White Helmets is the agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship in charge of designing and implementing humanitarian assistance. It develops its activities through a working model based on cooperation, solidarity and community engagement. It is entirely civilian and relies on a national volunteer 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.
Guided by impartiality, neutrality, independence and humanism, this Argentinian initiative acts under the guidance of international principles and protocols at the request of a State affected by a crisis or disaster or within the framework of an international humanitarian appeal. It promotes good volunteer practices and works towards the implementation of the goals agreed in the Sendai Framework 2015-2030 in the promotion and strengthening of disaster risk reduction at global, regional, national and local levels.
Since its creation in 1994, it has deployed more than 295 humanitarian assistance missions in the five continents, carrying out actions in 81 countries.
White Helmets has a bilateral and multilateral international cooperation network to co-ordinate the response to social and natural disasters, act in rehabilitation, reconstruction and development tasks, and promote prevention, risk management and community resilience.
With 25 years of experience and a proven record of respect for International Law in general and International Human Rights Law in particular, it has become a State policy and a fundamental tool of Argentine foreign policy.
At the international level, White Helmets plays the role of international focal point for the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). At the national level, it co-coordinates the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and represents the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship in the National System for Integrated Risk Management and Civil Protection of the Argentine Republic (SINAGIR).
The White Helmets initiative was first endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 (Res 49/139B) and by the Organization of American States-OAS in 1995 (Res 1351/XXV-0/95). White Helmets signed agreements, MOUs and other instruments of cooperation with various organizations of the International System, which shows the recognition that the White Helmets Commission has around the world. The United Nations General Assembly –by consensus- adopted its Resolution A.RES73-138 last December 14, 2018, commending the initiative through the support of UN Member States, which continues in full development.