In January 1989, when addressing the Global Forum for Survival of Humanity, President Mikhail Gorbachev brought up the idea for an organization that would apply the medical emergency response model of the International Committee of the Red Cross to ecological issues and expedite solutions to environmental problems that transcend national boundaries.
Developing this idea, delegates at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (June 1992), approached Mikhail Gorbachev (the former President of the USSR) mandating him to create and launch this organisation. At the same time Swiss National Council MP, Roland Wiederkehr founded a ‘World Green Cross'' with the same objective. Both organisations merged in 1993 to form Green Cross International.
Green Cross International (GCI) was formally launched in Kyoto, on the 18th April 1993. Upon the invitation of Mikhail Gorbachev, many renowned figures joined its
Board of Directors and The Honorary Board.
In order to gain credibility, it was important that Green Cross International establish national affiliates, which would enjoy the autonomy to conduct their own projects, whilst also participating in at least one international programme.
The first set of National Organizations (GCNOs) formally joined GCI in The Hague, in the Spring of 1994. These included Japan (President Shoo Iwasaki), The Netherlands (President Awraham Soetendorp), the Russian Federation (President Nikita Moiseev), Switzerland (President Donald Hess), and the United States (President Diane Meyer Simon).