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Council of delegates

29-10-2010 Overview

Every two years the ICRC, the International Federation and the individual national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, meet in what is known as the Council of Delegates. It provides a forum to discuss Movement strategy and debate global humanitarian issues facing the international community.

The Council of Delegates is the only occasion when all the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement have an opportunity to debate and decide on global strategic issues together.

It is not a “governing body”. The Movement has no central authority. Each component has its own legal identity, structure and role, and is independent.

In the Council of Delegates each National Society, the ICRC and International Federation has one vote. However, decisions are normally by consensus.

The International Conference, the Standing Commission, the ICRC, the Federation or National Societies can refer issues to the Council. The Council cannot, however, give an opinion, pass a resolution or make a decision in conflict with decisions already taken by an International Conference.

When a Council is held just prior to an International Conference, it is responsible for proposing candidates to chair the Conference and fill other posts. It also adopts a provisional agenda for the Conference.

Although the Council can meet on its own initiative, or if a third of its membership so requests, it normally meets immediately after the biennial meetings of the Federation’s General Assembly. In years when an International Conference is held (normally every four years) the Council follows the General Assembly and precedes the Conference.

The Council elects its own chairman. In recent years, this has been the president of the ICRC.
The biennial meeting of the Council is also the occasion for the Henry Dunant medal ceremony. The medals are the Movement’s highest awards recognizing outstanding contributions to humanitarian action.