Development cooperation efforts should enable everyone to achieve their full potential and lead productive and creative lives with dignity, according to their needs and choices. This requires participative and inclusive approaches that respect local ownership and build the resilience of local communities, while recognising the exclusively supportive role of external actors. Effectively linking relief, recovery and development, as well as employing holistic and cross-sectoral measures that bridge the gaps between different levels – individual, household, local, national and global – will be increasingly important in the years to come.
As a major development cooperation actor, the EU can significantly contribute to sustainable development by strengthening the role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in terms of governance, and as service providers. Efforts to establish transparency, accountability and predictability should be continued to increase democratic ownership and improve development results. We believe that the EU’s policy coherence strategy should place human rights at the center of relations with third countries, paying particular attention to marginalised groups, such as women and children, people with disabilities, and minorities.
The Red Cross Red Crescent is always there
National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world actively contribute to sustainable development efforts through a wide variety of services and programmes aimed at strengthening resilience, addressing the underlying causes of vulnerability, and promoting societal and personal transformation. Activities cover areas that include disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, shelter, health, water and sanitation, migration, social inclusion, and the protection of marginalised groups by promoting a culture of non-violence and peace.
The Red Cross Red Crescent is not just present during disasters, but also much beforehand and long afterwards, including in fragile contexts. Through its network of community-based volunteers, it works to support local actors in designing sustainable solutions that reflect their specific needs and capacities, and are built on cultural knowledge. It also engages in regular dialogue with national authorities, as well as regional and international partners and stakeholders to ensure that the perspectives of vulnerable individuals and communities are voiced and appropriately considered. This community-based approach and permanent presence, coupled with the Red Cross Red Crescent’s global outreach, substantial capacities and long-term outlook, give it a distinct advantage in dealing with today’s complex development challenges.
The Red Cross EU Office and Development Cooperation
Our members are committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and continue to be a strategic partner for the EU on development-related issues. They participate in development cooperation by providing technical assistance and strengthening the capacities of National Societies in third countries, in order to help them build resilient communities and empower the most vulnerable. Our role is to channel their expertise into EU development policy processes, such as the European Consensus on Development, or the Agenda for Change. We promote messages on global themes linked to the 2030 Agenda from an EU perspective, as well as sharing information and knowledge with Brussels-based development stakeholders, and collaborating with UN Agencies and CSO networks.
The Red Cross EU Office works closely with Red Cross Red Crescent reference centres, including the Climate Centre, the Livelihoods Resource Centre, the Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, and the Shelter Research Unit. We also actively engage in events like the Policy Forum for Development, the CSO Forum and the European Development Days. Through constant dialogue with the EU institutions involved in development cooperation, we work to mobilise resources from relevant instruments for our membership, and to inform EU development programming.