GENEVA, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Italian lawyer Francesco Rocca was on Monday elected the new president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The IFRC, the world's biggest humanitarian network, said in a statement that Rocca was elected by his peers from 178 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies present at the IFRC General Assembly in Antalya, Turkey.
Rocca was quoted as paying tribute to the courage and dedication of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers around the world, and pledged to focus on ensuring they have greater support.
"One of the first things I will focus on is addressing any integrity issues within our network," said Rocca.
"We owe it to our volunteers who risk their lives every day. We owe it to the communities who look to us for support, when no one else can help. And we owe it to the people around the world who look to the Red Cross and Red Crescent as signs of hope."
The IFRC said Rocca's election comes at a critical juncture for the IFRC and the wider humanitarian community.
It noted aid organizations are responding to a range of complex and global challenges, and are struggling to respond to rising needs while balancing increasingly constrained budgets.
A trained lawyer, Rocca joined the Italian Red Cross in 2008, taking over as National President in 2013.
"He has built the Italian Red Cross into the country's pre-eminent humanitarian organization, with Red Cross volunteers and staff playing leading roles in response to earthquakes and the ongoing arrival of vulnerable migrants," said the IFRC.
Rocca has advocated strongly on behalf of vulnerable migrants, calling consistently on political leaders to put the safety and dignity of people at the center of their migration policies, said the Red Cross.
He is to take over from Tadateru Konoe who is completing his second term.