Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) announced the details of the consultative meeting of MENA National Societies, which will take place from 12 to 14 January 2015 at Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park.

QRC Secretary-General, Saleh bin Ali Al Mohannadi, said:

QRC was selected to host this important meeting in recognition of its active role in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and its extensive experience in relief, development, and humanitarian advocacy and diplomacy, particularly in such a strategic part of the world.’

According to Al Mohannadi, the purpose of the meeting is to unify collective efforts of MENA National Societies and facilitate joint humanitarian action, in light of the key recommendations adopted in the previous meetings in Cairo (2012), Tehran (2013), and Tunisia (2014), as well as the International RCRC Movement constitutional meetings in Sidney (2013). He said:

The meeting will be attended by representatives of 31 MENA and non-MENA National Societies, including all the Arab countries, Iran, France, America, UK, Germany, Norway, and Denmark. Other guests include senior officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) — notably IFRC Secretary-General, Elhadj As Sy, and Under-Secretary-General, Matthias Schmale — and Dr Abdullah Mohamed Al Hazzaa, Secretary-General of the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization.’

According to the agenda, the first day will see discussions on the current humanitarian conditions in the MENA region in general, and particularly in crisis-stricken countries, such as Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Lebanon, and Jordan, and will explore ways to develop a unified regional strategy to approach them.

Among the major issues to be discussed are the exchange of experience and capabilities for better disaster preparedness and response, thus keeping updated with humanitarian developments; systematic supervision and effective participation from National Societies in relation to the planning and taking stock of IFRC contributions; following up on the decisions of the 8th Asia Pacific Conference, the 8th MENA Conference, and other relevant conferences.

The participants will also consider how to promote the role of youths, highlight the importance of engaging them in National Society activities, examine the MENA humanitarian conditions amid the status quo and political instabilities, and prioritise the agendas of MENA National Societies, keeping in mind the challenges they face, mainly the increasing humanitarian needs and limited resources to meet them.

In the end, the meeting will come up with a set of practical recommendations that can improve the humanitarian situation across the region and identify mechanisms to enforce them.

On the second day, constitutional meetings will be held to review the amendments proposed to the International RCRC Movement charter known as the Seville Agreement, as well as to make preliminary deliberations about RCRC coordination and guidelines of using Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems in the media.

Finally, the third day will feature discussions about recommendations for the World Humanitarian Summit to be convened by the United Nations in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2016, and how to engage National Societies strongly in preparing for it and contributing to its success.

Established in 1978, QRC is a humanitarian charitable organisation that aims to assist and empower vulnerable individuals and communities without partiality or discrimination. QRC is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which consists of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) in Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and 189 national societies. QRC is also a member of several Gulf, Arab, and Islamic assemblies, such as: the Islamic Committee of International Crescent and the Secretariat-General of the Arab Organization of Red Crescent and Red Cross. In this legally recognised capacity, QRC has access to disaster and conflict zones, thus serving as an auxiliary to the State of Qatar in its humanitarian efforts, a role that distinguishes it from other local charitable or philanthropic organisations. QRC operates both locally and internationally and has ongoing international relief and development projects in a number of countries throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe.