At the annual meeting of the ICRC Donor Support Group in Bonn the parameters were set for the future work of one of the most important humanitarian agencies. After a successful year chairing the Donor Support Group, Germany is handing over the baton to Canada.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is one of the key international humanitarian agencies – and an important partner for Germany when it comes to trying to help people in need. Germany has chaired the ICRC Donor Support Group for the last 12 months. The Group’s task is to provide a forum in which the ICRC’s major donors can exchange views on how to optimise operations in humanitarian crises. At the Donor Support Group’s annual meeting in Bonn on 8 and 9 June, Germany looked back over the work done during its chairmanship.
The work of the ICRC
Together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as well as the national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC – founded in 1863 – forms the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The ICRC (based in Geneva) works all over the globe to protect the victims of armed conflicts and coordinates international relief operations. Compliance with international humanitarian law is especially important to the ICRC’s work. Last week marked the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Protocols of 8 June 1977 additional to the Geneva Convention, which further enhanced the protection of the civilian population in armed conflicts.
Priorities of Germany’s cooperation with the ICRC
Humanitarian assistance is increasingly dominated by protracted crises. Relief organisations and donors must adapt to this situation. As Chair of the Donor Support Group, Germany made dealing with protracted crises the main focus of its chairmanship. It is clear that long‑term pledges of support by donors make it possible for aid workers to plan their operations better. For many years now, the Federal Foreign Office has therefore been carrying out multiannual humanitarian assistance projects with the ICRC. At the same time, local structures have to be strengthened – for aid workers on the ground are the quickest to reach areas where humanitarian assistance is required. Many refugees around the world are dependent on humanitarian aid. A key approach is to provide assistance in the areas where the refugees come from. The ICRC is doing important work there.
For the steadily increasing humanitarian need around the world means that new donors step up their commitment to humanitarian assistance and the ICRC in particular. Germany is encouraging and supporting new donors and partners for the ICRC.
How Germany supports the ICRC
In 2016 alone, the Federal Foreign Office made available more than 111 million euros for ICRC humanitarian aid projects. This year, too, the ICRC will receive more than 100 million euros, mainly in Africa and the Middle East. Special attention is being paid to the current hunger crises in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia – in these countries alone, more than 35 million euros will be used to help people in need.
Germany took over the – one‑year – chairmanship of the ICRC Donor Support Group for the second time in July 2016, the first time having been back in 2000/2001. Canada will take over from Germany next month. As a member of the ICRC Donor Support Group, Germany will continue to take part in the ICRC’s strategic direction and planning for the future.