IFRC Governance

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.


Decisions on IFRC direction and policy are made by our governing bodies, detailed below, which also provide a structure for accountability and compliance.

The IFRC secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day running of the IFRC and is directed by the Secretary General. It consists of a headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and five regional offices as well as a number of sub-regional offices worldwide. 

Our governing bodies

A representative from the Cook Islands Red Cross Society lifts her country placard as part of the roll call at the 23rd session of the IFRC General Assembly in Geneva, June 2022

General Assembly

The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the IFRC and meets every two years. It is made up of representatives from all 191 member National Societies who vote on our policies and strategy. It approves a two-year plan and budget for the IFRC.

Members of the IFRC Governing Board gather for a meeting in Geneva in 2018

Governing Board

The Governing Board governs the IFRC between general assemblies and meets twice a year. It has the authority to make certain decisions as determined by the IFRC Constitution and is responsible for appointing the secretary general.

Red Cross and Red Crescent flags

Commissions and committees

The IFRC has five constitutional commissions and committees which advise on different areas of our work: Audit and Risk Commission, Finance Commission, Youth Commission, Compliance and Mediation Committee and Election Committee.

Advisory bodies to the Governing Board and the General Assembly

The Governing Board and the General Assembly may establish advisory bodies in order to support and enhance their work.  The respective governing body shall draw up the terms of reference of the relevant advisory body and establish the duration of their remit.