The Red Cross and Red Crescent have always strived for a more humane and peaceful world; one in which the wellbeing and aspirations of the most vulnerable and marginalised people around the world are cared for and prioritised. It does so through an extraordinary global network of local humanitarians that come from and accompany communities and individuals who are experiencing hardship, but who also have rights, skills and capacities. Strategy 2030 embodies this longstanding vision and further develops it, to ensure that the Red Cross and Red Crescent, remains as fit for purpose today and tomorrow as it has been in the past.
Strategy 2030 is about change. It is about changing not just what we do, but how we do it, so that we are even better able to save lives, accompany people and support their resilience. It is about the changes that are shifting the world today and those that lie ahead. It is about how these changes present both threats and opportunities to humanity, and how they are shifting the very nature of vulnerability, about who is vulnerable, why, where and for how long. It recognises that new approaches are needed to tackle the persistent challenges that continue to burden people around the world alongside the many new emerging challenges. It is also a strategy of hope and trust in the power of humanity to mobilise for good and to drive positive change.
Strategy 2030 is about the changes that are needed within our International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies so that we can continue to make a positive contribution.
It proposes incremental shifts that build on the mandate and substantial strengths of National Societies, alongside the transformations that challenge us all to think beyond the status quo. Strategy 2030 seeks to guide National Societies and their secretariat to build on what has worked in the past to become more connected, agile and dynamic, and better able to rise to the challenges of the next decade and beyond, to ensure that those most vulnerable are not left behind and that the benefits of a prosperous and sustainable world are felt by all.
The changes of the 21st century are complex and inter-related.
The consequences of climate change are already a reality for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people. It is exacerbating almost all areas of vulnerability and is one of, but not the only factor contributing to an increase in the frequency and severity of disasters and other types of crises. New and unexpected health threats are emerging alongside persistent health challenges that continue to disproportionately affect the world’s poor. These factors along with many others will drive increased migration and displacement, at a time where compassion for people on the move is particularly low.
Beneath these global challenges lie a multitude of local changes that are also affecting how people are leading their lives. Technology has helped the world to be more connected than ever but, in many countries, societies are becoming – or at risk of becoming – more fractured and less inclusive. Intolerance, hate speech and crimes are on the rise. People have greater expectations of accountability and transparency from leaders. Many demand inclusion and expect to be seen and heard. They want opportunities and equitable access to resources. However, in most parts of the world, inequality is climbing, with money and power increasingly narrowly concentrated. As a result, many people seem to be losing trust in institutions and are taking direct action through social movements.
We find ourselves at a moment in time when our work is more important than ever.
We have the responsibility to use our reach and our resources effectively. To do this we must listen, think and be ready to act differently, and be open to learning and adapting along the way. To ensure that National Societies are truly able, at all times to respond to the needs of their own communities, leadership and decision-making must shift to the most local level – to communities, volunteers, local units and National Societies responding to emergencies and other everyday needs. Local communities and people are very often best placed to decide and act on whatever affects them, and their engagement with local, national and international structures should enhance their agency.
Becoming more local should not mean becoming more isolated. In the coming decade, we need to develop and transform how we work as a network. We also need to think beyond the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and engage with a more diverse group of partners. This will involve demonstrating our leadership but at times it will also mean a willingness to join the efforts of others, and to work collaboratively with a wider range of actors to address complex challenges.
These new partnerships – with each other and with the wider world – should be built on mutual trust. Trust is critical to our work: it is why we can reach marginalized and isolated communities that most organisations and networks cannot. To preserve and enhance it, we must be transparent and accountable in all we do with communities, with our partners, donors, the public and with each other. We need to continually demonstrate the highest standards of integrity and accountability, and be open and responsive about our processes, results, decisions and even our mistakes. Our leaders must embody the principles we aspire to and drive cultures that are respectful and supportive, that celebrate and are strengthened by diversity, and foster the equitable inclusion of women and all.
We will re-imagine our work with and through volunteers. We are fundamentally a volunteers’ organization and this is our organizational model and ethos. The way people volunteer today and in the future is very different to even a decade ago. To remain effective, we must explore and create more open models of volunteering, providing resources, tools, skills, expertise, new partnerships, platforms and spaces where people, and particularly young people, can create and implement the change they want to see in the world.
Over the coming decade, we will need to strengthen our partnerships with governments and decision makers, including by finding new ways to capitalize on the privilege, duties and responsibilities of our auxiliary roles. Our ability to influence governments and partners will at times also require us to stand up on the most confronting issues affecting humanity.
We recognise this will require us to be anticipatory, forward-looking, and invest in spaces for experimentation and innovation that can become mainstream when successful. We know that in such a dynamic world, agility and the ability to capitalise on opportunities will be essential. We also commit to continuous digital transformation to facilitate collective learning, intelligence, and action for the 21st century, and to take advantage of advancements in technology while also addressing the new risks emerging from it.
Finally, our capacity to rise to the global challenges of the coming decade will depend on our ability to mobilise new resources from a more diverse group of partners. This again, will require changes in how we work.