Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

The movement defined

The red cross and red crescent on a white background are among the 20th century's most enduring images. In war and peace, and in the midst of suffering and tragedy caused by man-made or natural disasters, they are internationally-recognised symbols of help and compassion.


An idea forged in the bloody aftermath of the Battle of Solferino in 1859 through the vision of its founders has grown to become the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

"The Movement" is a term covering two international institutions with headquarters in Geneva and national societies in 186 countries.

The two institutions are the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the International Federation). The National Societies comprise most of the more than 97 million Red Cross workers - the world's biggest volunteer force.

With the advent of more and more complex humanitarian emergencies, the work of both institutions is required to handle certain crises. When this is the case, the work of both is governed by an agreement signed in Spain in November of 1997, known as "the Seville Agreement" -- it establishes one of the institutions, or a National Society, as the 'lead agency' responsible for spearheading the Movement's work overall.

| top |

© 1999 | French (homepage) |
The Movement defined
Committee, Federation, National Societies
Conferences, Councils and Commissions
This section for printing