate the slogan of our campaign, ‘Our world. Your move.’ reminding us that each one of us has a role to play, so that we can live on our planet in a spirit of tolerance, solidarity and harmony.
Tadateru Konoé, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies / Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross