The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

The Red Cross and Red Crescent is the founding institution of the modern humanitarian movement and the largest humanitarian network in the world. Comprised of the Committee (ICRC), the Federation (IFRC) and 190 national societies, the RC/RC Movement remains an operational and ideological leader in the field. The ICRC holds an international mandate to act as the 'guardian' of IHL, to curate its development and promote its adherence. The IFRC coordinates the work of the various national societies, and plays a key role in the Movement's contribution to disaster preparedness. Individual national societies, omnipresent when disaster strikes, hold a wide range of responsibilities within their home society, often based on an extensive network of volunteers.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols on two canvases at the ICRC headquarters in Geneva

Photo: Michael Dawes

Key actors

The world's largest humanitarian network consisting of three main components: the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and 191 member Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Provides assistance and protection to victims of war and armed violence, and promotes respect of and adherence to international humanitarian law

Carries out relief operations to assist victims of disasters, in combination with work to strengthen the capacities of its member National Societies

190 National Societies provide first-line disaster response services, as auxiliaries to the national authorities in their countries





Key references

Brief overview of the components and governing bodies of the Movement

Directory providing an overview of all 190 National Societies, their contact information, and staff

Short video about the meaning of the red cross, red crescent, and red crystal symbols

Link to the resolutions and reports of the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent of 2016, a global forum to enhance and inspire humanitarian debates among governments, policy makers and the components of the Movement.

Information tools

eBook providing an overview of the work and contemporary challenges of the ICRC through the eyes of staff members, partners, and beneficiaries.

PHAP certifications

Knowledge about the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is covered by the Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem (UHE) certification (competency statements 2.4 and 3.2).

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