The ICRC organised a three-day Asia-Pacific conference on Restoring Family Links (RFL) in Kathmandu 3 October 2018. An annual feature, the meeting aims at improving RFL preparedness and response in disasters by capturing lessons learnt and sharing best practices that have been implemented in the region.

One of the most important activities carried out by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement around the world, RFL helps locate people and put them back into contact with their relatives after they get separated during conflict and disasters.

The conference, that saw participation from 18 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from the region and 12 ICRC delegations, discussed issues related to ‘Data Protection’; ‘Migration’ and ‘RFL Strategy’. The presentations, discussions and simulations on different themes were delivered and practiced in both indoor and outdoor environments. The preparation of a plan of action and the new RFL strategy were also important components of the conference.

Andre Paquet, Head of the ICRC Mission in Kathmandu, and Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, Secretary General of the Nepal Red Cross Society, addressed the participants.

Kamal Yatawara, Assistant Programme Manager – RFL, Sri Lankan Red Cross Society, called the meeting a rich forum of experience and expertise. For him, the session on the Code of Conduct on Data Protection was one major takeaway from the conference. Undram Chinges, the Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Officer from the Mongolian Red Cross Society, said: “The talks, sharing the practice on RFL, tracing and management of the dead was particularly relevant. In addition, it was an interesting learning for me to know the activities of the other national societies in the important area of migration.”

Participants shared that the conference is a fabulous platform for information sharing and knowledge building with people carrying out similar activities in their respective countries. “The meeting brought together colleagues to exchange experiences of past years,” said Rattanaporn Phumman, Tracing Assistant, from the ICRC regional delegation in Bangkok. “Learning from each country about different contexts was extremely important as it gave some new ideas to be applied to our own context.”

Check out a few snapshots of the Asia-Pacific conference on Restoring Family Links in Kathmandu (@ICRC):