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Framework for a sustainable development at the ICRC

01-05-2012

The present document offers a framework to enable the ICRC to take the principles of sustainable development into account in carrying out its mission.

The most commonly cited definition of sustainable development is the one first proposed in the Brundtland report, in which sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs”. At present, respect for future generations must be a major consideration when humanitarian organizations like the ICRC decide how to carry out their activities. In other words, it is essential that the principles of sustainable development (that is to say, living sustainably, in fair societies, on a planet capable of sustaining life) be taken into account.

This document proposes a framework to enable the ICRC to take into consideration the principles of sustainable development in carrying out its mission.

The present framework is in four parts: it defines a strategic vision for integration of the principles of sustainable development into the activities and practices of the ICRC; outlines the reasons why the ICRC adheres to the principles of sustainable development in humanitarian action; describes the challenges encountered in this regard; and, lastly, offers a series objectives and areas of intervention designed to ensure that the ICRC’s activities will give greater consideration to sustainable development.

Adherence to the principles of sustainable development enables the ICRC to:

  • reduce the potentially negative impact of its activities on the environment;
  • make optimal use of financial resources;
  • be a socially responsible partner in its interactions with stakeholders (beneficiaries, staff, suppliers).


The ICRC’s objective is to play a significant role in the humanitarian sector among humanitarian organizations firmly committed to working in an environmentally, economically and socially
responsible way.