Interview: ICRC president urges world leaders at UNGA to focus on global cooperation, not disruptive politics-Xinhua

Interview: ICRC president urges world leaders at UNGA to focus on global cooperation, not disruptive politics

Source: Xinhua| 2022-09-24 13:43:15|Editor:

by Xinhua writers Yang Shilong, Xing Yue, Xie E

NEW YORK, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Friday called on world leaders to put needs of people and communities at the center and focus more on stronger multilateral system, instead of "disruptive politics."

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the ongoing 77th session of the UN General Assembly, ICRC President Peter Maurer said, "I'm surprised to see that the high-level week of the UN General Assembly has increasingly become a shouting competition of different views, instead of a place where you look for solutions."

"I still believe that the majority of participants have prepared to make a step in New York. Processes were created to announce to the world positive steps," he said, but adding "I don't think we will achieve the millennium, the sustainable development goals by 2030 if disruptive politics is the main feature of what we are experiencing."

"I would still believe first that the 2030 target for the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) is still representing the broadest consensus in the international community. Secondly, I would still believe that war and conflict and the repercussions are the biggest obstacle to reach those objectives. And we see it with the exponential humanitarian needs. Therefore I do believe there is a lot to do," said the former Swiss diplomat, who had attended the annual UN event for more than 20 times.

As the ICRC leader, an organization focusing on helping people, Maurer said he would remind world leaders that "what they do and, what they advocate for, has to put needs and concerns of people and communities at the center."

"Politics are here to service the community, not for the communities to be the object of politics. And I think that's the centrality of the humanitarian mandate. It's about humanity at the center," he said.

"Politicians have to come in with more ambitious objectives for communities, social development, jobs, economic growth which need to be addressed," he said.

Stressing the need of stronger institution of global cooperation, he said: "If we don't have the institution to achieve the objective, the objective will remain somehow in the air. You need a train to bring you from A to B ... And you need institutions which bring you to the target."

Maurer, who has been serving as the ICRC president since 2012, said they work very closely with colleagues from the United Nations to assist and protect people in need.

"We are in institutions in the service of the international community," he said. "We are helping people and would hope for strong leadership towards cooperation, multilateralism, international law, because these are important elements which prevent further escalation of warfare."

"But at the present moment, very frankly, my biggest concern is that socially the world is moving apart," Maurer said, adding that "There is more injustice and more perception of people to be excluded from international affairs, from global cooperation."

Calling the situation "not a positive trend," he said: "We have to move to consensus and not have further divisions. We need the multilateral system."