La Fondation Croix-Rouge française a tenu sa conférence internationale annuelle les 1 et 2 juillet 2021 à La Réunion, sur le thème «Transition humanitaire dans l’océan Indien».

Key figures:

  • An innovative 7th edition focusing on a geographical area
  • 2 days of debates around 6 round tables
  • 48 speakers
  • 347 participants
  • The 6 countries of the Indian Ocean Commission represented
  • 13 connected countries
  • Ten or so human science disciplines mobilised

On 1 and 2 July 2021, the 7th edition of the French Red Cross Foundation’s international conference on the theme of humanitarian transition in the Indian Ocean was held in La Réunion. Co-organized with the Institute of Research for Development (IRD), in collaboration for this 2021 edition with the French Red Cross Regional Intervention Platform for the Indian Ocean (PIROI) and the University of Reunion, this innovative conference with a hybrid format, held in French and English, was able to bring together remotely and face-to-face about a hundred stakeholders in humanitarian action, solidarity and the social and solidarity economy involved in the region. Although it focused on a region that is sometimes not very visible on the international scene, the conference not only attracted experts from the six countries of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) but also connected participants from countries as diverse as Canada, Kenya, Switzerland, Panama and Tunisia.
In line with the Foundation’s mission, this two-day meeting provided a space for dialogue between a wide range of actors (humanitarian NGOs, multilateral agencies, local associations, public-private arrangements, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement) and academic researchers from disciplines as complementary as sociology, anthropology, political science, law, economics and medicine, while ensuring parity of voices in order to map out ways of acting better together.

Introduction of the Conférence by Mrs V. Troit, executive director of the Foundation

Each of the six round tables at the conference provided an opportunity to compare the thoughts and practices of local, national and/or international actors on a specific aspect of humanitarian transition in the region, with the aim of achieving a better understanding and anticipation of the humanitarian transition taking place in the island states of the South-West Indian Ocean in relation to neighbouring continental countries:

  1. What humanitarian transition for the Indian Ocean ?
  2. Organising regional cooperation: a humanitarian challenge
  3. Is institutionalising disaster response a successful strategy?
  4. Accessing healthcare and epidemic response
  5. How can communities achieve a sustainable risk culture
  6. Putting science at the service of humanitarian action

For this 7th edition, innovative both in terms of form with the hybrid format and in terms of content with a focus on an entire geographical area, the Foundation is delighted to have succeeded, with its partners, in mobilising all the actors present in the area and to have generated an active contribution of the participants to the debats, either in person on the spot or remotely through the online discussion platform.

The Foundation warmly thanks the co-organisers of the event, without whose commitment and availability such an organisation would not have been possible, as well as the members of the scientific committee for their unfailing involvement in the elaboration of the programme and the content of the various round tables.

Finally, the Foundation would like to thank Mr Marcel Escure, Ambassador for Regional Cooperation in the Indian Ocean, Professor Vêlayoudoum Marimoutou, Secretary General of the IOC, Mr Jean-Christophe Combe, Director General of the French Red Cross, Mrs Pascale Chabanet, IRD representative in Reunion, Mr Frédéric Miranville, President of the University of Reunion, Professor Gille Lajoie, President of the Academic Council of the University of Reunion, Dr Françoise Fromageau, Vice-President of the French Red Cross Foundation, Mrs Florine Clomegah, Deputy Director for Africa of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Mr Jacques Billant, Prefect of Reunion, for having honoured it with their presence and interventions during the opening and closing speeches.

Opening of the conference with (from left to right) Mr. Frédéric Miranville, Mr. Marcel Escure, Pr Vêlayoudoum Marimoutou, Mr. JC. Combe, Ms V. Troit

“These days everyone is talking about transition. Many recognise the need to change our practices and even
our paradigm. After listening to you and based on my own research, I think this is partly due to recognising the
consequences of crises that are long lasting, that intertwine and feed upon each other, but also due to the need
to respond to them in an integrated, long-term manner, so as to not only react to the emergency, but also to think
about reconstruction and development in terms of resilience. Secondly, and more personally, I think we need to
recognise that the crises we are experiencing are rooted in our colonial history, our systems of exploitation and
development, or even in our traditional economy driven by capitalist ideology. If we want a paradigm shift, we will
have to deconstruct certain ways of thinking and doing”

Gaia Febvre – “Youth Perspectives” session

Following this conference, co-organised with IRD, PIROI and the University of La Réunion, a film, a retransmission of the exchanges and a report are now available. 

Between framing elements, summaries of the speeches and avenues of action resulting from the questions and answers, we hope that these materials will allow the dynamics initiated between field actors and the research world to continue.

Other supports :

With the support :

Partenaire Fondation Croix-Rouge IRD
Partenaire Fondation Croix-Rouge IRD
PIROI - Croix-Rouge française
PIROI – Croix-Rouge française