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 South Centre is an intergovernmental organization that was founded in 1995 to help developing nations and to promote their common interests. “Developed countries need to consider developing countries’ interests in a more respectful manner,” Carlos Correa, the new executive director of the South Centre, tells Martina Fuchs in this week’s International Geneva.
From the size of your credit card to environmental and food safety standards, the International Organization for Standardization touches our lives every day. Since its establishment in 1947, it has established more than 22,000 international standards. But the implementation of its standards are voluntary and consensus-based. In this episode of International Geneva, Martina Fuchs asks the ISO Secretary-General, Sergio Mujica, if this weakens the organization. “No, it’s the other way around. We are proposing voluntary standards because this is an invitation to excellence,” he says.
In a world where enough food is produced for everyone, 815 million people—or one in nine—still go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Even more—one in three—suffer from some form of malnutrition, according to the World Food Programme. So what’s gone wrong? “There is not enough political leadership,” Lawrence Haddad, executive director of the Geneva-based Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, tells Martina Fuchs in this week’s International Geneva. “It really requires leadership at the highest, highest level.”
More than one-third of the world’s nations are contaminated by anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war. As the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) celebrates its 20th anniversary, we ask whether there’s anything to celebrate. Director Stefano Toscano tells Martina Fuchs that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel, but that human minesweepers are still better at detecting and removing landmines than robots.
The goal of Geneva Call is a simple, and noble, one: To protect civilians in armed conflicts. But the NGO, founded in 2000, is fighting for a variety of issues, from trying to ban the use of anti-personnel mines to prohibiting sexual violence and to combating gender discrimination. Martina Fuchs sat down with Alain Délétroz, the organization's director general, to find out why keeping a low profile is key to his work. "Too much visibility can play against us,” he says. “We have to strike a balance between visibility and the work on the ground."
What if an app could predict international conflicts with more than 90% accuracy? This is the next generation of war forecasting, according to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). Founded by the Swiss government, the GCSP has the mission of making the world a safer place. For this to happen, using big data and artificial intelligence has become crucial, as Director Christian Dussey tells Martina Fuchs.
Why do some people torture others? How can the Universal Declaration of Human Rights be strengthened seventy years after its adoption? Martina Fuchs spoke to the Secretary General of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), Gerald Staberock, who likened the fight against torture to “mak[ing] two steps forward and maybe one and a half backwards.”
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue is a private Geneva-based organization that mediates between conflicting parties to prevent or end armed conflicts. Martina Fuchs sat down with Executive Director David Harland to find out how the changing nature of conflicts and new complexities such as cyber warfare are challenging its operations.
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."