International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – Annual Report 2015

Statutory meetings

The year provided a critical opportunity to highlight issues and find global consensus, within the IFRC, the Movement, and with governments attending the Statutory Meetings in December 2015 – the IFRC’s 20th General Assembly, the Council of Delegates and the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

More than 2,300 people representing 169 governments, 183 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC and ICRC, and 102 other humanitarian organizations and corporate partners took part in the three-day meeting – the 32nd International Conference, which is a unique forum held every four years. Ten Resolutions were adopted and 215 pledges representing individual and voluntary commitments were registered in total.

The conference agreed an important set of goals on the issue of sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflicts, disasters and other emergencies and continued its long-standing promotion of effective disaster law, while the Resolution on the safety and security of humanitarian volunteers will guide our efforts as we develop a Movement approach to the issue.

A Movement initiative called Voices to Action aimed to engage with diverse audiences – ranging from service users and volunteers to partners and policy makers – to consider how individual action can make a meaningful contribution towards the three broad conference aspirations: preventing and responding to violence; preserving safety and access; and reducing risk and strengthening resilience. Approximately 7,000 people contributed via an online engagement platform, social media and hub events around the world. These elements served as basis for discussions in the Humanitarian Dialogue: A Vision Lab that took place during the conference.

Annual report conference graphic on the 32 International Conference

In the Council of Delegates, the Movement components, in an ongoing effort to strengthen and improve their ability to respond to growing humanitarian needs, adopted a range of initiatives to strengthen cooperation and coordination, adopting a Movement-wide logo, a new vision statement, and a framework for improving the inclusion of people with disabilities in our work. The Council of Delegates highlighted the importance of putting the needs and rights of  vulnerable people on the move at the centre of all policy discussions, and it recalled the obligation of States to guarantee their protection in a joint Movement statement adopted by the members.

The Movement also adopted a powerful message for the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, calling for protection of dignity and improving humanitarian access, affirming the complementarity of local, national, and international action, taking a long view of people’s needs, and recognizing and enabling different humanitarian systems.

At the 20th General Assembly of the IFRC, member National Societies discussed recommendations of a mid-term review of the network’s Strategy 2020, and approved the Plan and Budget 2016–2020, which sets out IFRC priorities for the next four years.

The General Assembly also amended the IFRC Constitution to modernize its election process by allowing electronic voting as well as strengthening its compliance mechanism. The attendees also discussed youth development, volunteering, preparedness for nuclear disasters, sustainable local humanitarian action, and the promotion of a culture of non-violence and peace.

IFRC’s newest member

The 20th General Assembly admitted the Tuvalu Red Cross Society as the 190th member of the IFRC. Isaia Vaipuna Taape, an executive board member of the Tuvalu Red Cross Society, described this as “very good news”, adding that the National Society’s membership of the IFRC will enhance its relations with local and international partners and help it to address climate change at the international level.

Recognizing volunteers at the frontline

The Movement meetings were a time to recognize the courageous work of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and their volunteers. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and its volunteers were honoured for their efforts to provide the majority of international support to people affected by the conflict in Syria, and Italian Red Cross volunteers were recognized for their support to newly-arriving migrants. Volunteers from the National Societies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were also recognized for their commitment to humanity during the West Africa Ebola virus disease outbreak.