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Supporting Resilience through Red Cross Red Crescent Initiatives

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The European Development Days (EDDs) took place in Brussels on 15 and 16 June. As Europe’s premier forum on development, EDDs welcomes thousands of development stakeholders, practitioners and advocates to gather for presentations, panel discussions, and informal debates. In celebration of its tenth anniversary, this year’s EDDs centred on the topic of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

European Development Days 2016. © Red Cross EU Office

The Red Cross Red Crescent participated in the EDDs by running a stand from the Livelihoods Resource Centre (LRC) in the Global Village, as well as through the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre’s participation in the Resilience on the Ground Lab at the EU Resilience Forum. These types of Red Cross Red Crescent reference centres are hosted by various Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies around the world. They act as extensions to the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), as ‘centres of excellence’ that contribute strategically important information and key insights that help guide the practices of the IFRC and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. 

The LRC, hosted by the Spanish Red Cross, provides best practices, training and technical support for livelihoods programming. At the EDDs, the Livelihoods stand presented the Livelihoods Programming Toolbox and Indicators – a set of resources compiled by the LRC with the collaboration of 30 specialised humanitarian organisations to facilitate livelihoods programming for practitioners. 

Traditionally, livelihoods programming has lacked a set of agreed evidence-based indicators, making it very difficult for practitioners to implement quality projects and assess their impacts. The livelihoods programming toolbox and indicators fill this important gap by offering a standardised means for implementing and evaluating livelihoods projects. This regulated system provides consistency and flexibility that allows practitioners to apply the tools to various projects across different fields. The toolbox resources cover numerous levels so that they can accommodate the needs of practitioners with different levels of experience and varied expertise. On the Livelihoods Resource Centre’s website, practitioners can access a multitude of resources including the livelihoods toolbox, indicators, online web training modules, and informational videos to help them implement their projects and raise awareness on how sustainable livelihoods contribute to community resilience. 

Throughout the EDDs, LRC representatives discussed different approaches to livelihoods programming with other development stakeholders, providing hands-on demonstrations on how to use the various tools available online via the Livelihoods Toolbox and Indicators, which have been developed with funding from the European Commission’s department for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO).

Stand on IFRC Livelihoods Toolbox and Indicators at EDDs 2016. © Red Cross EU Office

On 16 June, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre participated in the EDDs’ EU Resilience Forum. Hosted by the Netherlands Red Cross in the Hague, the Climate Centre uses climate information and risk analysis to support Red Cross Societies, and help them reduce the impacts of climate change and extreme-weather events on vulnerable people. Director of the Climate Centre, Maarten Van Aalst participated in the high-level panel discussion "Resilience on the Ground” lab, where panellists from the Start Network, the Somalia Resilience Program (SomReP) and the European Commission discussed the practicalities of different resilience approaches and their experiences in attempts to further localise projects, as well as the importance of scaling up resilience to address the widening gap between humanitarian needs and capacities to respond. 

"Resilience requires bridging scales: using information from the most vulnerable groups in local, national and global risk assessments, and integrating local solutions into national strategies, plans and policies,” said Dr van Aalst.

Maarten van Aalst, Director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre during the "Resilience on the Ground" lab at the EU Resilience Forum. © Red Cross EU Office

Panellists discussed the need for access to funding that allows for experimentation and learning, so that organisations may be free to try different approaches and assess which practices work best. Though risks are constantly changing due to factors like population growth and climate change, it is important to recognise that risks are not isolated to one event in one place. How a community addresses a risk, directly affects how another community is impacted by the same or related risks. For example, the measures taken by a community upstream to prevent a flood, affect how the community downstream experiences that flood. 

During the lab, Dr van Aalst also shared insights and lessons learned from the Partners for Resilience (PfR) programme, an alliance of five humanitarian organisations working with at-risk communities worldwide. 

"Partners for Resilience has demonstrated how to build resilience locally, yet at scale, reaching over 400,000 people in the most vulnerable areas,” he said. 

From its onset, the PfR has traditionally combined disaster climate adaptation, ecosystem management and restoration to increase the resilience of communities and reduce their risks. During the second phase of the programme (2016-2020), the PfR will focus on building capacity for humanitarian dialogue, partnerships and knowledge. The programme will also be implementing the Sendai Framework for Action, which emphasises the capacity of civil societies for dialogue on integrated risk management in the domains of policy, investment and practice. The PfR alliance is currently active in 9 countries, covering more than 500 communities and engaging with over 200 government institutions.
 

For media inquiries, please contact Eva Oyon on: eva.oyon@redcross.eu or +32 2 235 09 22