White Helmets

In order to coordinate Argentina's participation in the international response system to humanitarian emergencies and to guarantee a contribution according to its possibilities and the needs, it was decided in 1994 to create an international civilian body. The White Helmets marked the beginning of the participation of developing countries in international humanitarian assistance, which until then had been reserved for donor countries, and introduced volunteerism as a specialized professional body.

Today, the White Helmets Commission is responsible for designing and implementing humanitarian assistance. It develops its activities through a working model based on cooperation, solidarity and community participation. It is entirely civilian and relies on an expert body of volunteers from various disciplines and specialties.

In order to achieve its objectives, the Commission has a network of national and international bonds through which it coordinates the response to humanitarian crises or socio-natural disasters, acting in rehabilitation, reconstruction and development tasks, and promoting disaster risk prevention and management.

White Helmets coordinates its actions bilaterally with other countries and with numerous international organizations. Since its creation, it has developed more than 295 international humanitarian assistance missions in 81 countries on five continents.

Based on strategic ties at the regional and international levels, White Helmets incorporates and adapts international protocols and guidelines for their implementation in the national territory in order to put them at the service of communities, thus increasing the presence and work in the Municipalities and Provinces of the country.

In 2007, with the objective of ensuring that disaster risk reduction at the national level is provided with a solid institutional basis for its implementation, the Argentine Republic created its National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, co-coordinated by the White Helmets Commission, with the guidelines of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Within this framework, it promotes international initiatives and campaigns related to humanitarian assistance, emergency response and comprehensive disaster risk management. In its actions, both internally and externally, White Helmets has partners from the public sector, academia, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

With regard to disaster risk reduction and rehabilitation in the case of social or natural disasters, White Helmets has among its programmes projects to increase the resilience of the most vulnerable communities, risk prevention through drills, vulnerability reduction and integrated risk management, study and improvement of housing conditions, education and training of volunteers, among others.

Its positioning as a national humanitarian assistance agency, with possibilities of national or international action, gives White Helmets a privileged standing as a channel and coordinator of national volunteerism to prevent or deal with humanitarian emergencies.