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Humanitarian policy and partnerships

Australian Red Cross

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

The Government is providing Australian Red Cross with $50 million in humanitarian funding over a five-year period, from 2019 to 2024. This multi-year funding support is complemented by supplementary funding in response to sudden onset humanitarian crises. This includes over $42 million since 2019 to:

  • enable National Societies to work with ministries of health to respond to COVID-19 in the Pacific, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia and an explosion in Beirut
  • to work with national disaster management authorities to respond to cyclones in Fiji and Vanuatu, and flooding in Mongolia and Timor-Leste
  • to support communities affected by conflict in the Middle East and Ukraine
  • support food security and resilience in Africa.

The overall program goal is to achieve stronger, more resilient communities with increased capacity to prepare for, anticipate, respond to and recover from disasters and crises, with a priority focus on countries in Asia and the Pacific. 

Recognising the unique role the Australian Red Cross plays in international humanitarian action, a successor partnership is under design, to be implemented from 2025.

Enabling local leadership to respond to disasters and crises

The partnership with Australian Red Cross focuses on enabling National Societies to lead disaster and crisis response in their own contexts. National Societies across the Asia-Pacific work with local communities to strengthen knowledge, skills, practices and 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.

Strengthening disaster preparedness

The Partnership strengthens the emergency response capacity of partner governments and National Societies in disaster-affected countries, particularly across Asia and the Pacific, to enable timely, effective and appropriate responses to disasters.

Preparedness includes pre-positioning funding or supplies such as water, food, medical supplies and shelter ahead of a disaster to reduce the impact on communities. Activities to improve preparedness in the 2024 will focus on ramping up climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, including supporting partners to 'green' their supply chains, and conduct operational environmental impact assessments.

Enhancing capacity for early action

As the frequency and complexity of humanitarian crises increase, so too does the need for humanitarian action to be efficient, effective and accountable. Anticipatory or early action – providing support before a disaster or crisis – can save lives, protect assets and safeguard development gains.

Australian Red Cross 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 2024, a key focus of the Partnership will be supporting National Societies to invest in early action capabilities, to reduce the human and economic impact of disasters. The partnership will emphasise effective, gender-responsive, and socially inclusive humanitarian action for affected communities.

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 Australian Red Cross, the Government 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-induced risks, disaster management and public health emergencies.

Australian Red Cross works with humanitarian responders to increase understanding and consideration of the specific and differentiated needs of individuals and groups, including women and girls, people with disabilities and other people experiencing vulnerability. 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.

For additional information about the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, including Australian Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies or the International Committee of the Red Cross please visit their websites.

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