International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies-Finance commission holds first meeting in Seychelles


The opening session of the meeting yesterday

They met yesterday at the Red Cross Society of Seychelles’ (RCSS) headquarters at Providence in the presence of the Federation’s secretary general Bekele Geleta.

Chrystold Chetty, the RCSS honorary president and Barbara Carolus-Andre, its president, were also there, as well as other members.

The finance commission is a vital statutory body of the Federation which meets twice a year to oversee its financial situation. And this meeting is being held here at the invitation of Mr Chetty who for the past six years has chaired the commission. And as the chairman, his role is to advise the president and secretary general on all financial and risk factors affecting the international federation.

Mr Geleta, who is of Ethiopian origin, was the general manager of international operations for the Canadian Red Cross before he became the head of the IFRC. He was a former Ethiopian political prisoner who settled in Ottawa after arriving as a refugee in 1992.

During the first session of the two-day meeting, he gave a presentation on the financial report of the federation. He will also submit the budget for 2012 and 2013 which will be discussed for endorsement and recommendation to the governing board meeting in Geneva at the end of September.

The budget will then be adopted by the general assembly in November.
The commission will also hear the report of the audit and risk committee.
Mr Geleta said the financial situation of the IFRC is good but “we do not know the future with the economic crisis going on in the world”.

He also spoke about how they are approaching the drought and famine issue in the Horn of Africa which include Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

“We predicted that this type of drought would take place six months ago and in January we sent out an appeal indicating that famine is coming and the response was poor.”

He said they revised the appeal in March and it was still not good enough.
But after the media started to pick up on the situation it also helped to influence public and political opinion and now more people are responding.

Mr Geleta said drought crisis is not new in Africa but he believes that in 20 years down the line the situation will be sufficiently contained in some areas such as Ethiopia and Kenya as their economy is doing fairly well and through efforts from outside.

In the meantime the RCSS and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are still appealing to people to financially help the over 10 million people facing drought and hunger.

The RCSS has already received some contributions and is expected to get more before this appeal closes on September 19.
But the organisation will keep collecting funds from those who are still interested after this date.

For those issuing cheques they can do it on Red Cross or the RCSS or call: 2503579/4374544. They can also deposit in the Red Cross Disaster account No: 1069230 at Barclays Bank of Seychelles.

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