The Global Alliance for the Missing is a group of states that aims to raise awareness of the issue of missing persons and separated families, influence responses to it and prompt action to address it.

Launched on 11 May 2021 on the margins of the 150th anniversary of the Central Tracing Agency by ICRC president Peter Maurer and Swiss Secretary of State Livia Leu, the Global Alliance currently comprises thirteen member states: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Croatia, Estonia, the Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Switzerland and The Gambia.

As part of the Global Alliance’s objective to step up collective diplomatic engagement to prevent people from going missing, clarify the fate and whereabouts of those who do, respond to the needs of families and respect the dignity of the dead, its members:

  • work together at global and regional level in intergovernmental settings and through joint statements and communication opportunities to raise awareness of the issue, influence responses to it and prompt action to address it
  • promote opportunities for technical collaboration and the exchange of expertise, technical knowledge and best practices.

Joint statement at the UN Security Council – May 2024

The Global Alliance for the Missing delivered a statement at the annual Protection of Civilians debate of the UN Security Council on 21 May 2024. The statement, delivered by H.E. Tariq Albanai of Kuwait, focused attention on the need for dignified treatment of the deceased in conflict as an essential component of preventing civilians and combatants from going missing, and ensuring that families have answers about their loved ones. The Global Alliance called on the Security Council and the international community to ensure that concerns around the missing and the dead are included in interactions with parties to armed conflict, and in the search for missing persons. Specifically, the Global Alliance called for international cooperation and coordination to mobilise and deploy requisite expertise and capacities to allow for search, recovery, documentation and identification of the dead from the very planning phase of humanitarian and reconstructions operations. Finally, the Global Alliance offered to share the experience accumulated by individual Members of the Alliance in this regard.

Event: Time does not heal, only answers do - November 2022

On 9 November 2022, the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations in New York, in collaboration with representatives of Colombia, Croatia, Kuwait, Switzerland, the ICRC and the Norwegian Red Cross, co-organized an event entitled “Time does not heal, only answers do”. The meeting brought together current and incoming members of the United Nations Security Council and the Global Alliance for the Missing to discuss the connection between the issue of missing persons and peace processes. The event aimed to: shed light on efforts to establish the whereabouts of missing persons, focusing in particular on the context of peace processes; identify good practices and lessons learned; and share experiences, with a view to strengthening the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2474 (2019), especially with regard to building and maintaining a sustainable peace.



On 15 September 2022, the Global Alliance for the Missing and the ICRC co-organized a side event on National Mechanisms for Missing Persons and their Families during the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. The participants included the president of the ICRC, Peter Maurer; Ambassador Francisca Méndez Escobar, permanent representative of Mexico to the United Nations in Geneva and co-chair of the Global Alliance for the Missing; and Ambassador Federico Villegas, permanent representative of Argentina to the United Nations in Geneva and president of the Human Rights Council.

The event was an opportunity to familiarize participants with key considerations regarding the design and operation of missing persons mechanisms, i.e. efforts to establish the fate and whereabouts of missing persons and address the needs of their families.

Representatives of Argentina, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Mexico and Peru (all member states of the Global Alliance for the Missing) shared their respective experiences of establishing national mechanisms, searching for missing persons, supporting the families concerned and managing information related to the search. In addition, information was provided on diplomatic initiatives linked to missing persons in armed conflict.

In a speed dating-type session, member states of the Global Alliance for the Missing and ICRC experts spoke to representatives of permanent missions in Geneva and accredited civil society organizations and explained the key principles and elements of national mechanisms:

  • Mandates of missing persons mechanisms need to consider the nature and scale of the caseload, the needs and expectations of families, and the overall socio-economic, cultural, institutional, legal and political environment of a context.
  • Political will is a precondition for the establishment and functioning of a national mechanism and can be fostered, including through diplomatic efforts.
  • Families must be at the centre of all efforts by ensuring both a participatory approach and that addressing their needs is an integral part of a mechanism’s mandate.
  • Information is at the heart of any search effort and should be collected effectively and securely, protected and remain accessible for its intended purpose.
  • Comprehensive search and identification processes, incorporating forensic best practices, need to be designed to clarify the fate and whereabouts of missing persons.

These principles are also contained in Guidance Notes on National Mechanisms for Missing Persons, recently published by the ICRC.