IFRC: Key points for new president, Kate Forbes, are ‘urgent issues of climate change and migration’
By the Climate Centre
(A version of this story appeared first yesterday as an IFRC press release from Geneva.)
American humanitarian and businesswoman, Kate Forbes, was yesterday elected to be the new president of the IFRC – only the second woman to hold the position.
“This milestone underscores the IFRC’s continued commitment to diversity and gender equality in its leadership,” the International Federation said.
Ms Forbes’s presidency marks a pivotal shift towards addressing the complexities of the modern world, it added.
“A key area of focus under her leadership will be tackling the urgent issues of climate change and migration. Local solutions and community empowerment are at the forefront of her agenda.
“She understands the critical role local actors play in humanitarian aid and is dedicated to working closely with local leaders to address their most pressing needs.”
Ms Forbes said: “Communities around the world are witnessing the impacts of climate change, geopolitical tensions and health emergencies. We know the challenges of our modern world demand addressing multiple issues at once.
“Now is the time to lean into our Fundamental Principles to deliver on our mission and make communities stronger.”
Additional priorities include youth engagement, also a Climate Centre priority area, and financial sustainability, while strengthening relationships with governments and donors is another cornerstone of her vision.
‘Communities see the impacts of climate change, geopolitical tensions and health emergencies. We know the challenges demand addressing multiple issues at once’
Climate Centre Acting Director Julie Arrighi, who advises the American Cross on climate, said today: “Kate brings vast experience to the role of president, not just as Red Cross but in all the other important roles she has played in her life.
“As the world gets more complex, with climate change aggravating many of the problems and issues we are mandated to tackle, she is just the right person to provide leadership.
“Here at the Climate Centre, we very much look forward to future collaboration with Kate in tackling the climate crisis.”
Kate Forbes brings four decades of experience with the IFRC network, beginning as a local volunteer at the Phoenix chapter of the American Red Cross. Past roles include vice-chairman of the board of directors and managing over a million volunteers as chair.
An auditor by profession, Forbes has been a member of the IFRC board for the past 17 years and most recently served as chair of its Audit and Risk Commission. In this role, she increased transparency, implemented stronger financial controls, and established safeguarding policies across the organization.
Kate Forbes’s election as president, a voluntary position, is a significant step forward for the IFRC, “signalling a new leadership ready to focus on integrity and accountability,” it added.
Kate Forbes visiting Mexican Red Cross volunteers. Local solutions and community empowerment are at the forefront of her agenda, the IFRC says. (File photo: social media)