Humanity at the centre of humanitarian action

Christian Huber|Published 16. Dec 2015
Last week, NRC called for humanity to be at the core of humanitarian action at the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Geneva.

Under the theme 'The Power of Humanity', NRC, along with representatives from more than 400 states and organisations, engaged in a dialogue on key humanitarian issues.

Occurring every four years, the conference aims to adopt binding resolutions that will guide the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movement over the following years and build state support for different initiatives.

Why is the 32nd conference important to NRC?

“NRC's role as an observer of the conference is to remind them that the principle of humanity should be at the centre of humanitarian action,” says Ingrid Macdonald, the Director of Humanitarian Policy/NRC Geneva office. “As there is an increasing politicisation in humanitarian action, it is crucial that all humanitarian assistance and protection is provided with the central purpose of preventing and alleviating human suffering, wherever it may be found".

NRC participated in conference discussions on topics including: principled humanitarian action, humanitarian financing, migration, counter-terrorism, protection, education, and the impact of climate change. NRC brought attention to key issues, that are hampering the provision of effective humanitarian action around the world, and shared recommendations on how to address these.

What other topics have dominated the 32nd conference?

A key element of discussion between states and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has been an attempt to strengthen compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL). IHL protects civilians in conflict and enables humanitarian organisations like NRC to offer them assistance and protection.

Although the proposed resolution did not receive the support it needed to pass, conference participants agreed to remain engaged in the topic. Other resolutions were passed, such as aiming to protect and sustain the continuity of medical activities during conflict, or to ensure the safety and security for humanitarian volunteers. 

“I hope the positive steps made in Geneva this week, and discussions at the conference, will generate momentum and lead to positive steps in other global processes, like the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016,” Ms. Macdonald remarks.