With the needs of communities affected by disasters rapidly outpacing resources available to respond to them, Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders are calling for a “new approach” to humanitarian action – one that strengthens resilience and builds a foundation of strong local actors.

Elhadj As Sy, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is leading the Red Cross and Red Crescent delegation in Cancun.

“There is so much more that could be done to protect lives and livelihoods, and dramatically reduce the cost of emergency response by acting fast on warnings and alerts before shocks and hazards hit,” said Mr Sy. “Why do we always wait until people are on the brink of starvation? Why do we always wait until the flood or storm has hit? There is no reason for hazards to become disasters if we prepare and respond adequately.

IFRC will be highlighting the importance of strengthening local humanitarian capacity – an issue that has grown in prominence since last year’s World Humanitarian Summit – as well as a partnership with UNISDR and UN Women that aims to address the deadly consequences of gender inequality in disasters.

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IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.

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Media contacts

For interviews with Mr Sy and other Red Cross and Red Crescent experts, please contact:

In Cancun: Diana Medina, +507 6780-5395, diana.medina@ifrc.org   

In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane: +41 79 251 8039, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org

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