Focus on developing a resilient Asia

21/09/2012 – Colombo, Sri Lanka : The Asia-Pacific Red Cross Forum, co-sponsored by the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) and the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM) took place in Beijing, China this month.

The objective of the Forum was to discuss about challenges in global humanitarian work and to understand the needs of humanitarian aid in Asia Pacific. It explored new opportunities and ways for Asia-Pacific humanitarian cooperation under the new globe context.

The Forum saw the participation of leaders from 19 national Red Cross societies in Asia-Pacific countries, including Sri Lanka.  Also experts from international organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the British Red Cross as well as representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the Ministry of Commerce of China took part in the event.

Meanwhile the Director General of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Tissa Abeywickrama was the guest speaker on the subject Development trends, challenges and response in a context of global climate change and natural disaster, and the best practices of community disaster preparedness and sustainable development in Asia-Pacific region.

Addressing the gathering the Director General said the time has come for the Red Cross to focus more on community oriented programmes that will help people across the region to be more resilient towards future disasters.

“I believe vulnerability focused community oriented programs can deliver impactful and sustainable community development, if they are undertaken in an integrated manner. And it is important to become a considerate and a sincere partner to the most vulnerable people we assist. The community should lead activities in a participatory manner technically and resourcefully supported by Red Cross.”

However he said that these programmes might take longer time than expected.

“However it must be noted that design and development of community based integrated programs takes longer time. But community oriented and community driven model becomes a serious catalyst to restoring resilient communities undoubtedly.”

(To read the full script of the Director General’s speech click this link)

Various dignitaries were present at the occasion including, Mr. Hua Jianmin – Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China and the President of the Red Cross Society of China, Dr. Zhao Baige – Executive Vice President of the Red Cross Society of China, Tadateru Konoe – President of the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies, Greg Vickery – Chairman of the Standing Commission of RCRC.

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