Geneva was the location for two very important meetings of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement last week; the International Conference which occurs every four years and the Statutory Meetings which occur every two years. A delegation from the Irish Red Cross travelled to attend both events
The Statutory Meetings focused on the organisation of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement from a governance perspective, while the Conference which saw the Irish Red Cross joined by representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, sought to influence the global humanitarian agenda. It also explored current and future challenges affecting people and communities, and the vulnerabilities they face on the ground.
The conference offered participants the opportunity to discuss its main themes, showcase new initiatives and explore emerging topics informal settings – through plenary, commissions and formal statements and in informal settings such as side events, the humanitarian village and networking sessions.
The three days of the International Conference were dedicated to one key theme each: “international humanitarian law”, “shifting vulnerabilities and “trust in humanitarian action”.
In terms of international humanitarian law, the conference presented an opportune moment for conference members to reaffirm their commitment to IHL and to work towards its full application and implementation, especially at the national level.
“Shifting vulnerabilities” was also on the agenda and this looked at topics such as “building safe and inclusive urban communities through humanitarian action”, “addressing the humanitarian consequences of the climate crisis”, “humanitarian action in the digital era”, “scaling up mental health and psychological support for emergency-affected populations” and looking at ways to support and enable the integration of migrants.
The final theme was trust in humanitarian action. This was up for discussion due to the declining trust in institutions and governments, an increase in public scrutiny and calls for stronger integrity and accountability.
The conference drew to a close on 12 December. Conference outcomes include decisions adopted in the forms of resolutions and voluntary pledges made by Conference participants, both Red Cross and Government representatives.