[PRESS RELEASE] New agreement between Comisión Cascos Blancos (White Helmets Commission) and UNV
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: A new agreement between the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and Comisión Cascos Blancos (White Helmets Commission) of Argentina was signed today at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. The agreement will strengthen both organizations’ capacity to respond, through volunteerism, to disasters and emergencies rapidly and effectively.
The agreement will facilitate a rapid and efficient response to complex emergency situations or socio-natural disasters, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also in other regions around the world.
“The White Helmets initiative focuses on the assignment of Latin American volunteers in emergency programmes that will greatly benefit from this partnership,” says Ambassador of the White Helmets Commission, Gabriel Fuks. “Humanitarian assistance operations such as the ones carried out during emergency situations like the earthquakes in Peru and Haiti in 2007 and 2010, or the camps of displaced persons on the border between Tunisia and Libya in 2011, are examples of cooperation on the field with UNV, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration.”
White Helmets provide opportunities for volunteers from Latin America and other regions to assist in post-disaster relief and recovery efforts. Within 72 hours of a disaster, it can call on over 2,500 highly trained volunteers from other developing countries to serve in partnership with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme.
White Helmets has also been active in reconstruction activities for development such as those carried out over the last ten years in different countries, and prevention activities through regional, national and local workshops to strengthen volunteering initiatives.
UNV has significant experience in disaster prevention and risk reduction and prioritizes this area in its programme development. The Hyogo Framework for Action explicitly recognized the added value and contribution of volunteerism to disaster risk management, particularly volunteerism’s role in strengthening community capacities to respond to and prevent disasters.
UNV’s involvement in this area will focus on supporting countries and situations where there is an identified risk and high vulnerability to disaster. To mitigate the effects of crisis and address the root causes, UNV works at both national and community levels to encourage and support inclusive and coherent national disaster prevention and risk reduction strategies.
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