General Assembly

7th Session of the General Assembly, Geneva, 15 November 1989


Safe Motherhood

The General Assembly,

Concerned that as a result of pregnancy and childbirth more than 500, 000 women die every year and many millions more suffer from pain and disability for the rest of their lives,

Aware that almost all of the death, disease and disability resulting from pregnancy and childbirth takes place in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and that the risk of dying in pregnancy and childbirth is about 100 times greater in “developing” than “developed” countries,

Realising that the majority disabilities could be prevented by of these deaths, diseases and the implementation of existing knowledge and appropriate interventions,

Appreciating that the interventions will need to be wide-ranging and varied because of the many different causes, direct and indirect, of the problems resulting from pregnancy and childbirth (including inadequate access to and use of educational, employment, financial, nutritional, family planning, preventive and curative health services),

Recognising that improving the health of women and making pregnancy and childbirth safer will have a profound effect on families and communities and will make a major contribution to development,

Aware that governments, inter-governmental and nongovernmental organisations have joined forces through the “Safe Motherhood Initiative” with the aim of decreasing maternal mortality by at least half by the year 2000,

Realising that appropriate health promotion and disease prevention activities during pregnancy and childbirth also need to be assured for women in industrialised countries,

Cognizant of a number of Resolutions and Recommendations previously adopted by the General Assembly which have an important bearing on the health of girls and women, notably those focusing on Women in Development, Primary Health Care and CHILD ALIVE,

Aware of the many diverse activities that Red Cross – and Red Crescent Societies are already undertaking which will make a positive contribution to improving, both directly and indirectly, the health and well-being of women,

Urges the Secretary General to reaffirm once the commitment of the League to improving the educational status and health of girls and women through broad-based development programmes which will empower women to articulate and act upon their needs,

Requests all National Societies to strengthen and develop their existing activities and links with other organisations, in order to contribute more effectively to the Safe Motherhood Initiative through general activities that will improve the health of girls and women, and through specific activities which support national programmes to improve the services for women before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth,

Requests the Secretary General to take a strong mobilising and coordinating role, to ensure that National Societies are informed about the magnitude of the problem, its causes and solutions; to help identify possible activities that National Societies could carry out, based on their existing programmes, capacity and commitments; to assist with the identification and mobilisation of appropriate financial and other resources needed to support such activities; and to maintain close collaboration and communication with the World Health Organization and other inter-governmental and nongovernmental organisations involved with the Safe Motherhood Initiative,

Appeals to all National Societies to endeavour that sufficient human, financial and other resources are available to develop and sustain the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ involvement with the Safe Motherhood Initiative”.


Women in Red Cross/Red Crescent Development

The General Assembly,

Recalling the Decision of the VIth General Assembly in 1987 which requested the League “to draw up a plan of action to safeguard that the resources and potential of women can be fully utilized to the benefit of development work in the Red Cross/Red Crescent”,

Further recalling Resolution No. XV of the XXIIIrd International Conference of the Red Cross in 1977 in which Governments and National Societies ar8 urged to “raise the status of women socially and economically by providing opportunities for learning and leadership”,

Noting with satisfaction that the Henry Dunant Institute in collaboration with the League Secretariat conducted a study on the role of Women in the Red Cross/Red Crescent in which almost one hundred National Societies participated,

Mindful of the fact that numerous National Societies part icipat ing in the study on Women in the Red Cross/Red Crescent registered dissatisfaction with the current level of female participation,

Taking into consideration the recommendations from the Women in Development Seminar arranged by the Nordic Red Cross Societies in Norway, June 1989,

Endorses the Plan of Act ion on women in Red Development presented by the Secretary General determination to realize its proposals,

Cross/Red Crescent and expresses its

Acknowledges in particular the need for concrete policies and sustained commitments to strengthen the role of women in Red Cross/Red Crescent development,

Urges National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies:

– to respond to the needs of women in all services and training programmes,

– to ensure that women assume a legitimate share of responsibility in determining priorities and implementing policies and programmes,

– to create a favourable environment for the advancement of women

in managerial and decision-making positions,

– to share with each other and the League information, support and financial assistance towards the ultimate goal of attaining equal opportunities for men and women in all Red Cross/Red Crescent work,

Urges the League in cooperation with the ICRC to submit to the Council of Delegates in 1991 a report on the results achieved within the components of the Movement in cooperation with the Henry Dunant Institute,

Requests the Secretary General:

– to initiate and coordinate fund-raising efforts for the implementation of the Plan of Action,

– to ensure that League-coordinated disaster relief and development programmes take into account women‘s resources and needs, in particular in implementing the strategic Work Plan of the League for the 90’s,

– to initiate and coordinate the financing and organisation of regional workshops that will draw up regional action plans for the advancement of women,

– to design and implement a strategy to increase the number of competent women in management and senior delegate positions, whereby the Secretariat may serve as a model for National Societies,

– to present progress reports on the implementation of the Plan of Action to each session of the Executive Council between the session of the General Assembly.

  • One woman mentioned in context of new agreement ICRC/League:


Agreement between the ICRC and the League

The General Assembly,

Ratifies the Agreement between the ICRC and the League, upon the recommendation of the Executive Council, and

Congratulates the Chairman, Mrs. S. Spiljak, and the members of the League-ICRC Working Party.”

Two women elected to the Finance Commission:

  • Mrs Ebtisam Abdel Wahab Farag, Egyptian RC
  • Mrs. Izabela Gutfeter, Polish RC

A woman elected Chairman of the Youth Commission:

  • Mrs. Susan Douglas, Fiji RC

By admin

30-odd years with the Movement - National Society, International Federation and Standing Commission, for some reason never ICRC.
Presently a free spirit and attached to Sandefjord Red Cross

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