Xavier Castellanos | International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc The website of the international Red Cross Red Crescent Movement Tue, 10 Dec 2019 21:11:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.12 9th World Urban Forum takes center stage in Kuala Lumpur https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/2018/02/13/9th-world-urban-forum-takes-center-stage-ku/ Tue, 13 Feb 2018 03:15:32 +0000 http://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?p=42094 The ninth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) on 11 February 2018 heard a call from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for greater accountability after disasters that may leave survivors bereaved and struggling to find shelter, food and water.

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Red Cross Red Crescent colleagues at the IFRC exhibition stand for the 9th World Urban Forum with the Malaysian Red Crescent Secretary General, Dato’ Sayed A. Rahman bin Sayed Mohd, and a ‘Volunteers on Wheels’ bike – a donation of the Red Cross Society of China last year as part of a global Federation initiative to equip a million volunteers with bicycles to increase their reach and impact. Pedal bikes are symbols of urban sustainability worldwide, and Kuala Lumpur was equipped with several kilometres of new dedicated cycle-only routes in time for WUF9. (Photo: Jill Clements via Twitter)

 

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement calls for ‘humanized recovery’ from disasters

The ninth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) on 11 February 2018 heard a call from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for greater accountability after disasters that may leave survivors bereaved and struggling to find shelter, food and water.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement specialists believe disasters, climate change and conflicts are felt most acutely in cities that are often growing rapidly without proper planning, and are calling for increased investment in disaster risk reduction (DRR).

“Building back better without accountability to the people we serve harms human dignity,” Xavier Castellanos, Regional Director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Asia-Pacific, told a special session of WUF9 in Kuala Lumpur (photo, at far right). Better policy-making and planning are needed to humanise recovery, he said, along with more investment in DRR, climate adaptation and greater engagement with communities affected by disaster.

Innovation is about promoting climate-sensitive buildings when building back better. In the Philippines, the IFRC builds back better with a smaller carbon footprint, providing solar panels through a community integrated approach, said Heather Fehr, Disaster Risk Reduction Adviser for British Red Cross during the second special session the IFRC was invited to on finding innovative approaches to settlements for displaced populations.

When talking about displacement in cities affected by conflict, Isabelle Barras, Head of Regional Delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Malaysia, said it is necessary to go beyond emergency relief and to include long-term perspectives to address the needs of displaced people. She said in cities, structural, area-based interventions must be combined and balanced with tailor made solutions. Examples include complementarity and partnerships, including with local actors to better address the variety of needs.

This was echoed by ICRC’s Regional Water and Habitat Coordinator, Jean Marc Zbinden, who said an adequate response to internal displacement in urban settings must take into account the impact of displacement on host communities and the city as a whole.

During the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement side-event “New frontiers for Humanitarians in Cities”, Ela Serdaroglu, leading the IFRC Shelter team, stressed the importance of coordination after a crisis, with a wide range of partners, to foster sustainable recovery – from  addressing people’s land issues, to inclusive neighbourhoods and safe spaces.

Epidemics

Xavier Castellanos said trying to rebuild without access to critical information about disaster risks is as irresponsible as causing new risk.

Good information, however, would  mitigate risks, increase disaster preparedness and improve response capacity in the most exposed and vulnerable areas, he told a session called restoring hope: building back cities and communities together after a disaster.

The IFRC – jointly leading the global shelter cluster with the UN refugee agency – is also calling for better preparedness and response to epidemics for which cities can act as multipliers, especially through early warning and rapid response in high-risk communities.

The World Urban Forum is the world’s premier conference on urban issues; the meeting in Kuala Lumpur is the first to focus on implementing the New Urban Agenda adopted at the 2016 Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador.

As part of the shaping of that agenda, the IFRC and ICRC together emphasized the impacts of disasters and crises on the most vulnerable urban communities, while
National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have also engaged in relevant global initiatives – including the Partnership on Urban Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and the Global Alliance for Urban Crises.

Building back better without accountability harms human dignity’

The IFRC’s engagement at WUF9 included an exhibition profiling the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in urban recovery, and with the Philippine Red Cross and other partners it led training or network events on the development of the Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter and Settlements Awareness (PASSA) tool and its adaptation to include youth.

Other Movement components taking part in WUF9 networking or training events include the Malaysian Red Crescent and the Climate Centre – a member of the Partners for Resilience (PfR) alliance with the Netherlands Red Cross, Cordaid, CARE Netherlands and Wetlands International and more than 50 local partners worldwide.

The view that building resilience in urban areas plays a significant role in minimizing risks is the central message in a new PfR policy document issued to coincide with WUF9, which ends on 13 February.

Strong, well-organized communities can manage the risks they face, reduce the impact of disasters, and sustain development, said the PfR brief.

WUF9’s theme is Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda.

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IFRC partners with Prudence Foundation to launch SAFE STEPS First Aid across Asia https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/press-release/ifrc-partners-prudence-foundation-launch-safe-steps-first-aid-across-asia/ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 04:13:20 +0000 http://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?post_type=press-release&p=37371 Prudence Foundation, the regional community investment arm of Prudential Corporation Asia, together with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and National Geographic (NatGeo), today announced the launch of its SAFE STEPS First Aid programme. This is a first of its kind, pan-Asia programme to promote awareness and increase knowledge of first aid skills across the region.

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Hong Kong, 9 September 2017 – Prudence Foundation, the regional community investment arm of Prudential Corporation Asia, together with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and National Geographic (NatGeo), today announced the launch of its SAFE STEPS First Aid programme. This is a first of its kind, pan-Asia programme to promote awareness and increase knowledge of first aid skills across the region.

Building on the success of its previous two SAFE STEPS programmes, which focus on natural disasters and road safety, SAFE STEPS First Aid aims to provide essential first aid information to millions of people throughout Asia.

The launch also coincides with the IFRC’s World First Aid Day on 9 September, a globally recognised day with the aim of promoting and advocating knowledge of first aid to build people’s capacity to respond appropriately to emergencies when needed.

Almost 16,000 people die from injuries around the world every single day. Thousands more survive but many with permanent debilitating after effects. In a person’s lifetime, he or she has an 80 per cent chance of needing to use first aid on a friend or family member. Through SAFE STEPS First Aid, Prudence Foundation and its partners hope to address this issue by educating people on easy-to-understand first aid concepts, enabling them to be prepared to save a life.

At its core, SAFE STEPS First Aid comprises a series of six one-minute public service announcement videos, each focused on building knowledge of a core first aid topic – broken bones, burns, choking, CPR, severe bleeding and stroke – providing critical guidance on what to do in a medical emergency. Each announcement features one of three SAFE STEPS First Aid ambassadors, with whom Prudence Foundation has chosen to partner for their dedication to saving people in their everyday life. They are doctor and humanitarian, Dr Maria Guevara, Bali-based lifeguard, Marshello Aryafara, and a paramedic from Singapore, Wee Chee Ong.

“Prudence Foundation, as part of Prudential, aims to help families and communities be more resilient,” said Donald Kanak, Chairman of Prudence Foundation. “We are pleased to launch SAFE STEPS First Aid to promote critical life-saving information and basic first aid skills to as many people as possible. Building on our successful partnership with the IFRC and NatGeo, we believe the new programme will help people be better prepared to respond to a life-threatening situation, as the first 15 minutes in handling a medical emergency can make the difference between life and death.”

“We are delighted to see businesses and communities come together to promote safety and first aid knowledge, which is critical for the safety of families and communities throughout the region,” said Xavier Castellanos, Regional Director, IFRC Asia Pacific. “The launch of SAFE STEPS First Aid complements our efforts across all countries in the Asia Pacific to equip people with easy-to-follow first aid skills which will no doubt help save many lives.”

The public service announcements will be broadcast on National Geographic Channel and FOX network channels. It will start airing today on 17 channels across the FOX Networks Group Asia portfolio, reaching viewers in over 80 million households across the region. The video content will also be made available in nine local languages – Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Mandarin, Filipino, Thai and Vietnamese. In addition, infographics and other informative materials will be rolled out through partnerships with schools, universities, government and non-government organisations and private sector companies throughout the region. All SAFE STEPS First Aid information and collateral can be found on SAFE STEPS’ website – safesteps.com.

Prudence Foundation invests to support the development of more resilient communities throughout the region. SAFE STEPS First Aid is the Foundation’s third SAFE STEPS programme, all of which follow a format of public service announcements aired on regional and local broadcasters supplemented by digital and print collaterals.

SAFE STEPS Natural Disasters was launched in May 2014 with Manny Pacquiao, world champion boxer, providing essential tips on what to do in the event of natural disasters such as typhoons, floods, earthquakes and fires as well as how to prepare an emergency kit. Launched in February 2016, SAFE STEPS Road Safety features Michelle Yeoh, acclaimed producer, actress and principal partner of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. Michelle offers guidance on six key road safety concepts, including pedestrians, drink driving, distracted driving and motorcycles. Through SAFE STEPS, the Foundation recognised that knowledge of first aid has become more essential than ever and set out to develop a new programme to promote first aid awareness on a mass level in the region.

About Prudence Foundation

Prudence Foundation is the community investment arm of Prudential in Asia and is a registered charitable entity in Hong Kong. Its mission is to make a lasting contribution to Asian societies through sustainable programmes focused on three key areas: Children, Education and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery.  The Foundation runs regional flagship programmes as well as local programmes working in partnership with NGOs and governments in order to maximise the impact of its efforts. The Foundation embodies the long-term and heartfelt commitment of Prudential and its people in Asia to provide innovative, focused, and practical support to their communities.

 

About IFRC

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 190 member National Societies that work to save lives and promote dignity around the world.

 

About MRCS

The Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) is a voluntary humanitarian organisation that seeks to promote humanitarian values as well as provide service and public education in disaster management, and health and care in the community. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, it is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, with 16 State branches, 150 Districts and more than 300,000 members nationwide. MRCS also has a very active presence among youths, through a well-organised network of youth and adult volunteer units in schools and institutions of higher learning.

 

About National Geographic

National Geographic gets you closer to the stories that matter. Through the world’s best scientists, photographers, journalists, and filmmakers, National Geographic captivates and entertains a global community through television channels, magazines, children’s media, travel expeditions, books, maps, consumer products, location-based entertainment and experiences, and some of the most engaging digital and social media platforms in the world. A joint venture with 21st Century Fox, National Geographic reinvests 27% of proceeds to help fund the conservation and education efforts of the National Geographic Society.

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IFRC forms new partnership with Asian Football Confederation for social development efforts https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/press-release/ifrc-forms-new-partnership-asian-football-confederation-social-development-efforts/ Tue, 29 Aug 2017 07:15:07 +0000 http://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?post_type=press-release&p=37070 The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to inspire hope and enrich lives through football while creating a positive impact in communities across the region.

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to inspire hope and enrich lives through football while creating a positive impact in communities across the region.

The ceremony, which took place at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, strengthens the foundations and partnerships of the AFC Dream Asia Foundation which was launched in March this year.

Speaking at the opening of the signing agreement, AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “Football continues to serve as a powerful platform to empower the most vulnerable segments of society and unite communities all across the Continent.

“Drawing on the networks of world’s leading organisations, we want to plant the seeds of hope to grow opportunities for the most marginalised people in Asia to live more meaningful lives through the joys of the beautiful game.

“Today’s partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross brings to life our aspirations under the banner of One Asia, One Goal.”

The MoU, combines the AFC’s objective of undertaking effective social responsibility campaigns and the IFRC’s commitment to ‘Partner for more resilient communities’. The AFC is joining the IFRC’s ‘One Billion Coalition for Resilience, global initiative, enabling one billion people to take active steps to work towards a world where everyone is safer, healthier and can thrive, even in the face of adversity.

Xavier Castellanos, IFRC Regional Director for Asia Pacific, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for two organisations with the biggest reach in the region to foster behaviour change, both on a personal level and in our communities.

“We are laying the foundation for increased opportunities between AFC members, all those who love football in Asia and nine million Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers who work tirelessly to help their communities be stronger and better prepared for threats they face.

“Each year we support 70 million people during emergencies. We commit to safer and more socially inclusive communities in Asia. This partnership will serve to make our communities stronger,” Mr Castellanos said.

Through the AFC Dream Asia Foundation, the cooperation will provide a framework for regional collaboration between the AFC, its Member Associations, the IFRC and its National Societies across Asia.

It will pave the way to create a positive impact in three collaborative areas, including expanding a culture of safety across the region, supporting emergency assistance and disaster response as well as the promotion of social inclusion, non-violence and peace through football.

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World Blood Donor Day: Working towards 100 per cent https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/opinion/world-blood-donor-day-working-towards-100-per-cent/ Sat, 14 Jun 2014 08:46:12 +0000 http://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/?post_type=opinion&p=34973 What does it mean to give 100 per cent? Giving it your all, putting in everything you have, not leaving a drop to chance?

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By Xavier Castellanos, Director,  IFRC Americas Zone

What does it mean to give 100 per cent? Giving it your all, putting in everything you have, not leaving a drop to chance?

For many mothers, giving 100 per cent during childbirth may not be enough to survive without an additional supply of safe blood. More than 800 women die every day from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications, almost all in developing countries. Severe bleeding during delivery or after childbirth contributes to 21 per cent of maternal deaths in Latin America alone.

Today on World Blood Donor Day, we celebrate those who give 100 per cent. The volunteers who give blood to save those who give life.

For countries across the world, 100 per cent is also the number to strive for when it comes to voluntary blood donation. More than 34 million Red Cross Red Crescent donors choose to give blood every year in exchange only for the satisfaction of knowing they may save a life. Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, along with partners like the World Health Organization, are aiming for 100 per cent of countries to have voluntary blood donation, as voluntary donations are also the safest.

This is not an easy job, but it is one that the National Blood Service Programme of the Nicaraguan Red Cross has worked hard to achieve in the last six years. They are now responsible for the collection, processing and distribution of voluntary blood donation products for the entire country. A remarkable achievement.

In 2008, the voluntary blood donation rate in the country was only 48 per cent, and the service depended mostly on replacement donors who donated blood on behalf of a friend or a relative in need. The changed has been achieved through new blood donor education, enhanced community volunteer participation, donor recruitment, and strategically placed blood drives.

What does this mean for Nicaragua? It means the role of voluntary blood donors has directly contributed to improving maternal health, providing easier access and safe blood for more transfusions.

Imagine what this could mean for the rest of the world as we push for all countries to supply blood through voluntary donors.

  • More funds put toward promotional campaigns, education materials, blood drives and usage of social networks for blood donation matters instead of donor incentive.
  • Safer blood with lower contamination risk.

  • More awareness around the need for blood to save lives.

A strong and resilient health system is not possible without a safe, sustainable and accessible blood supply, and the proven best was to reach this is with voluntary unpaid donors.

We must continue to encourage non-governmental organizations, governments, international organizations, private companies and citizens to do their part in giving 100 per cent. Advocate for voluntary blood donation in every country. Encourage everyone eligible to give blood. Spread the message about those who need life most and our ability so easily to give it. We plan to give this 100 per cent.

What does giving 100 per cent mean to you?

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