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Red Cross and Red Crescent representatives from around the world to converge on Sydney

Wednesday May 26, 2010

The Prime Minister has warmly congratulated Australian Red Cross on securing the right to host a major international decision making assembly in Australia in 2013.

"I am pleased the leadership shown by Australian Red Cross in caring for people in need has been recognised. There is no better choice than Australia to host the Assembly", the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd said.

Sydney has been selected as the host city for the 19th session of the General Assembly of the International Federation and the Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. The event will be held in November 2013, on the eve of Australian Red Cross' centenary year.

President of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Tadateru Konoe said: "We are extremely grateful for the generous invitation extended by the Australian Red Cross to host one of the most important global events in the calendar of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. We are especially excited about the prospects of holding our Statutory Meetings for the first time ever in the Pacific region and are confident that Sydney 2013 will not only be a quality venue, but brilliantly organised by our hosts."

Australian Red Cross' Board Chairman Greg Vickery said the events will attract up to a thousand Red Cross representatives from around the world.

"Hosting this important international meeting for our Movement will provide a tremendous opportunity to launch our Centenary Year with the support of National Societies from around the globe. It is also an important recognition of the standing of Australian Red Cross in the International Movement," he said.

The Asia Pacific region is home to around 3.9 billion people, almost two thirds of the world's population, and is the most disaster prone region in the world.

"While the particular themes and areas of focus of the 2013 General Assembly and Council of Delegates will be determined by the Federation and ICRC in due course, Australian Red Cross anticipates that these meetings and a range of community side events that are also planned, will have a strong regional focus that will actively involve our neighbouring Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies," said Mr Vickery.

The winning bid was made possible by the support of Australian and NSW Governments, who have each committed up to $2 million towards the hosting of these events.

Australian Red Cross also received generous financial and in-kind support from Business Events Sydney, Events NSW and the City of Sydney.

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally congratulated Australian Red Cross on securing this important event for Sydney.

"Australian Red Cross represents 35,000 volunteers around Australia, 16,000 of these live in NSW", Ms Keneally said.

"Australian Red Cross has our full support in bringing this international event to Sydney. Hosting this event will boost the NSW economy and raise the profile of the city on the eve of the Red Cross centenary year in 2014."

The General Assembly of the International Federation and the Council of Delegates of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement were last held in Nairobi in Kenya. Red Cross is the world's largest humanitarian organisation, with more than 100 million volunteers in 186 countries.

For media enquiries contact Red Cross media adviser Kim Batchelor on 0457 542 113.