The North Africa region, made up of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, is economically and demographically diverse. These five middle income countries were generally on track in 2010 to achieving the health Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target by 2015, even if facing significant rural and urban disparities and gaps in coverage.
The North Africa region is experiencing an unprecedented and decisive moment of its history, made of rupture, hope and risks. The wind of revolution which started to blow from Tunisia in December 2010 has modified the geopolitical, economic and social map of this part of the world. Youth have voiced in new ways their aspirations for a say in the decisions that affect their lives, and for the transparent and accountable governance.
Each of the five countries of North Africa appears to be embarking in a crucial political change for the years ahead, especially in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, and no one can predict the duration of the current transition period on the road to greater democratic governance.
In the face of the current context of the region, in line with IFRC Strategy 2020 and responding to the demands expressed by the National Societies, the Plan of Action 2012 for North Africa was designed with the aim to support the five National Societies to better preserve their integrity, independence and image, and adapt them to the needs and challenges according to the new context of political transition. Furthermore a special focus has been given to the support of the National Societies in the following priorities for the period 2012:
Continue to build a clear auxiliary role with the authorities, in accordance with the Movement status
Greater promote the Red Cross /Red Crescent Principles and Values, inside and outside the organisation
Strengthen the RC/RC Youth involvement and position the youth in the core of the RC/RC response
Improve disaster management capacities, especially for man-made disasters (civil unrest, urban violence, migration, traffic injuries)
Reinforce humanitarian diplomacy and organisational capacities
The activities have been carried out according to the plan with a higher focus on the implementation of the “civil unrest emergency appeal” for Tunisia, Libya and Egypt which enabled to reach the following main outcomes:
· Reinforcing the structure and systems of the National Societies
· Strengthening of logistic capacities and upgrading first aid capacities for possible future crises
· Ensuring an effective communication strategy
At the same time the last phase of the EuropeAid funded project “Improving protection and living conditions of migrants in North Africa” came to an end. Run together with the National Societies of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya it enabled to achieve the following outcomes:
· Conducting more than 50 dissemination activities to raise awareness migration issues
· Enhancing community resilience towards disasters
· Increasing involvement of young people at National Society level
· Promoting a wider understanding of the Red Cross Red Crescent model for longer-term sustainable development
In addition three new initiatives have been identified and implemented:
· DFID initiative, with focus on volunteer management and capacity building of disaster response and first aid, with the following National Societies: Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt
· Project on organisation development and capacity building regarding volunteers and youth, with the Algerian Red Crescent and with the support of the Norwegian Red Cross
· Project of literacy of youth with the Moroccan Red Crescent, with the support of Lebara Foundation
The main achievement of the implemented plan of action can be summarized as follows:
· The experience gained during the last two years, since the Arab uprising erupted, has allowed the five National Societies in North Africa to upgrade their management structure and enhance capacities in terms of disaster preparedness and response, volunteer recruitment and management, youth involvement and practical implementation of Principles and Values.
· The National Societies are better prepared to respond immediately to disasters, volunteers are trained, equipped and systems of management and intervention are improved, including promotion, protection and recognition.
· The National Societies have improved their positive public image among the community thanks to the excellent work undertaken by volunteers in the field. They have also enhanced their auxiliary role towards the authorities being integrated within the national contingency plans as privileged partners.