IFRC President Konoe to seek 2nd term

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies President Tadateru Konoe has pledged to seek another four-year term as IFRC head to implement his agenda.

"I would be humbled if elected for another term, which will be a reflection of trust in me, my leadership and commitment," Konoe told Kyodo News on Monday when he attended an IFRC meeting in Nairobi.

The federation will hold the 19th session of its General Assembly and Council of Delegates in November in Sydney, Australia, to elect its next leader.

Konoe, 74, will face off against President of Venezuela Red Cross Mario Villarroel, 66, in the election.

Konoe said his idea to seek a second term is driven by his desire to continue spearheading implementation of the IFRC agenda, describing the last four years as "largely successful, but an important learning period for me." He said he hopes to use the lessons learned for greater impact in the next term if he wins.

"The world is today faced with complex challenges and changes including climate, food insecurity, social needs, conflict, urbanization, rising population and fast growing economies," he said.

"The federation is therefore working hard to build capacities of its national societies to deliver in addressing these emerging problems," said Konoe, who has dedicated his professional career to the federation's activities in Japan and globally.

He said his main achievements at the helm include making national societies' voices heard better at internal levels, enhancing humanitarian diplomacy and increasing resources mobilization.

He attributed part of his success to the promotion of "spirit of togetherness," a motto he has championed.

The Japanese Red Cross Society president expressed regret that Red Cross societies in Africa still face inadequate resources and hostile working situations.

"They need more resources, capacity building and better coordination outside of Africa to strengthen their capacity to deliver their mandate," he said.

He urged national governments to recognize the critical role played by sound civil societies and work hand in hand with them to deliver services and confront the diverse problems facing their people.

Konoe, a younger brother of former Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, is the first Asian to assume the IFRC presidency.