Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Everywhere for everyone...

"in 1969, the League celebrated its fiftieth birthday. With 112 members around the world, it was conscious of - but largely comfortable with - its increasing spread and diversity. Nonetheless, it entered a period of introspection.
The demands of disaster and war were heavier than ever, with appeals being issued by the Secretariat every three weeks throughout the 1970s. Even as staff struggled to cope with unprecedented numbers of victims in Africa, South-East Asia and the Middle East, new members of the League were demanding more attention. In particular, they wanted more resources devoted to development.
In Geneva, Secretary General Beer stated bluntly that all the plans and policy statements would amount to no more than 'wishful thinking' unless the League balanced its objectives with its money. Was it not possible that the organisation was trying to do too much?
In 1973, the movement commissioned 'The Big Study', an external report, by Canadian Donald Tansley, on its strengths and weaknesses. He concluded that it should concentrate on the core activity of protection and assistance in war and disasters and downgrade many of the other programmes that had grown up over the years. It should also break away from its 'charity' approach to humanitarian work.
The report was received with mixed feelings. In particular, its proposals for a more central role for the Geneva institutions were seen as a threat to the jealously guarded autonomy of National Societies - and to many of their main programmes.
While the League constitutions was amended, to ensure a fair geographical distribution of its members, daily work at local, national and international level continued much as before. On balance, the movement agreed with the parts of Dr. Tansley's diagnosis but it did not like the prospect of the slimming treatment he prescribed. Consequently, in 1980, the organisation launched the new decade with a new slogan. It was: 'Everywhere for everyone'." (Beyond Conflict: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 1919-1994 - Daphne A. Reid and Patrick F. Gilbo)


Bob McKerrow said...

Dear Santi

Great to see you taking such interest in Henrik Beer. I have also noticed that Dev Dhahkwa, SG of Nepal Red Cross has joined the blog. Dev knew Henrik very well so I hope he will add his memories of Henrik.

Dev said...

Henrik Beer was a legendary Secretary general of the federation who does not need much explanation. His long association with the movement as the secretary general of his own Society i. e., Swedish Red Cross and even longer service as SG of the Federation had spread over like a big canvas in which innumerable humanitarian paintings and artworks may be visualized. We all can read them or view them in our own ways. My pen is too feeble to justifiably explain it right now. I will try to do so in course of times. He also visited several times to Nepal which inspired and strengthened our Society in the earlier days. People still remember his witty deliberations, comments and suggestions as well as his humble, smiling and impressive personality.