The Seville agreement

International Agreement

Bill Phillips facilitated the creation of the historic Seville Agreement at Montreux, Switzerland (1997) using Future-basing. (  The image on the left shows presidents of two national societies and a senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) drafting specific, envisioned Achievements of the protocol.

What is the Agreement?

Agreement on the organization of the international activities of the components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement - The Seville Agreement (  

The Brief

An Advisory Commission had been convened each year, and was to meet for the 15th time in June 1997. We were informed that, despite earlier partial agreements, a satisfactory protocol had never been reached and this was to be a further attempt at gaining an acceptable accord. 

The Advisory Commission included 30 people drawn from senior, long experienced officers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), several of them Presidents of National Societies. Their intention was to agree and finalise a new agreement.  

Our Approach

The start of the meeting was structured around a large boardroom table, with microphones and consoles at each seat. Although the formal beginning was to be audio-recorded, there was also a person capturing everything we produced in writing on a laptop computer. 

We used flip charts to engage and animate the group, as well as to provide a visual focus and prompt for discussions. Our method Future-basing® was effective in generating and ordering discussion. 

An outcome date was agreed, followed by definition of what were the core success factors in the imaginary protocol, as if it had been running with powerful effect for some time. These success factors formed the structure of the protocol, and by the very nature of what was important about each one, they expressed agreed upon values (but at an unconscious level) of everyone in the room. 

Over one evening and the following day, the group constructed a detailed description of a highly effective, commonly appreciated arrangement. We left at the end of that day.  

The Outcome

The next day, it is reported that they realized with some enthusiasm, that they had a comprehensive description of the finished product. What remained was to draft it into its working format. 

The agreed protocol was ratified at the General Assembly of the movement in Seville in October of 1997, and has since been known as The Seville Agreement. It is a foundation of cooperation between the components of the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement. 

Everyone who works internationally in the Movement is trained in the operation of the Agreement, and we are proud to have played a central part in its creation.