ONE FEDERATION - ONE MOVEMENT - ONE TEAM
Sven Mollekleiv – Candidate for President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The world today has never been in greater need of a strong and united Red Cross and Red Crescent.
In order to fulfill our unique mandate, President Mollekleiv believes that there are five central ideas that must be a basis for the work of the Governing Board, with all member national societies.
1) Strong National Societies are the bedrock of a strong Federation
Localisation of humanitarian aid – the very idea of being a National Society - has finally been internationally recognized as the only way forward to ensure efficient and sustainable humanitarian action.
This comparative advantage also requires respect for the right of the National Society in the affected country to define operational responses. The responsibility to respond cannot be placed solely on the shoulders of this National Society.
Assistance from the IFRC, the ICRC or Sister Societies must always reinforce and not replace the National Society. Only then will we succeed in having 190 strong and resilient Societies and an efficient Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. A Movement not competing with itself, undermining local efforts or setting up parallel systems.
2) Volunteers are the backbone of our humanitarian action
Our millions of volunteers are the basis for the trust we depend on from our people, governments, partners and donors. They are the basis for our ability to achieve results.
Volunteers emerge from, work within and respond to the needs in their own communities. This is the core of building resilience. Our greatest strength is our ability to mobilise, train, organise, equip and deploy volunteers.
In order for us to do so at all times, we must invest more in volunteering, not only through direct action, projects or programmes, but also through promoting legislation that is conducive to volunteering, which recognises voluntary service as meritorious in the eyes of employers and educational institutions, and which rewards volunteering as a noble obligation.
As a collective, through IFRC, we must work harder to protect the volunteers who risk their own safety to reach out a hand to someone in need. We should further develop instruments to provide proper insurance as well as support to survivors and families when incidents have occurred.
3) Youth must lead us into the future
Young people have the best qualifications to lead the Red Cross Red Crescent into a digital era we have only seen the start of. In Africa alone, 226 million people are aged between 15-24.
We need as many of them as possible to succeed in our humanitarian mission: we will not succeed unless youth are central to decision-making – at policy level as well as in managerial processes. The Governing Board has a responsibility to work as closely as possible with the Youth Commission, and to advocate to National Societies the goals that Youth set for themselves within the Federation.
4) A strong team brings out the best in each individual member
The IFRC is a membership organisation where everyone needs to participate to work effectively together as a team.
The Governing Board has to take increased responsibility for enabling real and effective participation and making the governance of our IFRC more relevant to the daily life of National Societies and consequently bring everyone closer to the decision making.
The Governing Board should also better recognize that we National Society leaders spend most of our time dealing with domestic issues and that we need to find better ways to support each other in carrying out our daily work, in practical, effective and sustainable ways.
And whenever one of us faces a humanitarian challenge beyond our own capacities, we have a shared responsibility to fill the gap – as a team effort – with a strong Secretariat to facilitate coordination of our work.
5) Partnership with the corporate sector will secure and strengthen our foundation
The humanitarian world is facing a new reality of donor cuts and financial uncertainty. We need to adapt to this reality through further diversification of resources in order to maintain and develop our ability to provide humanitarian assistance.
Collaboration with the corporate sector is generally underexploited by the Red Cross and Red Crescent. We need to move beyond the view of corporate social responsibility being primarily corporate donations.
The corporate sector may also be a source of expertise, innovation and technology, not to mention potential volunteers. Often we share an interest to contribute to stable societies with purchasing power, turning risks to opportunities and meeting challenges with sustainable solutions.
Partnering with the corporate sector may provide National Societies with a stronger foundation for humanitarian activities, stronger influence on humanitarian issues, and partners in implementation.
Under President Mollekleiv's presidency the Norwegian Red Cross has evolved to become one united organisation, one Red Cross, working across sectorial divisions to achieve common humanitarian goals.
Contacts for further information and / or comments:
Sven Mollekleiv, President: firstname.lastname@example.org
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