By the time the last session of the XX Inter American Conference began, we had spent two days and a half immersed in discussions, presentations, lunch meetings and long working nights with the absolute commitment of planning the next four years of humanitarian action in the Americas.
The conference did come to an end, but our strong commitment, the important reflections on how to move forward and our immense enthusiasm for the implementation of the new Framework for Action are present in our work more than ever.
Contributions of the working groups
The final session, which was held on Monday afternoon, was based on the recommendations proposed by the working groups during the previous sessions held on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning.
The common denominator among these groups which addressed issues related to inequity, health, accountability, voluntary work and youth, among other topics, was the need to be more transparent and implement accountability processes towards our beneficiaries, volunteers and stakeholders.
The working groups concluded that our work will be relevant only to the extent that our actions have a positive impact on communities and we are committed to accountability.
The sub regional groups suggested that the Framework for Action needs to be promoted so that National Societies can familiarize and identify themselves with this framework. These groups pointed out that the previous framework was not sufficiently shared and this caused difficulties in its implementation.
Approval of the Houston Commitment
Once the suggestions had been proposed by the groups, the Houston Commitment was presented to the audience. All the participants approved it unanimously with an enthusiastic applause.
Hosting the 21st Inter American Conference
National Societies were given the opportunity to put themselves forward as organisers of the next conference. Brazil was the only National Society that stepped forward, therefore it was approved as the new host for the next conference. The chair of the Brazilian Red Cross, Ms Rosely Pimentel Sampaio, thanked the participants for their vote of confidence.
Guatemala, Argentina, Honduras and Panama, among other National Societies, asked for the opportunity to make special acknowledgments. Among the participants who received recognition was Megan Allday, from the American Red Cross organising committee, Harold Brooks and the American Red Cross.
One of the most moving moments of the conference was when the American Red Cross volunteers were thanked for their support in organizing the conference. One by one, the volunteers entered the conference hall and received a standing ovation from the audience for a job well done.
CORI Board of directors
The former chair of the CORI since Monday, Ms Annabella Folgar de Roca, thanked the participants for their support during her term of office and presented the new board of directors:
- Chair: Juan Cueva, President, Ecuadorian Red Cross
- Vice Chair: José Juan Castro, Chairman, Honduran Red Cross
- Guiteau Jean-Pierre, Chairman, Haiti Red Cross
- Treasurer: José Benjamín Ruiz, Chairman, Salvadorean Red Cross
- Members: Marja Naarendorp, chair of the Suriname Red Cross, and Nivea Garcia de Meerhoff, chair of the Uruguayan Red Cross.
Finally, Mr. Buzz Heidt, chairman of the conference from the American Red Cross, emphasized the importance of working towards building community resilience, while the vice chair of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Mr. Osvaldo Ferrero, remarked that he was happy about the results and he was certain that we are going on the right track. He thanked the International Committee and the American Red Cross for being such an excellent host.