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About the International Conference

What is the International Conference?

The International Conference is a unique global forum bringing together representatives of the States Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, including the 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, their International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross with its specific mandate established under the Geneva Conventions. The Conference provides a non-political forum for dialogue and is widely recognised as among the most important and influential fora on humanitarian issues.

As set out in the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

At the International Conference, representatives of the components of the Movement meet with representatives of the States Parties to the Geneva Conventions, the latter in exercise of their responsibilities under those Conventions and in support of the overall work of the Movement. Together they examine and decide upon humanitarian matters of common interest and any other related matter. (Article 8) The International Conference contributes to the unity of the Movement and to the achievement of its mission in full respect of the Fundamental Principles [and] to the respect for and development of international humanitarian law. (Article 10)

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How does it work?

The Conference meets, in principle, every four years. It takes decisions in the form of resolutions, each member having one independent vote (i.e., each State and each component of the Movement). In practice, and as encouraged under the Statutes, resolutions are generally adopted by consensus. On-going dialogue and consultations with and among Conference members help secure positive consensus outcomes to advance specific humanitarian objectives.

The Conference is conducted in accordance with the seven Fundamental Principles of the Movement humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. All Conference participants must respect the Fundamental Principles; all documents presented must conform to the Principles; and all debates must be free from political, racial, religious or ideological controversies.

The Conference is preceded by the Council of Delegates, comprising all components of the Movement, which adopts the provisional agenda of the Conference and proposes the Conference officers for election.

Delegates attend the opening ceremony of the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 8, 2015.

I dream of a Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that has global moral authority and can call the attention of the world to humanitarian issues of concern, a Movement, which independently chooses which issues to focus on.

Henry Dunant