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30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC) Geneva, 26th to 30th November 2007

06/12/2007 -

On Monday 26th November 2007, H.S.H. Prince Albert II attended the opening ceremony of the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (ICRC) in Geneva, showing his continual interest in the action of this international movement. On this occasion, H.S.H. Prince Albert II held talks with Mrs Micheline Calmy-Rey, the President of the Swiss Confederation, whom he had already met during his official visit to Bern in May and at the UN General Meeting in New York in September. H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince also held discussions with H.S.H. Princess Astrid of Belgium, the President of the Belgian Red Cross, Mr Jacob Kellenberger, President of the ICRC, Mr Juan Manuel Suarez del Toro Riviero, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Dr Mohammed Al Hadid, President of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and Dr David Heymann, Assistant Director General of the World Health Organisation.

The specific nature of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is reflected in the formation of its delegations which include members of the national societies as well as government delegates who have shown their adherence to the ideals of the Movement. The delegation from the Principality of Monaco, headed by H.S.H. Prince Albert II comprised, for the Monegasque Red Cross, Mrs Rosine Sanmori, Vice-President, Mr Philippe Narmino, Secretary General and, for the Monaco Government, H.E. Mr Robert Fillon, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to international organisations whose head office is in Switzerland, Dr Anne Negre, Director of DASS, Miss Carole Lanteri, Counsellor, Deputy Permanent Representative, and Mr Alexandre Jahlan, Third Secretary.

The conference, the highest deliberating authority of the movement, meets every four years to examine key humanitarian issues and make decisions concerning them. This year the focus, among others, was on the humanitarian consequences of global warming as well as emergent and recurrent diseases representing a public health threat.

In his speech, H.E. Mr Robert Fillon stressed the commitment of the Principality of Monaco in the fight against global warming (Albert II Foundation and the ratification of the Kyoto protocol) and action to combat the HIV virus. Mr Fillon also mentioned the Monegasque Red Cross's contribution towards projects aimed at helping the victims of natural disasters, and more particularly reconstruction programmes in Indonesia following the tsunami in 2004. The importance Monaco attaches to the International Fact-Finding Commission for Protocol I of the 1949 Geneva Conventions was also noted.

The Principality recently acknowledged the competence of the International Fact-Finding Commission, whose mission consists of promoting the observance of international humanitarian law during armed conflict. The Monaco Government thus wishes to complete its commitment towards the promotion and respect of international humanitarian law. Other delegations pointed out that this commission was duty bound to become a key tool to ensure the effectiveness of international humanitarian law.

Following the working sessions, the Conference adopted several resolutions to direct the action of the International Movement for the next four years. Among these is the adoption of guidelines for the intervention of foreign relief teams in the event of a disaster. This text should lead to a reinforcement of the legal framework applicable during relief operations, which in turn could be of use to the humanitarian section of the Monegasque Red Cross.

Furthermore, the Declaration adopted by the Conference reiterates the respect of the right to fundamental guarantees established by international humanitarian law, which have to be granted by all States party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 during armed conflict. This commitment for the reaffirmation and implementation of international humanitarian law in armed conflict represents a step towards guaranteeing a universal legal framework to protect the victims of conflict.

The Conference also focused on the application of the Memorandum Of Understanding between the Palestinian Red Crescent and Magen David Adom (MDA) (national society of Israel) signed in Geneva in December 2005 to regulate the intervention of the MDA in the Palestinian occupied territories and facilitate collaboration between the two societies. In this respect and following long negotiations between the two parties concerned, a resolution was adopted by consensus encouraging the pursuit of the collaboration between the national societies and the Governments of both parties to ensure the full application of the Memorandum Of Understanding. An independent rapporteur is to be appointed to monitor its application in the field and to give a report to the next Conference. The adoption of this resolution by consensus underlines the motivation of the parties to seek an alternative to the politicization of the discussions.

Finally, the Conference elected the five members of the Standing Commission from candidates of the national societies. In addition to preparing the agenda of the Council of Delegates and the International Conference, the Standing Commission is competent notably for the implementation of resolutions adopted by the Conference. This body is composed of five members from the national societies, elected in a personal capacity according to the principle of equitable geographical representation. Candidates from Belize, the United States of America, Italy, Jordan and Mali were elected.
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