For Red Helmets at the UN…
As a consequence of global warming, natural disasters continue to increase. South-East Asia tsunami of 2004, Katrina in 2005, Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011… No place is spared. Each year, on average, almost 250 million people are affected by natural disasters. This could grow by more than 50 per cent to an average of over 375 million people affected.
The humanitarian community is not strong enough to face alone these challenges. We do not need another actor: NGOs and intergovernmental agencies are already doing a considerable work. We do not need a new philosophy. Only one is worth it: saving lives. Humanitarian world needs preparation, framing, coordination, regulation, etc. It needs a “humanitarian intelligence” to anticipate and unify its action. This is why we need Red Helmets at the UN, as Nicole Guedj has been calling for, since 1997.
To be legitimate to all UN members states, the Red Helmets have to be neutral. Non political, non confessional and totally demilitarized, they will be able to provide assistance to all endangered people. Gathered under an unique humanitarian banner, they will be the most relevant force to act in areas usually opposed to all foreign help.
To promote solidarity and support, the Red Helmets will ensure the pooling of all human, material and financial resources of crisis actors, while protecting the independence of the latter. Therefore, the Red Helmets will coordinate and unify all the efforts of the humanitarian world, in order to get more efficiency and avoid disorganization and loss of resources.
On the field, the Red Helmets will try to give their information and capacities to all actors, by advising them on an emergency plan adapted to the situation and allowing the best involvement of all.
To reach these aims, the Red Helmets will be composed as followed:
- A High Command, in charge of managing the humanitarian action all over the world. It will focus on developing strategies for disaster management.
- Regional centers, on the five continents, in charge of connecting the local humanitarian network
- An operational force, able to act in emergency situations, will back up the operations on the field.
We can create a more effective and sustainable humanitarian world.
The international community must be aware that we need to provide a conductor to the humanitarian action, who would be neutral and impartial, the spin of this new coordination force.
They support the Red Helmets project
Nicole Guedj has been joined in this fight by the Professor Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize, Abdou Diouf, President of the International Organization of French Speaking Communities, the late-lamented Cardinal Lustiger and Professor François Gros, Permanent Secretary of the Academy of Sciences.
In 2005, Nicole Guedj persuaded the President of the French Republic to put forward this proposition to the United Nations on behalf of the French people. Kofi Annan, then UN Secretary-General accepted the principle and enlightened the fact that “we need a mechanism to react very quickly and efficiently to similar disasters at anytime and anywhere”.
In Haiti, right after the major earthquake of January 2010, Nicole Guedj met the President René Préval, who witnessed the huge humanitarian disorganization in his country. They co-signed a “Call for Red Helmets at the UN” in the international press and presented this project to Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, in New York in March 2010.
In an opinion column published on the 11th of June 2010, Federico Mayor Zaragoza denounced : “the difficulties met by the international community to manage natural disasters”. The former director of UNESCO advised to “support the creation of Red Helmets, an exclusively humanitarian and supranational force”
They also support the project
Jean Ping, President of the African Union
“In the end, if it was Africa, united, who carried the Red Helmets to the General Assembly of the United Nations? United Africa could carve in the marble of the African Union’s charter the Right for Relief."
Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, President of Togo
"We need the Red Helmets, since the international community goes through difficult times »
Amadou Toumani Touré, President of Malia
«I assure my availibility and that of my governement to the Red Helmets Foundation to support this project »
Ali Bongo, President of Gabon
« I subscribe entirely to the creation of an International Humanitarian Rapid Reaction Force”
Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso
« I am pleased to welcome the implementation of this instrument of peace and stability (…)
questions linked to human security have always been very important for my country ».
Hu Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
"The royal government of Cambodia supports the Red Helmets Foundation for its noble determination to answer the needs of victims of conflicts and natural disasters.»
Michel Sleiman, President of Libanon
‘I am in favour of the implementation of a new model of humanitarian governance, with Red Helmets at the UN”.
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