International cooperation, humanitarian assistance and human rights are at the heart of International Geneva. We go in depth with public and private organizations and the people representing them to explore Swiss-made global governance and its challenges.
Abdalah Mokssit, secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says the agency's last comprehensive assessment report positively impacted international talks prior to the Paris climate treaty. The IPCC has begun work on a sixth assessment report to be published in 2022, which will review the impact of emission-cutting pledges on the global climate. Last year, the United States announced it will cut its $2 million contribution to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization, which has an estimated annual budget of $4-5 million.
Prohibitionist policies that criminalize drug users and ineffectively tackle transnational crime need to change, according to Khalid Tinasti, Executive Secretary of the Global Commission on Drug Policy. Years after Switzerland tackled opioid addiction in Zurich, Tinasti says the country has lagged behind in formulating effective drug policy for other substances. The Geneva-based group is chaired by former Swiss president Ruth Dreifuss and includes other former heads of state, former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, and Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson.
The increase of weapons and growing global instability call for new solutions, says Renata Dwan, the new director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. She told CNNMoney Switzerland that while Syria had controversially assumed the rotating presidency of the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament until June, no consensus decisions are expected during the period. Currently USD 1.7 trillion is spent on armaments worldwide, while 92 percent of people killed in conflict are civilians, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The illegal trade in endangered species has become a major threat to wildlife, according to Barend Van Rensburg, chief of enforcement support at CITES, the UN agency responsible for regulating trade in protected species. Wildlife trafficking is now the fourth biggest illegal trade after drugs, arms and people trafficking. But as wildlife crime moves online, several tech firms have united to fight this illicit industry, estimated to value between $5-20 billion annually.
In Geneva to unveil a new disarmament agenda, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told CNNMoney Switzerland that Geneva continues to play an important role in conflict resolution and disarmament. "I see more and more Geneva being chosen for important negotiations in relation to the prevention and resolution of conflicts," he said. His statements come as the prospect of nuclear disarmament talks between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was put on hold after the US head of state announced their cancellation. On Friday, however, the president said he was willing to talk to his North Korean counterpart, which had been scheduled to take place in Singapore in June.
Pope Francis’ visit to the headquarters of the World Council of Churches next month highlights efforts by churches to "walk, talk and work" together, according to the organization's secretary general, Olav Fyske Tveit. The head of the Geneva-based organization also tells Paula Dupraz-Dobias that the WCC has become a peacemaker involved in helping warring parties to sit down and talk. He recently returned from North Korea, where he met with local churches and authorities in what he calls the country’s “spring of peace."
Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, secretary general of the faith-based NGO Act Alliance, will meet with Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit to Geneva in June. The Brazilian, who began his mandate last year, says he expects to discuss migration and sustainable development goals with the pope. Act Alliance, which includes some 140 faith-based organizations, is the second largest humanitarian group working with the UNHCR after the ICRC.
Geneva-based Industriall is an international labor group that represents workers in the mining, energy and manufacturing. Valter Sanches, its secretary general, tells Martina Fuchs about the organization’s work and its latest campaign against Glencore and its abuse of workers' rights at its international operations. In a statement, the Swiss mining giant "firmly" rejects the accusations. The "respect for human rights is our top priority", the company adds.
Highlighting the importance of providing global healthcare is challenging when policymakers are unable to find personal connections, says Joanne Liu, president of Médecins Sans Frontières. The Canadian pediatrician heading the NGO says that Western leaders only realized the urgency of the deadly Ebola outbreak after cases were repatriated back to Europe and the United States. She also says that access to medicine needs to be considered a "collective issue" in dealing with diseases that have no borders.
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO), a Geneva-based inter-governmental organization, promotes the public's access to earth data, including satellite images, also of critical utility in policy-making. Director Barbara Ryan speaks to Paula Dupraz-Dobias about how the organization is pushing for data sharing, which may have a positive economic impact to the tune of 2.1 billion dollars globally.
Khalid Koser, executive director of Geneva-based GCERF (Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund), tells CNNMoney Switzerland that "soft" alternatives provided to disenfranchised populations may be more effective in countering the rise of violent extremism than military means. The organization offers support to "at risk" communities in countries in Africa and Asia. Koser explains that in addition to forcing people to flee their communities, violent extremism also has meant high economic costs for local and global economies.
Negative perceptions of migrants are at odds with economic realities, according to United Nations special representative on migration Louise Arbour. The former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who is heading the drive for a global compact on migration, tells CNNMoney Switzerland about the important role migrants play in developed countries.
As the United States and China begin a tit for tat on tariffs, Arancha Gonzalez, executive director of the International Trade Center, tells CNNMoney Switzerland that developing countries will have the most to lose. "Protectionism does not protect anyone," affirms Gonzalez. Just back from Kigali, Rwanda, where a historic continental free trade agreement was signed on Friday, March 23, the ITC chief says African leaders were proud of their achievements but confused that developed countries were now regressing on free trade.
A Geneva-based organization is convinced of the value vocational learning can bring to job-seekers and companies around the world. Shea Gopaul, the director of Global Apprenticeship Network, tells Martina Fuchs about how the group has been helping to export Switzerland's "gold mine", where learning skills can resolve joblessness and boost economies.
Ivan Pictet, the former Senior Managing Partner at Pictet Bank is also president of the Foundation pour Genève, a center that promotes the international development of Geneva. He speaks to Martina Fuchs about what Geneva means for him and how it will adapt to global changes that affect the city's core.