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Niki Rattle, Secretary General of the Cook Islands Red Cross, speaks at the 31st International Conference

Our World. Your Move – For Humanity

The 31st International Conference (Conference) of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the world’s largest humanitarian conference, took place in Geneva from 28 November to 1 December 2011 with the aim of strengthening international humanitarian law (IHL) and humanitarian action. It convened 164 States, 183 National Societies, 56 observers, the ICRC and the International Federation under the banner of ‘Our World. Your Move – For Humanity’.

Outcomes

The Conference acknowledged evolving contemporary humanitarian challenges and promoted improved responses to current and emerging needs of vulnerable people in humanitarian emergencies, natural disasters, conflicts or other situations of violence, in particular through the nine resolutions adopted and the 391 pledges submitted in the following 4 areas:

Strengthening international humanitarian law

The resolution “Strengthening legal protection for victims of armed conflict” addresses gaps in IHL in two areas: the protection of people deprived of their freedom; and mechanisms to ensure compliance with IHL. This resolution invites the ICRC to “identify and propose a range of options and its recommendations” regarding these two areas.

The “Four-Year Action Plan for the Implementation of IHL” resolution sets out a series of measures whereby States can enhance their implementation actions.

Reduce Impact of disasters, facilitate recovery

The resolution on “Strengthening normative frameworks and addressing regulatory barriers concerning disaster mitigation, response and recovery” calls  for continued progress in International Disaster Response Laws, Rules and Principles and encourages work in new areas of disaster law, including legislation for disaster risk reduction and measures to overcome common regulatory barriers to post-disaster shelter.

Addressing barriers to health care

Two resolutions address barriers to health care: One on “Health Care in Danger: Respecting and Protecting Health Care” gives the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement a clear mandate to initiate consultations with a view of formulating practical recommendations for making the delivery of health care safer in armed conflict and/or other emergencies. The other resolution “Health inequities: reducing burden on women and children” calls on National Societies and their governments to dismantle all barriers to health, starting with those that deprive women and children of the highest attainable standard of health, a fundamental right of every human being.

Strengthening local humanitarian action

Two resolutions aim at strengthening local humanitarian action. The first resolution “Migration: Ensuring Access, Dignity, Respect for Diversity and Social Inclusion” ensures the humanitarian assistance and protection for vulnerable migrants. It creates a framework for National Societies to work closely with States in accordance with the Movement’s Fundamental Principles and reinforces their auxiliary role. The second resolution “Furthering the auxiliary role: Partnership for stronger National Societies and volunteering development” highlights the importance of coordinated governmental approaches to volunteering in National Societies and in other voluntary organisations.

Resolutions and reports

2011 Resolution booklet

2011 Resolution booklet

Resolution 1

Strengthening legal protection for victims of armed conflicts

Resolution 2

4-Year Action Plan for the Implementation of international humanitarian Law

Resolution 3

Migration: Ensuring Access, Dignity, Respect for Diversity and Social Inclusion

Resolution 4

Furthering the auxiliary role: Partnership for stronger National Societies and volunteering development

Resolution 5

Health Care in Danger: Respecting and Protecting Health Care

Resolution 6

Health inequities: reducing burden on women and children

Resolution 7

Strengthening normative frameworks and addressing regulatory barriers concerning disaster mitigation, response and recovery

Resolution 8

Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement on Operational Arrangements dated 28th November 2005 between Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Magen David Adom in Israel

Resolution 9

Our World. Your Move – for Humanity

Reports

Pledges

391 separate pledges were registered at the 31st International on a wide range of topics relevant to the Conference agenda. These pledges represent voluntary commitments by the Conference participants to carry out specific actions during the next four years in furtherance of the Conference’s humanitarian aims. Many of these pledges were registered jointly by Governments with their National Societies or in regional or other groupings.      

Official speeches

Speech by Ms Micheline Calmy-Rey

President of the Swiss Confederation, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Opening address by Dr Massimo Barra

Chairman of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

Keynote address by Mr Tadateru Konoé

President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Keynote address by Dr Jakob Kellenberger

President of the International Committee of the Red Cross

Plenary and commission sessions (concept and report)

Plenary session on strengthening international humanitarian law (IHL)

Plenary session strengthening disaster laws

Commission A – Migration: ensuring access, dignity, respect for diversity and social inclusion

Commission B – Furthering auxiliary role and partnership for stronger National Societies and volunteering development

Commission C – Health Care in Danger : respecting and protecting health care in armed conflict and other situation of violence

Commission D – Health inequities: reducing the burden on women and children

Commission E – Humanitarian access and assistance

Workshops (outline and reports)

  • List and outline of workshops at the 31st International Conference
  • Report of Best practices in strengthening child protection workshop
  • Report of Health Care in Danger: how can new technologies be of help workshop
  • Repport of Preparing for and responding to armed confict and other situtations of violence workshop
  • Report of How can a gender perspective on international humanitarian law make a difference workshop?
  • Report of Strengthening partnerships to tackle key humanitarian challenges workshop
  • Report of Ensuring adequate and timely humanitarian reponse to migrants’ needs and vulnerabilities-the challenges of access workshop
  • Report of Climate change: putting vulnerable people first workshop

Election of the Standing Commission

The 31st International Conference elected the following five members to the Standing Commission.

  • Mr Greg Vickery, Australia (Chairman)
  • Mr Steve Carr, USA (Vice-Chairman)
  • Mr Mohammed Al-Hadid, Jordan
  • Dr Massimo Barra, Italy
  • Mr Pär Stenbäck, Finland

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