Welcome to Episode 89 of Good Will Hunters from the Development Policy Centre. Today on the show I speak to Leonard Blazeby.
Leonard is the outgoing Head of Mission for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICRC, in Australia. At the end of our interview, you’ll hear about the very big and exciting role that Leonard is taking on next.
Since joining the ICRC in 2000, Leonard has held a variety of positions across Africa, Europe and the Pacific. He worked for eight years in Africa, serving as Deputy Head of Delegation in Southern Africa, legal adviser in Zimbabwe and communications coordinator in the Horn of Africa. He then served in the ICRC’s Geneva headquarters for more than four years. He has been the Australian Head of Mission since 2012.
In the episode Leonard and I discuss Leonard’s distinguished career working with the ICRC in vulnerable communities around the world, the challenges that he’s faced in his work, and how the international humanitarian sector has evolved, or in Leonard’s words, professionalised. We discuss the threat multiplier affect of Covid-19 and the impact its having is on already conflict-affected communities. On a lighter note, we also discuss some of the innovative partnerships the ICRC has entered into, including with the vide game Fortnite.
If you’re interested in today’s podcast, you might also be interested in a new Devpolicy Blog which shows an unprecedented divergence between defence spending and aid spending in Australia.
Stephen Howes, the Devpolicy Director, shows that adjusting for inflation Australian defence spending is projected to grow by 20 billion dollars to 2030, whereas aid spending isn’t projected to grow at all. Given the humanitarian crises and trends we’re seeing all around us, and discussed in today’s episode, that trend may prove problematic. For more, go to devpolicy.org.
The GWH Team