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PRCS Partakes in the MENA Humanitarian Leadership Conference in Cairo


PRCS President Dr. Younis Al-Khatib, the Society’s Director General Marwan Jilani, and Mrs. Tanya Shawar, International Movement Advisor to the President, took part in the Middle East and North Africa Humanitarian Leadership Conference held in Cairo from 28 February to 2 March 2022. Organized by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Egyptian Red Crescent Society, the conference was held under the banner “A vision for a better future”.

The conference’s opening session was attended by Dr. Nivine Al Qabbage, Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity, Mr. Francesco Rocca, President of the IFRC, Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, IFRC Regional Director, government representatives, presidents of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from the MENA region, and members from the Governing Board of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society. 

During the conference, National Society presidents met with IFRC and ICRC leadership as well as with Directors from UN regional offices, relevant stakeholders and representatives from the Egyptian government to discuss current humanitarian challenges in the region and to exchange experiences and lessons learned.

The conference focused on a number of key humanitarian priorities and challenges, mainly enhancing regional and international coordination, enabling IM constituents to better engage in partnerships, and enhancing their response to the current climate crisis and related disasters, conflicts and health emergencies. Moreover, it underlined the auxiliary role played by National Societies, helping public authorities achieve their objectives, and harnessing the power of volunteers and communities to promote humanitarian services.

PRCS Director General chaired a number of sessions during the conference, mainly a session on the vital role of youth and volunteers in shaping humanitarian action. He provided a detailed overview of services provided by PRCS in the health and rehabilitation fields, as well as of its efforts to engage local communities in the implementation of programs, plans and the Society’s vision. He touched on the situation in the oPt, humanitarian services provided by PRCS to Palestinians, as well as challenges faced by PRCS in terms of recurrent Israeli violations against medical teams in the line of duty in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

The conference aimed at engaging National Societies from the MENA region in developing national adaptation plans, exchanging experiences and know-how relating to the Covid-19 response, responding to future challenges, and giving priority to preventive humanitarian diplomacy in cooperation with grassroots, stakeholders, donors and partners.

Participants agreed on a set of recommendations to address the increasing humanitarian challenges in the region. They included:

Working hand in hand with nature, and using nature-based solutions to enhance and/or build resilience;

Engaging in the development of National Adaptation Plans in line with the role of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as auxiliaries to public authorities which enables them to lead climate action at the local level;

Empowering youth as agents of change to change leaders’ mindsets, advocate for change and address climate and environmental crises;

Working proactively to formalize and implement cross-sectoral and multi-agency partnerships that include key public bodies/authorities to scale up humanitarian preparedness and response with a focus on vulnerable communities, people on the move, protracted crises, epidemics/pandemics, and natural disasters;

Ensuring IFRC support to the localization of humanitarian work as well as its supervision of efforts aiming to make humanitarian action “as local as possible and as international as necessary”;

Continuing IFRC’s strategic approach to National Society development with a view to strengthening National Societies and their branches and to promoting quality leadership, transparent financial management, relationships with authorities and community engagement and participation;

Conducting Humanitarian Diplomacy efforts to promote the added value of Red Cross/Crescent Societies as auxiliaries to public authorities, and increasing outreach through volunteers.