In the context of the Asia Pacific zone, its demographic, socio-economic and environmental trends, and the International Federation's strategic priorities, the Pacific region covers a vast geographical area comprising thousands of islands and atolls. The majority of Pacific island countries contend with the challenges of smallness and geographic isolation. The Pacific island countries are the most heavily aid-assisted part of the world on a per capita basis. The high rates of migration in the region are primarily a response to real and perceived inequalities in socio-economic opportunities.
A variety of hazards including cyclones, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides - constitute a significant part of the vulnerability of Pacific island countries. It is well established that the frequency and intensity of the occurrence of hydro-meteorological events in the region is likely to be exacerbated by the impacts of climate change.
Small island countries have fragile water resources due to their small size, lack of natural storage and competing land use, vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic hazards and urban pollution. Other important health challenges include high fertility rates, the continued prevalence of communicable diseases and the emerging threat of HIV, combined with a rising, and in many cases, a crisis in non-communicable disease prevalence. In Melanesia, the threat of gender based violence impacts all aspects of women's lives and increases their vulnerability to HIV. Increasing unemployment and under-employment are a major concern, especially for the region's youth, women and those with disabilities.
The fourteen Red Cross societies of the Pacific are well positioned to play an increasingly significant role in times of disasters and crisis and in helping to meet the health and social challenges of the region. Through their local volunteer-led branch network, Red Cross societies have greater reach into communities than any other civil society actor. Through their disaster management, health and risk reduction programmes the Pacific Red Cross societies contribute to achieving national development objectives, including national Millennium Development Goals and the 2005-2010 Pacific Plan initiatives.
In the Pacific, the International Federation's regional office has developed its 2010-2011 plan based on the objectives identified by its regional members. The focus of the 2010-2011 plan is to support Red Cross societies to become better functioning and well governed civil society leaders, with the ability to plan, resource and manage programmes that address the needs of the most vulnerable men, women and children.
The goals, means of delivery and strategic framework of this Pacific region plan fit within the International Federation's wider Asia Pacific zone strategy, guided by the International Federation's newly adopted Strategy 2020. The priorities in the coming two years are to:
- Build safer and more resilient communities through services to member national societies that increase the reach and impact of their programmes;
- Strengthen Red Cross Red Crescent mechanisms and networks that build mutual capacity, improve knowledge sharing, and increase leverage of collective voice;
- Influence changes in humanitarian policies and practices through improved access to and cooperation with governments and key institutions;
- Diversify financial and human resources for the benefit of programmes at the national level through a collective Red Cross Red Crescent approach
- Lead and coordinate zone, regional and country planning, performance and accountability mechanisms to increase Red Cross Red Crescent effectiveness and efficiency.
In specific terms, in the coming two years the International Federation's Pacific regional office will support Pacific national societies with their activities related to preparing and responding to natural and human-made disasters. An added dimension of this work will be their role in encouraging governments to be better prepared legislatively to facilitate and regulate international disaster response. A second axis of the support to the national societies will be in the area of health (HIV prevention, blood safety, community based health and first aid (including addressing issues related to chronic diseases) , water, sanitation and hygiene promotion) and reducing disaster risk, with the aim of preventing and reducing the underlying causes of vulnerability and bolstering community resilience.
The total budget for the International Federation's plan in 2010 is CHF 1,771,839 (USD 1.71 million or EUR 1.16 million) and for 2011 is CHF 1,771,839 (USD 1.71 million or 1.16 million).