The International Conference is a unique forum bringing together the world's largest humanitarian network and nearly every government. It is a major event on the humanitarian calendar and the premier global forum to enhance and inspire humanitarian debates among governments, policy makers and the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Through the Conference, states, as parties to the Geneva Conventions and partners in humanitarian action, undertake joint commitments with the Movement to advance humanitarian action. Previous decisions have contributed substantively to the strengthening of international humanitarian law and its implementation, the strengthening of legal frameworks for disasters, and to ensuring enabling environments for volunteering. The Conference also serves an important function in nurturing the auxiliary role of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies to their public authorities in the humanitarian field.
The Conference members include all states party to the Geneva Conventions and all Movement components – the ICRC, the International Federation and the 190 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. A range of other humanitarian and development actors also participate as observers – including regional and international organizations, the United Nations and several of its specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and others.
In addition to formal decisions (resolutions) of the Conference, participants also make commitments in the form of pledges. These pledges, which may be made individually or jointly by several participants, are an important tool for translating the Conference outcomes into action at the country level.