Update on the Venezuelan Red Cross
The IFRC is aware of the Supreme Court decision regarding the reorganization of the Venezuelan Red Cross’ leadership and board, and related actions. The IFRC was dispatching senior officials to Caracas this week to join its permanent delegation in the country to deal with the ongoing developments; this will continue with the goal to better understand the scope of risks and ability to continue providing principle-based humanitarian services, and the level of government involvement, if any, going forward.
Our priority is to protect the critical role of the Venezuelan Red Cross and its volunteers and staff in the country: their neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian action has been essential in saving lives.
We are currently closely monitoring the situation, assessing the best way forward, and we will inform on our next steps based on that analysis.
Any State intervention in our National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies raises serious concerns regarding their independence and principle-based humanitarian work of National Societies and will be treated with the utmost importance. IFRC has its own mechanisms to address situations when a member National Society might be considered breaching our fundamental principles and we encourage governments to facilitate the IFRC’s own internal mechanism to address such situations.
Update on IFRC President and General Assembly 2023
The Presidentof the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC),Francesco Rocca, sent to all the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies a noticeconvening an extraordinary session of the IFRC General Assembly, which will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Centre International de Conference Genève (CICG)on 11 December 2023.
At this extraordinary session of the General Assembly, a new President will be elected, based on Article 17.1c of the IFRC Constitution. The person elected will start her or his term of office at the close of the extraordinary session.
The IFRC Election Committee will directly send further information outlining the process for submitting nominations, including the Electoral Standards, the deadline for the submission of nominations and voting procedures, to National Societies. A presentation of the candidates will take place before the official opening of the session.
In line with the decision of the IFRC Governing Board, the extraordinary session will be held in person but also allow for remote participation.
Update on the Nicaraguan Red Cross
The IFRC is deeply concerned about the dissolution of our member National Society, the Nicaraguan Red Cross.
This situation may put at risk much-needed humanitarian activities in the country and the work of the staff and volunteers.
We are currently closely monitoring the situation, assessing the best way forward, and we will inform on our next steps based on that analysis.
For more information please [email protected]
| Press release
Jagan Chapagain renewed as IFRC Secretary General
Geneva, 10 May 2023 – The IFRC Governing Board renewed today in Geneva the mandate of Jagan Chapagain as Secretary General of the world’s largest humanitarian network for a second four-year term.
IFRC President, Francesco Rocca, said:
“We are all very proud of the work done by Jagan in recent years and we look forward to working with him in the future. He took the helm of the organization shortly before COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency. But despite those trying times, Jagan demonstrated visionary and able leadership and made impressive achievements within a very short period. Thanks to his leadership and the work we have done together, our organization is financially healthy and continues to deliver on its important humanitarian mandate.”
IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said:
“I am both honoured and humbled to have the trust of the IFRC’s Governing Board and of President Francesco Rocca. This comes with immense responsibility and there will be many challenges along the way, but we will work with agility and integrity to find solutions and build trust among the communities we serve.”
Mr Chapagain is from Nepal and has extensive experience in, and broad knowledge of, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
He brings to the role decades of experience in the humanitarian field, providing leadership to major crises around the world while advocating for actions that build community resilience and reduce their needs in the long term. He has championed the localization agenda that empowers local actors to lead their own development. He has extensive experience in building partnerships for a broad range of initiatives and in leading diverse workforces for meaningful humanitarian work.
An engineer by training, Jagan began his humanitarian journey as a youth volunteer with the Nepal Red Cross where he represented and advocated on behalf of communities.
Prior to being appointed Secretary General for the first time in December 2019, he served as Under Secretary General for Programmes and Operations and guided IFRC relief and development efforts around the world.
He was also previously Chief of Staff and Regional Director of the Asia Pacific region for the IFRC.
The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives, build resilience, and promote dignity around the world.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67
| Press release
Statement on suspension of the Peruvian Red Cross as a member of IFRC
Geneva, Switzerland, 12 August 2022 – The Governing Board of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has voted to suspend the membership of the Peruvian Red Cross. The extraordinary decision—which takes effect today—comes after the Red Cross society was unable to take the necessary actions to remove the Peruvian Red Cross President from his position of power and address its institutional crisis.
The suspension follows a months-long investigation into the Peruvian Red Cross. The IFRC’s Compliance and Mediation Committee performed an extensive investigation into the accusations and provided detailed reports that confirm abuses of power by the Peruvian Red Cross President. The committee recommended a mediation process and removal of the Peruvian Red Cross President—neither of which have come to pass.
The decision also means that the Peruvian Red Cross President is sanctioned from holding any governance position at the IFRC.
Transparency and integrity are essential to the delivery of the Red Cross Red Crescent mission, which is why IFRC—the world’s largest humanitarian network—has protocols in place to sanction individuals and National Societies who do not live up to its principles. Though rare, these decisions ultimately make the Red Cross Red Crescent mission stronger.
In announcing the decision, Francesco Rocca, IFRC President, said:
“Suspending a Red Cross society’s membership is not a decision we take lightly. After extensive efforts to mediate the situation—and after an investigation found misuse of power by the President—we have no choice. We have an obligation to ensure the Peruvian Red Cross governance takes the necessary steps to rebuild.
“Let me stress that IFRC’s commitment to the people of Peru remains strong. IFRC will work to ensure that this decision does not compromise Red Cross support to communities in need.
“Peruvian Red Cross volunteers work tirelessly to help communities prepare for and respond to crises. While their lifesaving activities have been hindered by these administrative challenges, IFRC is hopeful that this decision will help them move forward in delivering our mission.”
IFRC will help develop a transition plan to ensure that services to vulnerable communities do not suffer.
IFRC has recommended the Peruvian Red Cross institute a plan of action to address its institutional crisis, which includes the following elements:
Put in place a transparent process for hiring an executive director in line with the statutes and regulations of the Peruvian Red Cross;
Hold elections at the branch level in a timely manner;
Revise the statutes of the Peruvian Red Cross through an inclusive process in consultation with branches and Board members;
Hold elections at the national level once the revised statutes of the Peruvian Red Cross have been approved in timely manner and as agreed between the National Society and the IFRC; and
Put in place a plan of action to address the recommendations of the audit report carried out for the years 2017-2019.
IFRC will lift the suspension if and when the Peruvian Red Cross takes the necessary steps to comply with recommendations and begins implementing an action plan to restore its integrity.
IFRC remains committed to supporting the renewal of an effective, vibrant, and viable Peruvian Red Cross—and encourages Peruvian Red Cross volunteers and members to remain engaged in the renewal of their National Society.
In the Americas: Susana Arroyo Barrantes - Communications Manager Americas, [email protected]
In Geneva: Jenelle Eli – Media Relations – [email protected]
| Press release
Francesco Rocca wins re-election as President of the IFRC
June 19 2022, Geneva -Francesco Rocca has secured a second four-year term as President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Mr. Rocca was elected by representatives of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at the IFRC’s 23rd General Assembly held in Geneva.
On his re-election, Mr. Rocca said: “We are living in extremely turbulent times. The dangerous roads of global economic instability, food shortages, the climate crisis and health emergencies are converging to create an unprecedented moment of risk for the world.
“I am proud to take this challenge together with our 14 million Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers who at this very moment are doing their utmost to serve their local communities”.
Mr. Rocca lauded the role of localization in humanitarian response and pledged to continue to be the champion of investment in community-level action: “The pandemic showed to the world the critical role played by local actors, like our Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, when responding to crises. Localization of humanitarian aid is the single most effective way to save lives and to build safer, stronger and healthier communities”.
Addressing the increasing humanitarian impact of the climate crisis, reducing growing health inequalities, support for and protection of migrants are the top three priorities listed by the new IFRC president.
Mr. Rocca urged the international community to put global solidarity first and translate it into action: “When there is political will, open dialogue and decisions are made multilaterally, everything is possible.
“The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukraine crisis has shown what can be done when humanity and dignity come first, when there is global solidarity and the will to assist and protect people.”
The role of IFRC President is a volunteer role. Rocca began volunteering in the late 1980s working with asylum seekers and refugees in Italy. He joined the Italian Red Cross in 2007 and was elected National President in 2013. At the IFRC, Rocca previously served as governing board member and Vice-President for Europe. A lawyer by training, Mr. Rocca started his professional career fighting organised crime. He then moved into health administration.
Four new Vice-Presidents and 20 governing board members representing each of the IFRC’s geographic regions, are also voted into office.
Notes for Editors:
A press conference will be held at 11:00 am on 20 June 2022 at Palexpo Conference centre in Geneva at which Mr. Rocca will highlight his future vision and priorities for the IFRC.
Journalists wishing to attend on site or remotely should contact [email protected] to receive accreditation or the link.
For more information or to request interviews with President Rocca, contact:
Benoit Carpentier: +41 (0)79 213 24 13, [email protected]
Tommaso Della Longa: +41 (0)797084367, [email protected]
Commissions and committees
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is supported by five constitutional commissions and committees which review and advise upon different areas of our work. Composition and functions of our commissions and committees are described in Section IV of our Constitution.
The Governing Board governs the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) between each General Assembly. It is responsible for delivering the overall direction and policy of the IFRC and meets at least twice a year.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is a global membership organization made up of 191 member National Societies. Our governance reflects this global network to ensure our strategic direction is set by our members, for our members.
Humanitarian challenges in the spotlight as International Conference gets underway
As the 33rd International Conference in Geneva gets underway, IFRC President Francesco Rocca and ICRC President Peter Maurer discuss humanitarian challenges and some of the big issues on the agenda this week.
What are your hopes for the International Conference?
Francesco Rocca: The International Conference is a unique place where all the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement can discuss with Governments under the safe space of our Fundamental Principles. I hope that we will use this opportunity to discuss about the most pressing humanitarian challenges, like the climate crisis, migration, the criminalization of humanitarian aid, the respect of humanitarian workers, to name but a few.
We need a strong Red Cross Red Crescent voice to advocate on behalf of the communities we serve. I hope that we will have fruitful and bold discussions, without shying away from topics that can be also divisive at an international level. I feel a deep responsibility to represent our 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and their almost 14 million volunteers; I will strongly advocate for the localization agenda which is the humanitarian trend we created a few years ago at the World Humanitarian Summit.
Our National Societies are local actors par excellence. We need to strengthen them and involve them in every decisional process. This is the strength of our Movement, the original idea of our founder, Henry Dunant: strong National Societies, strong local actors, mean strong local communities.
Peter Maurer: The unique promise of the conference is that in times of disaster, violence and conflict, in contexts of underdevelopment and other global challenges, when despair and devastation are greatest, lives can be saved and suffering alleviated through the special relationship of signatories to the Geneva Conventions and the components of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
This special relationship recognizes that neither States nor civil societies can deal with these issues on their own, but rather need each other. We now have an opportunity to reinvigorate the special relationship we have with States, reinforcing our principles of NIIHA.
In practical terms this means making progress on the key themes and resolutions of the conference: on upholding respect for IHL, responding to key areas of vulnerabilities – mental health and psychosocial support, Restoring Family Links, climate crisis, digital transformation, migration, displacement and urban challenges – as well as trust in humanitarian action.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the Movement right now?
Francesco Rocca: Our main challenge is to stay relevant, ready to anticipate and detect new vulnerabilities and be ready to adapt accordingly. We are facing many complex emergencies all around the world: the climate crisis, the humanitarian crisis linked to migration and pandemics, as well as the many protracted crises where the sustainability of humanitarian activities is deeply under pressure.
We must work as a collective, as a Movement, enhancing our complementarity and putting our National Societies at the core of every discussion and decision. The world outside, the people we serve, donors, the general public, media, all of them only see one Red Cross or Red Crescent.
We must act accordingly; we need to sit together, put aside individual interests, and have an honest and trustful dialogue about roles and responsibilities. If we do not adapt, change will be forced upon us. The world is changing rapidly, and we must adapt accordingly.
Peter Maurer: The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an incredibly powerful force in the world. In our diversity there is strength, from the countries we come from, the languages we speak, and the experiences we have individually and collectively.
But the realities of the crises that the world faces today – humanitarians and States alike – are enormous and complex. We see the nature of crises changing and a widening gap between the shape and scale of people’s needs and our capacity to respond.
In the absence of political solutions, wars are protracted, some lasting decades. Urban battles feature prominently, causing widespread destruction and indiscriminate harm to civilians and their cities. As wars destroy whole systems, as people are displaced for years at a time, new crisis needs are created. Beyond the basics of food and shelter, families also need electricity, water, health systems. What we think of as ‘emergency needs’ is shifting. And so must our response.
We must also respond to the invisible needs – the mental health and psychosocial needs of people. Entire communities and individuals are suffering in silence, overwhelmed by stigma and a lack of appropriate support. This hidden suffering demands our attention as much as physical needs.
And finally we must support our own people. Our Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff answer the call of crises. They step up, despite the personal tragedies within their own communities, despite the personal risk. I recognize their dedication, their sacrifice – and we must make sure we are all there for each other, because we are one family.
Trust is a big theme of the conference. How can we better build trust in humanitarian action?
Francesco Rocca: Trust is crucial, and it is a very important signal that we have it as one of the main themes of our International Conference but also as a red thread for our Statutory Meetings. I believe that our greatest strength is that our volunteers are coming from the same local communities they are supporting. They understand the culture, they speak the same language, they are there before, during and after any crisis or disaster.
Our Movement is unique: we build and maintain trust from communities through our volunteers. The meaning of trust is when an ambulance or a team has access during an outbreak of violence and entire crowds applaud their bravery; we saw it many times over past months in many different places. Obviously, we still need to do it better, but I am sure we are best positioned to maintain trust from the people we serve, as well as from donors and partners. We must engage communities and put them at the centre of everything we do. We are deeply committed to doing this.
Peter Maurer: There is enormous trust in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Trust is the backbone of successful action and is sorely needed in today’s fragmented and divided societies. I firmly believe that the Movement can be a more powerful incubator of trust in societies at large, through the values we embody, the vision we represent and the pragmatism with which we act.
For trust is our license to win the confidence of communities, arms bearers and others to deliver humanitarian aid that is neutral and impartial. We are defined by the trust of populations, by the millions who say: “When I suffered, you were there.”
| Press release
Italy’s Francesco Rocca elected President of world’s largest humanitarian network
Antalya, 6 November 2017 – Italian lawyer and humanitarian, Francesco Rocca, was today elected the new President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Mr Rocca was elected by his peers from 178 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies that were present at the IFRC General Assembly in Antalya, Turkey.
He paid tribute to the courage and dedication of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world, and vowed to focus on ensuring they have greater support.
“We owe it to them to change and to strengthen our capacity,” he said. “One of the first things I will focus on is addressing any integrity issues within our network. We owe it to our volunteers who risk their lives every day. We owe it to the communities who look to us for support, when no one else can help. And we owe it to the people around the world who look to the Red Cross and Red Crescent as signs of hope.”
Mr Rocca’s election comes at a critical juncture for the IFRC and the wider humanitarian community. Aid organizations are responding to a range of complex and global challenges, and are struggling to respond to rising needs while balancing increasingly constrained budgets. The new President will play an important role in ensuring that Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies can continue to support the most vulnerable and isolated.
Mr Rocca joined the Italian Red Cross in 2008, taking over as National President in 2013. He has built the Italian Red Cross into the country’s pre-eminent humanitarian organization, with Red Cross volunteers and staff playing leading roles in response to earthquakes and the ongoing arrival of vulnerable migrants.
He has been a strong advocate on behalf of vulnerable migrants, calling consistently on political leaders to put the safety and dignity of people at the centre of their migration policies.
A lawyer by training, Rocca started his professional career fighting organized crime. He then moved into health administration. In 2013, he was elected Vice President for Europe of IFRC.
Mr Rocca will take over from Tadateru Konoé who is completing his second term.
The General Assembly also elected four Vice-Presidents: Mr Abdoul Azize Diallo (Senegal), Mr Miguel Angel Villarroel Sierraalta (Venezuela), Mr Chen Zhu (China) and Dr Kerem Kinik (Turkey).