After having already eliminated 1,500 positions this year worldwide, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in the midst of a financial crisis, announced on Monday, September 11, around 270 new position reductions in 2024, at its headquarters in Geneva. These 270 positions represent around a fifth of the 1,400 people currently employed at the humanitarian organization's headquarters.
Other “significant cuts” are planned abroad but the figures will not be known until November, ICRC Director General Robert Mardini told a news conference.
Already at the beginning of 2023, the ICRC had to announce the loss of 1,500 jobs and review its budget after noting that the generosity of States was declining, in particular due to the very large funds allocated by Ukraine's allies to Kiev. to help it repel Russian forces that invaded its territory in February 2023.
A budget down 13%, in the face of growing needs
Faced with the reduction in budgets allocated by countries for humanitarian aid, the ICRC has reduced its provisional budget for 2024 to 2.1 billion Swiss francs (2.19 billion euros). A budget down 13% compared to 2023, even though the needs have never been greater.
“The conflict in Ukraine has repercussions and impact that go beyond the country's borders. We have seen it with global food prices, we have also seen it with inflation and the economic consequences of this conflict which are felt in regions such as the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, the Middle East and elsewhere,” Mardini said Monday.
He noted that his organization, which has around 20,000 employees worldwide, had been caught “off guard” this year by a lack of funds. Faced with the financial crisis it is going through, the ICRC has called on donor countries for help in recent months. The latter, including Switzerland, have heard the call but the situation remains uncertain.
“The 2023 budget should not be declared a victory, but we are reassured by the very positive response from many of our donors who understood the issues and went the extra mile,” Mardini explained.
“If all the pledges of donations”, which today are of the order of 300 million Swiss francs, “are honored and materialize, we can say that 2023 has been closed,” he said. He also stressed that his organization implemented “more rigorous” monitoring of its finances this year after ten years during which the ICRC experienced progressive growth in its activities.