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Humanitarian policy and partnerships

Australian Red Cross

The Australian Red Cross (ARC) is one of Australia's most trusted and effective partners in disaster preparedness and response. Through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies the Australian Red Cross is part of the largest humanitarian network in the world, with links to 190 National Societies around the world.

Australia is providing the ARC with $50 million in humanitarian funding over a five-year period, from 2019 to 2024. This partnership emphasises the critical role communities play in disaster risk management and the essential relationship between national societies and the communities they serve.

National Societies across the Asia-Pacific work with local communities to strengthen knowledge, skills and practices and establish locally relevant systems that enable communities to reduce their vulnerability to disaster risks and prepare for, anticipate, respond to and recover from disasters and crises when they occur.

Australia's partnership with the Australian Red Cross helps achieve key humanitarian objectives.

Strengthening disaster preparedness

This involves building the emergency response capacity of partner governments and National Societies in disaster-affected countries, particularly across the Pacific, to enable timely, effective and appropriate responses to disasters.

Importantly, preparedness includes a focus on strengthening responses to COVID-19 and outbreaks of other infectious diseases. Activities to improve preparedness in the year ahead will focus on ramping up climate efforts, including supporting partners to green their supply chains, and conduct operational environmental impact assessments.

Building capacity for early action

As the frequency and complexity of humanitarian crises increase, so too does the need for our responses to be efficient, effective and accountable. Anticipatory and early action – providing support before a crisis – saves lives, protects assets and safeguards development gains.

The ARC is collaborating across the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to strengthen partners’ anticipatory action capability. This includes supporting countries across the region, with a particular focus on the Pacific, to establish triggers related to multi-hazard forecasts, and take pre-agreed actions before disasters strike, to reduce their impact.

In 2022, a key focus of the partnership will be supporting National Societies to strengthen their relationships with national meteorological services and relevant bodies, to increase their access to climate and ocean scientific data.

Delivering locally led inclusive and accountable humanitarian responses

Contextually appropriate humanitarian tools, policies and standards for local use are key factors in delivering successful humanitarian responses to disasters. Through our partnership with the ARC, Australia is supporting the development of stronger disaster management policy and legal frameworks in the Asia-Pacific region, with a focus on enhancing the integration of climate, disaster management and public health emergencies.

The ARC takes an intersectional approach to inclusion and is working with partners and humanitarian responders to increase understanding and consideration of the specific and differentiated needs of individuals and groups. This ensures inclusive approaches to the design and delivery of humanitarian services that promote the dignity, access, participation and safety of all. Specific activities include the development and delivery of training and guidelines, including on disability inclusion.

The Australian Government’s multi-year funding support to the ARC is complemented by supplementary funding in response to sudden onset humanitarian crises. This includes over $14 million provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as at January 2022.

Additional information about the ARC, or the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement can be found via their websites.

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