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Global challenges need humanitarian solutions: Yves Daccord

Jan 23, 2015

Yves Daccord, Director General of ICRC, in an interview to OneWorld South Asia, said that global cooperation can provide solutions to challenges like extremism, climate change and economic downturn.

Yves Daccord

OneWorld South Asia: You have visited the South Asian region when it was emerging from conflict in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. How do you see the region coming forward from an international perspective?

Yves Daccord:  We cannot have a vision without recognising a sense of vibrancy in the people. They are young and strong and the region is doing well economically. Nepal has moved a long way in terms of the challenges it has faced in bringing people out of poverty. Afghanistan has been able to find a balance in a very complex transition time.

For an organisation like ours, we value this region enormously and it’s very important to us. I visit the region to understand the change, to understand what’s happening and how the people look at the happenings of the world like that of the Middle East and Africa.

I want to see whether the region is concerned with what’s happening in the world, because the world is changing and I don’t know if India is aware of that. Everything happening in the world has a major impact on this region; nobody is immune to large crisis.

We see polarisation, extremism and tensions and it’s also important to see how the people view all that here. Media, governments, private sector leaders and the civil society understand what’s happening in the world.

OWSA: The Red Cross has been the face of humanity, face of volunteerism. You speak of change, how do you see the role of civil society in this vibrant change?

Yves Daccord: I always see the role of civil societies as very important. At the level of the communities, I have very strong opinion that most of the solutions are created and constructed by the communities themselves. And, the communities in the region are most active.

Even in the most difficult areas, the communities are active like in Sri Lanka they are trying to find solutions and to find relevance in elements playing key roles in the society. In general, the role of civil societies has been remarkable in the region.

The vibrancy and dynamism is of extreme nature in India in the private sector. The interesting part is how the region is looking at innovation in this region. It is different from the way they look at it in China or in Europe and US.

The innovation, the way the private sector is looking at, is not just for a selection of individuals but for the masses and trying to help people to move forward in their daily life. It is a frugal innovation which makes sense and the whole region can contribute to the world to scale up on these issues.

OWSA: How do changes in tactics and different types of conflicts in the present times differ from those which occurred, say about 100 years ago when ICRC began its work? How do you see them in the modern context?

Yves Daccord: The important thing is that there is no one-field- situation. With two parties, one side is winning and the other side loosing. Such a way of war has long been lost. This has been over for a long time.

There are always local dynamics which are influenced by national and international dynamics. This is one of the complexities that solutions cannot be found at the local level or the global level alone. The issue is to combine them together. What is lacking is international convergence at the country level and the Security Council level to deal with global issues.

Humanitarian solutions need to found at the global level because when it comes to extremism, climate change and economic crisis the solutions need to be found together at the global level together rather than at the country level. This is a major problem and we as a community at an international level are working with these issues in this time of transition and global complexity.

Transcription: Rubaina Sangha

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