Opening of the 19th General Assembly by the President of the IFRC

Publié: 12 novembre 2013

Dear colleagues and friends,

After such an innovative and stimulating joint opening ceremony of our statutory meetings of this morning, it is now a great honour for me to declare the nineteenth session of the General Assembly open, and extend to you a hearty welcome to this Convention Centre on the shores of Sydney’s magnificent Darling Harbour.

I am pleased to say that we are joined by a number of Observers, many of them taking part in the General Assembly for the first time. I extend to them a very special and warm welcome.

This Assembly is exceptional in that it is being held for the first time ever in the Pacific region and will provide us with golden opportunities for enriching ourselves by active interchange of ideas to do more and better, and reach further in support of vulnerable people.

I also hope that, over the next few days, we will speak a common humanitarian language, even though we come from such different places with so many rich and diversified experiences.

Over the two years since the last General Assembly, we have achieved many things but sometimes at a very high cost.  Many volunteers and humanitarian workers of our Movement died by accidents, diseases or epidemics. Whatever the cause, each loss in our big family saddened and hurt us all.

At this point, I would like to ask for a minute of silence to mark the deaths of our fellow volunteers and humanitarians, in particular those who lost their lives while carrying out their humanitarian missions.



Thank you.

We must also remember all those who have lost their lives and who are suffering great hardship following Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines on Sunday.  I was shocked and saddened to see the terrible images coming out of the affected areas and I’m sure you will all join me in expressing our deepest condolences to the people of the Philippines as this difficult time.

May I congratulate the staff and volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross who are doing a heroic job in helping their people in their hour of need. For understandable reasons, the Philippine Red Cross delegation has had to cancel their attendance at the General Assembly and I have conveyed my understanding and support to both the President and the Secretary-General. The IFRC Secretary-General has also expressed his commitment to fully support the National Society and, as a Federation we must pull together in the face of this humanitarian crisis.

 To conclude, I wish all of us a very productive General Assembly with fruitful outcomes for strengthening our IFRC to better cope with the challenges ahead.

Tadateru Konoé, President, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies