Respecting and implementing International Humanitarian Law
Protecting people in situations of armed conflict is at the heart of international humanitarian law (IHL). It is one of the key elements of the Movement’s work and fundamental to saving lives. As the primary global venue for addressing matters related to IHL, the 33rd International Conference will be invited to consider a Four-Year Action Plan on National Implementation, whichwill be discussed and proposed for adoption through a resolution. Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the Four-Year Action Plan will aim to improve the protection of victims of armed conflicts through better implementation of existing IHL obligations. In this regard, the proposed Action Plan will recall key fundamental principles and rules of IHL and propose real and practical measures to be undertaken by States and National Societies to further the implementation of IHL (such as wider ratification and implementation of treaties, dynamic dissemination, effective training and strengthening the work of national IHL committees).
· Access to essential services
The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement plays a critical role in enabling access to essential services for everyone, everywhere. Tapping into the full potential of community-based health workers and volunteers, for example,can specifically contribute to improving global health, to strengthening global pandemic surveillance and control systems and to facilitating access to other critical health services. A discussion at the 33rd International Conference could explore ways to support and promote their role while ensuring adequate quality and accountability, including through national-level clarification of the auxiliary role of National Societies in the field of public health. Ensuring the safety and security of health care workers and facilities must also be discussed, as this remains a core concern for the Movement.
· Humanitarian consequences of climate change
Today, there are around 400 extreme weather events every year, about four times as many as in the 1970s. The most at-risk and vulnerable individuals are those who are the poorest, most exposed and have the least resources to withstand the impacts of climate change, including those in situations of conflict, violence and insecurity. A discussion on this topic could explore how the various components of the Movement can best work, in accordance with their mandates and capacities, with at-risk and affected populations, authorities and other partners to meet the needs of communities. These actions could include factoring climate considerations into their analysis and programming; ensuring adequate climate adaptation finance; and strengthening relevant laws and policies, all in line with the commitments of the UNFCCC COP and the UN Climate Summit dialogues.
· Digital transformation
The rapid evolution of technology and the use of data and digitalization in recent years have transformed many aspects of society, with profound impacts on how the Red Cross and Red Crescent supports the most vulnerable. A debate at the International Conference could explore how the Movement can work together with States to foster the positive and minimize the negative impacts of data and digital transformations on society, with a particular focus on ensuring that vulnerable people are not further marginalized or left behind. This could include opportunities to promote social entrepreneurship, research and innovation in the realm of digital transformation. It could address how to make the most of new opportunities, including through efforts to bridge the digital divide by means of capacity strengthening, digital literacy, infrastructure and other resources. Finally, it could look at the specificities of digital and cyber risks in the humanitarian context, for instance, with regard to the sharing of information in some of the world’s most sensitive contexts.
Trust in humanitarian action
There is no greater asset to the work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and its components than the trust of the people and communities that the Movement serves. Access, support and respect for the Movement’s mission depends on this trust. Maintaining trust in humanitarian action requires efforts by humanitarian organizations themselves and by States, which have long recognized the importance of neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian action.
A debate on this theme could explore how the components of the Movement, States and other stakeholders can best work together to retain trust in principled humanitarian action, focusing in particular on accountability and the preservation of humanitarian space, and the connections between these issues.