Belgium doubles its contribution to the International Red Cross (ICRC)
In a conversation today with ICRC President Peter Maurer, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo announced the doubling of Belgium’s contribution to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Over the course of the next three years, Belgium will contribute a total of 25,5 million euros to the overall operations of the ICRC. Additional funds will be allocated for specific conflict areas.
During the telephone conversation, Minister De Croo also praised the work of the ICRC and its staff, who work close to the front lines in conflict zones around the world. The ICRC seeks to promote and protect international humanitarian law, which is increasingly being trampled on.
Defense of international humanitarian law
Alexander De Croo: “Civilians in conflict zones are being targeted indiscriminately and communities are being starved. Assistance meant for victims must not be seized by belligerent parties. Rules set out in the Geneva Conventions apply in times of war. The International Committee of the Red Cross works to ensure that these rules are being respected while also providing help to civilians in conflict areas.”
Pioneer role in humanitarian innovation
Alexander De Croo and Peter Maurer also discussed the importance of humanitarian innovation, an area in which both Belgium and the ICRC play a pioneering role. Complex and long-lasting conflict situations are putting the more classic aid methods to the test. At the same time, more and more people have access to the internet, even in conflict areas. This allows victims of humanitarian crises to make their needs more readily known. The ICRC is one of the first large humanitarian organisations to have begun working on this unfolding digital transformation.
Alexander de Croo: “Belgium has been encouraging humanitarian innovation for years. By innovating, we can save more lives. The ICRC fully understands this message. The analysis of data from conflict areas enables more preventive and focused humanitarian action. Facial recognition software now being tested potentially allows families to track and find missing loved ones much quicker. In all these areas, the ICRC does groundbreaking work.”
First humanitarian impact bond
Belgium and the ICRC have been working closely as partners on innovation for years. Last year, they launched the very first Humanitarian Impact Bond in order to build rehabilitation centers in Nigeria, the DRC and Mali.
The ICRC is acknowledged worldwide for its humanitarian action in conflict areas, especially when it comes to the protection of the population, food aid and health care. Because of its strict adherence to humanitarian principles, the ICRC has often access to areas where no other humanitarian actor can go.