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Central Europe Regional Programmes Appeal No. 05AA066 Programme Update No. 1

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries. For more information: http://www.ifrc.org

In Brief

Period covered: 1 January 2005 to 30 June 2005;

Appeal target: CHF 2,260,819 (USD 1.79m or EURO 1.46m)

An appeal revision is being prepared and will be issued in the near future via a further programme update detailing and explaining the changes.

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals:

Romania: Floods emergency appeal issued in April 2005, and minor emergency appeal issued in July 2005; Bulgaria: Floods information bulletin issued June and July 2005; Bosnia & Herzegovina minor emergency appeal issued July 2005; Serbia and Montenegro emergency appeal issued in April 2005, Annual Appeals for Serbia and Montenegro including Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Programme summary:

Following the accession to the EU of eight countries in Central Europe on 1 May 2004, the regional delegation (RD) has phased out its support for the national societies in these new EU states. Previously covering 15 countries in Central Europe, from 1 January 2005 the regional delegation is supporting seven national societies in South Central Europe (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia & Montenegro including Kosovo). In addition support is continuing for long term change processes in the Polish and Latvian Red Cross. European Union accession remains a major issue in the region with the national societies in the next round accession countries looking to learn from the experiences of their sister national societies. The regional delegation is gearing up its support in this area - informing national societies of relevant calls for proposals for funding from the EU as well as supporting programme managers in application writing.

The response to the tsunami emergency needs - including the organization of national fundraising campaigns as well as international relief consignments - swamped national societies and the Regional Delegation at the beginning of 2005. Although no longer officially covering NS in the new EU states, guidance was provided by the RD to these NS in how to contribute to Federation appeals as a donor NS, as well as advice in managing relations with governments and negotiating relief contributions. Trained Emergency Response Unit (ERU) WatSan team members from the Macedonian Red Cross joined Austrian RC WatSan ERUs deployed in the region. A number of new initiatives were launched in the region during the spring. For the first time in over four years, governance and management leaders from the national societies in the region met in Budapest to look at issues such as the Federation's statutory meetings in Seoul in November this year, regional planning priorities and the Federation of the Future process. The participatory community development (PCD) programme and training materials were finalized in CD-rom form at and distributed widely. The process was introduced to community development coordinators in East Africa. Requests for support to develop similar processes in other parts of the world have followed. At the same time a group was set up to develop guidelines for best practice in working with Roma communities, supported by the Danish Red Cross with funds and a consultant to lead the guidelines development.

In the health and care programme the focus continued on supporting national societies in developing ac cess to international and national sources of funding for HIV/AIDS and TB programmes, specifically through the Global Fund. The RD's role in identifying needs and matching with regional best practice and resources continued - in the fields of blood donor recruitment and HIV/AIDS programmes. A new member of staff joined the RD in June - Sonja Tanevska - from the Macedonian Red Cross - who will take over the role of regional health and care coordinator when Annamari Raikkola finishes her mission in July.

Flooding in Serbia & Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Romania caused extensive damage in late spring and early summer. DREF allocations were approved for three national societies to enable immediate relief operations to begin. An emergency appeal was launched for Romania in April to provide assistance over a six-month period after this year's crops were destroyed, followed by a minor emergency appeal in July, when flooding hit another part of the country. An Information Bulletin was issued for Bulgaria where a one-month relief operation is providing hygiene and cleaning materials to support post-flood operations. Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) training went ahead in Bulgaria in June, coinciding with the floods. Facilitators and participants from the RDRT training took part in assessment missions to inform the relief planning process. In Bosnia and Herzegovina flooding in late June and July led to the launch of a minor emergency appeal there.

In Organisational Development (OD) the focus of support continued for the change processes in Romanian, Latvian and Polish Red Cross. With the Romanian Red Cross approaching the end of a 3-year programme, discussions have taken place on how to consolidate the branch and headquarters relationship as well as encourage longer term sustainable support for the national society development in general. In Poland, significant staffing changes have led to a new impetus in the programme and a raised level of ownership and commitment for the financial and branch development aspects.

Operational developments

With the change in the geographical coverage of the Regional Delegation as of 1 January 2005, much work has gone into looking at the consequences of this for the future role and functions of the RD. It is clear that the national societies in the new accession countries (Bulgaria and Romania) as well as Croatia can benefit from the experience of the first round of accession which led to EU membership for eight countries in the region on 1 May 2004. Turning potential new EU funding opportunities into longer term secured funding sources is just one dimension of the EU debate, and one which requires an appropriate level of capacity to manage large scale programmes. Opportunities to tap into funding at a regional level in country may be more realistic for national societies. There is also discussion about the role national societies can play as a lead in civil society in preparing for the EU - comprising the issues of meeting standards and normatives, networking and partnership development. The RD is continuing to plan with national societies to identify concrete areas for support to ensure that preparations are comprehensive.

Response to the appeal has been good. The main donors are the Swedish Red Cross, Swedish government, Norwegian government, Norwegian Red Cross, the Federation's Capacity Building Fund, Finnish Red Cross, British Red Cross and Icelandic Red Cross. The most pressing funding issue, is the situation for the Bulgarian and Romanian Red Cross. Due to the EU accession status of the two countries, traditional sources of funding through donor national society governments have ended. Support for health and PCD programmes has been affected in this way. Together with the national societies, the RD is looking for alternative sources of funding, including EU funds. Funding gaps in the health and care programme mean that the focus continues on HIV/AIDS & TB and other activities (within the psycho-social support programme, blood donor recruitment and community-based first aid) are jeopardized.

The added value of having flexible, non earmarked funding confirmed early in the year - as with the Swedish government and Red Cross funding - is clear in the activity implementation and service provision context. Norwegian government and Red Cross funding was also confirmed before the beginning, enabling activities to continue according to plan and capacity. Delays in implementation of the finance development aspect of the Polish Red Cross change process led to delays in confirmation of the second year of funding. However this was finally confirmed in June, enabling the national society to proceed with other objectives in the overall programme of change in parallel with finance issues.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

Anja Toivola, HoRD, Regional Delegation for Central Europe, Phone: 361 2483300, Email: ifrchu05@ifrc.org

Erja Reinikainen, Regional Officer, Europe Department, Phone : 41 22 730 43 19; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email: Erja.Reinikainen@ifrc.org

This Programme Update reflects activities to be implemented over a one-year period. This forms part of, and is based on, longer -term, multi-year planning (refer below to access the detailed logframe documents). All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org

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