Deputy Prime Minister Trần Lưu Quang speaks at the 11th Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Hà Nội on November 21. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tùng

The 11th Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (AP-11), hosted by the Vietnam Red Cross Society, opened in Hà Nội on Tuesday.

Themed “Asia-Pacific: Prepared for disaster”, the AP-11 was attended by 450 participants, including 100 domestic members and 350 international guests from all national Red Cross and Red Crescent associations in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East - North Africa region.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trần Lưu Quang emphasised that humanity and "mutual affection" are the nature and good traditions of the Vietnamese people.

“Việt Nam always wants to contribute in the most positive and effective way to the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement,” said Quang.

The Deputy PM also suggested that Governments, international and regional organisations and relevant parties should give higher priority and more resources to humanitarian activities.

“It is necessary to consider humanitarian work a common task of the entire society, and continue to promote cooperation at the national, bilateral, regional and global levels, especially in strategic and policy planning, mobilisation and management of resources.

“In addition to common efforts to prevent and resolve the consequences of traditional wars and conflicts, international humanitarian activities should focus more on preventing and effectively responding to non-traditional security challenges such as disasters, natural disasters and epidemics. These are issues that can arise at any time, are not separated by geographical space and can have a severe impact on all countries, regardless of level of development," stressed Quang.

At the same time, Quang added, the international community should continue making its best efforts to prevent conflicts and wars, eliminate hunger and reduce poverty, and promote equitable, sustainable and inclusive development; to ensure that no nation or community is left behind.

Representatives of the IFRC present its logo to the president of the Vietnam Red Cross Society Bùi Thị Hòa at the event. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tùng

In the opening remarks, the President of the Việt Nam Red Cross Society Bùi Thị Hòa said the Asia-Pacific is a region that suffers many risks and damages from climate change, especially natural disasters. In particular, Việt Nam is at the centre of an area that often faces natural disasters and is on the list of 10 countries with the most serious damage.

“This conference marks an important milestone in the efforts of national societies to address the humanitarian challenges facing our region. Given the growing complexity of crises caused by natural disasters, epidemics and conflicts, the need to cooperate and coordinate actions to create a unified global movement is becoming more important than ever," stressed Hòa.

IFRC Vice President Maha Barjas Al-Barjas remarked that this conference was an opportunity to draw inspiration and learn from one another at a time when the world was facing increasing adversity and calamity.

“Our task as humanitarians is to see beyond the numbers and focus on the individuals and communities that make up this dynamic and colourful part of the world. Regardless of their background, gender, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation, people and communities have their own unique humanitarian needs and we must strive to address them in all their complexity,” said Al-Barjas.

At the event, participants review the results of humanitarian activities from the AP-10 conference in 2018 until now, and discuss orientation plans for the entire Asia-Pacific region for the period 2023-26.

They also discuss promoting cooperation, coordination mechanisms and exchange of experiences among national associations in the Asia-Pacific region.

This is the second time the Vietnam Red Cross Society has hosted the Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the IFRC. — VNS