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Red Cross and AusAID team up to help vulnerable communities

Friday December 3, 2010

Australian Red Cross and AusAID have signed an historic Partnership Agreement to pool their expertise, experience and capacity to benefit vulnerable communities across the Asia/Pacific and around the world.

The Agreement, which was signed at the weekend, is the first of its kind between Australian Red Cross and AusAID. It will guide cooperation between the two organisations over the next three years.

"The aim of this agreement is to enhance Australian Red Cross and AusAID's contribution to the provision of humanitarian support worldwide. In a nutshell it's about helping the most vulnerable people and communities to achieve healthier, safer, more protected and sustainable lives," Australian Red Cross Acting CEO, Michael Raper said.

"It will also create opportunities to try innovative ideas and new ways of working in communities and countries dealing with situations of need and conflict - be it an earthquake-ravaged developing nation or a resource-poor community facing a disease epidemic."

AusAID Director General Peter Baxter said the agreement would provide approximately $20 million to the Australian Red Cross over the next three years and reflected AusAID's long-standing cooperation with the Red Cross in providing funds and expertise to ease suffering in conflicts and following natural disasters.

"In the past year we have provided support through the Australian Red Cross for natural disasters in Pakistan, Haiti, Mongolia, Fiji, Burma, Vietnam and Tajikistan; to support the International Committee of the Red Cross in responding to situations of conflict; and to promote humanitarian values.

This Agreement is about combining the strengths of the Red Cross' global network with AusAID's resources and systems as an effective humanitarian donor to enable greater flexibility and produce a collective ability to prepare for disasters and respond to emergencies on a global basis," Mr Baxter said.

Mr Raper said: "Almost 40 per cent of the world's disasters each year occur in the Asia and Pacific. The pressure of the region's rapidly increasing population is forcing more and more communities to live in areas exposed to natural disasters - disasters such as major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and monsoon flooding."

The Partnership Agreement will enable Red Cross to send aid workers to natural disaster and conflict zones overseas, and will strengthen disaster risk reduction programs. It will also help increase the capacity of other Red Cross National Societies in the Asia Pacific region to better respond to the needs of vulnerable populations.

"The Agreement will strengthen an already strong relationship," Mr Raper said.

"The Agreement recognises that the Red Cross movement - along with Governments, the United Nations and the NGO community - is one of the world's leaders in the humanitarian field. It also makes a commitment to helping increase public awareness of International Humanitarian Law and humanitarian values - a body of law and principles that underpin and drive the work of Red Cross worldwide."

For media enquiries or to arrange interviews contact Red Cross media adviser Kim Batchelor on 0457 542 113 or