19 May 2011 - The Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, and the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Bekele Geleta, have signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance responses to humanitarian challenges.
"I am pleased to sign the memorandum of understanding with IFRC, since the work of our two organizations in protecting vulnerable people is complementary and by working together we can both enhance the impact of our efforts to help people in need", said Mr. Fedotov at the Federation's headquarters in Geneva.
Their joint efforts will address individuals and groups at risk of drug abuse, HIV and related illnesses; victims of human trafficking and other criminal activities; and smuggled migrants, their families and affected communities. Further areas of potential cooperation could include prison reform, particularly the special needs of women prisoners and health care for prisoners in need of services to prevent and treat HIV and drug abuse.
The strength of IFRC lies in its community-based expertise. Known primarily for disaster relief and emergency assistance, and, importantly, for its contribution to development, IFRC is the world's largest humanitarian network, with nearly 100 million members, volunteers and supporters in 186 National Societies. This vast network enables the Federation to promote primary health care and social services by conducting grass-roots interventions, linking international cooperation and deploying tens of millions of volunteers. Mr. Fedotov thanked IFRC for its continued support for UNODC activities, including international cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion and abuse.
UNODC works in global and operational alliances allowing partners to pool their resources and exploit their comparative advantages. Mr. Fedotov therefore encouraged the development of joint programmes though the UNODC field offices and the extensive IFRC community base to create healthier and safer environments for vulnerable people.